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One critical benefit of advanced cellular connectivity is often overlooked. Besides improving business productivity and efficiency, consistently reliable mobile communications plays a vital role in ensuring in-building safety and security. 

Most buildings require, at a minimum: 

  • General access for all users on site to be able to call 9-1-1 or other safety or security services 
  • The ability for all responders to use cellular communication, specifically FirstNet, to communicate and coordinate while onsite. 

So while reliable connectivity is always mission-critical to your business, it’s urgent or life-critical for the following: 

Emergency Communication  

Whether it’s a fire, a medical emergency, a natural disaster, or a security threat, quick and reliable communication can mean the difference between life and death. Cellular connectivity provides a lifeline to emergency services, allowing individuals to call 911 or other emergency services with ease, regardless of their location within a building. 

Increasingly, building codes and other standards are being updated to ensure adequate cellular coverage throughout the building to reach 9-1-1 in an emergency. Imagine a team member or site visitor who has a health crisis in a low-traffic area within the building. In such situations, the ability to call 9-1-1 can literally be a life saver. 
 
Coordination of First Responders  

First responders, including police, firefighters, paramedics and other emergency personnel, need the ability to immediately connect via FirstNet at any time. Started after 9/11 as an independent authority within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), FirstNet ensures these individuals get priority network access to communicate with one another and their command centers should an emergency arise. But this only works if there’s a strong FirstNet signal available in the building.   

Timely Alerts and Warnings  

Cellular networks are essential for receiving timely alerts and warnings. These alerts can include severe weather warnings, Amber Alerts, or notifications of other imminent threats. When individuals are inside buildings, cellular connectivity ensures they receive these critical alerts on their mobile devices, helping them make informed decisions and take appropriate actions to stay safe. 

Evacuation and Safety Instructions  

During emergencies, building occupants depend on receiving clear and up-to-date evacuation and safety instructions. These instructions may come through mobile apps, text messages, or voice calls. Adequate cellular connectivity ensures that occupants can access these instructions in real time, helping them navigate to safety efficiently. 

Connectivity for IoT Safety Devices  

The Internet of Things (IoT) has introduced a new dimension to building safety. IoT devices such as smoke detectors, security cameras, and environmental sensors rely on cellular connectivity to transmit data and alerts to central monitoring systems. A lack of cellular connectivity can disrupt the functionality of these devices, compromising building safety and security. 

Business Continuity Planning 

For businesses and organizations, in-building cellular connectivity is vital for maintaining operations during and immediately after emergencies. Employees need to stay connected to clients, colleagues, and critical systems, even when they are inside a building. Reliable cellular connectivity enables businesses to implement robust business continuity and disaster recovery plans, ensuring minimal disruption and business survival in a crisis. 

Public Spaces and Venues  

Public spaces such as airports, shopping malls, stadiums, and convention centers host large crowds of people. Ensuring robust cellular connectivity in these environments is essential for crowd management, security, and communication during emergencies or events. Surveillance cameras, access control systems, and other security measures often rely on wireless connections. Without reliable coverage, these systems may fail to function correctly, leaving vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malicious actors. 

Addressing Public Safety Concerns 

Depending on building codes, local requirements, and other logistical factors, some facilities will need the ability to connect to public safety systems that use 2-way radio and other non-commercial radio communications for onsite communication and coordination. 
 
The term public safety communications is much more complex that it may seem on the surface, however. “When people talk about public safety, they might mean the LMR networks that are owned, designed, and operated by municipalities and the local fire and police departments. They might be talking about 9-1-1. Or, they might be referring to the various two-way radio technologies of LMR—like P25, DMR, FM, UHF, VHF, or even 8-watt walkie-talkies. In short, the  way that a fire chief or police captain thinks about their network is very different from something like FirstNet,” explains Jeff Gudewicz, Chief Product Officer at Wilson Electronics. In any event, it’s important to have the best possible cellular reception to ensure access to as many communications channels as possible. 

BYOD Policies Have Created Safety Risks 

While BYOD (bring your own device) policies has certainly enhanced convenience and efficiency for companies and their employees, it has inadvertently introduced safety challenges, particularly when it comes to indoor cellular coverage.  

With communications cobbled together to accommodate a variety of different user devices—and safety functions often not updated on users’ equipment—many organizations and public spaces have not adequately prepared for the surge in disparate mobile device usage, leading to dead zones, dropped calls, and unreliable data connections within their premises. These gaps in coverage can have severe implications of safety, so building owners, businesses, and public institutions need to recognize the importance of investing in the necessary infrastructure to ensure full cellular coverage within their premises. 

Addressing the Connectivity Issue: A Business Imperative 

Fortunately, affordable and practical solutions can be installed within building interiors to ensure consistently reliable wireless coverage. This includes cellular repeater and DAS (distributed antenna system) solutions. This technology can be configured to meet the needs of a business and its physical environment. A wideband infrastructure, in addition to solving the cellular coverage issue, can help extend public safety networks and two-way radio capability to a building if that is a requirement. 

In any event, safety alone should be reason enough for organizations to invest in reliable wireless connectivity. Whether during emergencies or everyday activities, this connectvity keeps people connected, informed, and safe inside buildings. Doing so is not only a matter of safety but also a responsible and ethical commitment to the well-being of individuals and communities.  

WilsonPro can design a cellular repeater, hybrid, or active DAS solution for you that ensures rapid, scalable connectivity and future-readiness, even in a crisis. Get started with a needs assessment by contacting us today. 

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