No one is perfect and no project ever goes 100% according to plan. Here are nine things to consider when moving, expanding or relocating your office, guaranteed at least one of them will be of significant value to you.
1. Carrier Services
Bandwidth requirements within the office environment are at an all time high. A high speed fiber infrastructure has become a necessity for corporate clients. When planning a move it is important to understand what carriers are lit within the building and what SLA’s they will commit to. Ask your building manager for a list of current building approved carriers. Or ask us and we’ll find out for you.
Noteworthy: SD-WAN is revolutionizing the way that multi-site companies view their carrier circuits.
Takeaway: Look before you leap; ask about the available carriers before you begin the move/construction process.
2. Project Management Coordination
IT and Facilities professionals are busy! Move and buildout projects take a considerable amount of time and effort to coordinate and manage. With so many moving pieces it is important to work with professional project managers, whether internal or external to avoid mistakes, maintain transparency and stick to the schedule. If the contractors you’re working with are worth your money, they’ll have certified project managers on staff that are capable of helping you.
Takeaway: You have better things to worry about than every little aspect of the construction/move process, let someone else keep lookout for you.
3. Structured Cabling Design & Installation Aesthetics
With the trend towards open ceiling environments, structured cabling design and craft with special attention to aesthetics have never been more important. The aesthetics of pathways and spaces is an often overlooked item but always one that stands out once the project is complete. It is important to understand the life cycle of the cabling infrastructure that is designed into your spaces.
Takeaway: Aesthetics are usually the last thing you think about but the first thing you notice, make sure you consider the aesthetics before it’s too late.
4. Sound Attenuation & Sound Masking
Open ceilings and benching have created a major problem for IT, Facilities and even HR professionals. Employees are distracted, productivity is declining and sensitive information is unwittingly being shared. Some form of sound attenuation is required in nearly every office build out. Active sound masking systems from companies like Lencore and Cambridge, combined with acoustical paneling can increase productivity by adding an element of white/pink noise to the acoustical environment of the space. Innovations in this technology now allow users to add background music and paging at a minimal cost. This item is often missed on the front end and the cost to retrofit spaces after project completion can be be nearly 50% higher!
Takeaway: You shouldn’t build a bench seating office with open ceilings and glass without installing some form of sound masking.
5. Cellular Service
The computer in our pocket allows us the capability to communicate in real time across the world. Access to information has never been greater. Users expect their phones to operate flawlessly at all times however, cellular service can be quite unreliable in buildings. In-building cellular DAS (distributed antenna systems) and “small cells” can dramatically improve cell signal within buildings. It’s important to understand whether the building that you are moving into either has or has plans to install a DAS. Bring this up with your realtor and/or the building’s facilities department.
Takeaway: Don’t settle for deadzones, there are always ways to boost the cellular & wireless signal in your space.
6. Wi-fi Capabilities
The 5th generation of wireless is here! 802.11ac took something good and made it even better, it’s like the Godfather II of wireless infrastructure. Many technology companies are requesting fully wireless LAN architectures. As more bandwidth is required from the access points the density and cable requirements will increase. Predictive and active pre- and post-install site surveys and Category 6A cable are a must for companies looking to ride the Wi-Fi wave as it swells into the future.
Takeaway: One of the easiest things to do to futureproof your wireless infrastructure is to run two category 6A cables to your access points.
Collaboration is key! Employees in the open space and hotelling environment need to be able to collaborate and innovate. Smaller huddle rooms and conference rooms with interactive audio and video conferencing capabilities are now found in almost every office environment. It is important to understand how your users interact in order to provide a solution that allows them to easily and effectively use the rooms.
Noteworthy: Nureva recently released its Span system which gives users the ability to collaborate on a 40′ digital canvas with 10 concurrent users on site and others working remotely! Zoom is another up-and-comer in the video conferencing realm, it’s got a low barrier to entry and it’s characteristically easy to use.
Takeaway: Don’t settle for “How we’ve always done it.” and think about “How can we do this better.”
8. Security & Access Control
Security and access control technology has remained fairly stagnant over the past 20 years but the traditional models are being redesigned by companies like KiSi and Isonas who are focusing on providing a reliable way for users to unlock doors using app-based technology. Users are recognized via bluetooth or wireless as they walk to the door and they are allowed access. The SaaS model is here to stay. Though innovative, these new technologies may not be the best fit for all clients and office environments. Not only is it important to design a strong wireless infrastructure for your office, it’s also important to understand your employees and their adoption rate for the new technologies.
Multi-site companies are often looking to standardize on one access control platform and many customers standardize on one key or fob to all sites, plus integration with the building’s system. Think about how you’d like to provide access; key fobs, key cards, biometric IDs (fingerprints, retina scanners, etc.), unique keycodes, or a combination.
Noteworthy: Somehow the install and testing of the tie-in to the building’s fire alarm system always becomes an issue at the end of the project, make sure you know who’s responsible for this and the test date is scheduled for after the security system install but before the client move-in – it’s a small window and easy to miss.
Takeaway: Access Control is all about keeping your company and your employees safe and every system has it’s pros and cons, make sure the system is well designed and you are well informed.
9. The Digital Ceiling & IoT
Cisco’s digital ceiling is the coalescence of all items within a ceiling onto a network to be monitored, controlled and optimized. Low voltage lighting, HVAC controls, room usage monitoring, wireless and cellular are all a part of the digital ceiling. The internet of Things (IoT) will enable users to control and monitor all of their devices on one platform; and with the recent advancements in AI, the platform will constantly learn how to optimize itself. Cisco’s digital ceiling is IoT for the commercial office environment.
Takewaway: If you’re looking at the big picture for your company, you should be thinking the digital ceiling and IoT. Even if you aren’t ready to jump into the deep end just yet, there are still ways to prep your space for the inevitable.
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