Apex’s company’s new division, Pulse Signal Solutions will help building owners navigate the increasingly complex wireless ecosystem
“I’ll put it in some real simple and lighthearted terms: over the next few years, today’s analog buildings will need to undergo a process like Wolverine did in the X-Men,” said Kenny Blakeslee, President of Pulse Signal Solutions. “While their exterior will remain the same, their interior – their wireless infrastructure – will completely change, creating an all-new, more powerful smart building.”
The next 5-10 years will bring on some of the biggest technological advancements our society has ever seen. While that presents a tremendous amount of excitement, it also brings a lot of unknowns. In the CRE world especially, these unknowns create a lot of stress and anxiety. Deciding where to invest today’s dollars for tomorrow’s possibilities is a difficult challenge.
Apex Site Solutions, which has been providing wireless infrastructure construction services for the past decade, is now launching Pulse Signal Solutions, a new division poised to serve the in-building wireless industry.
“For commercial real estate owners to have to navigate the wireless space, and figure out where it’s going from here, is really too much to ask,” said Blakeslee, President of Apex Site Solutions and Pulse Signal Solutions. “The ones who are going to win this race and have smart buildings first are going to be the ones that work with the right partners who help them navigate this, ask the right questions, and find the right answers.”
““We see the future of connectivity and public safety as two vital components of the future of building occupancy. People want to be connected and they want to be safe. Plain and simple.”
Pulse partners with stakeholders throughout the industry ecosystem, including architects and designers, contractors, developers, and property owners and provides end-to-end services to ensure every aspect of a project is thought through completely, from initial design to commissioning.
The team at Pulse states their mission to “make the connections that matter most.” This points to not only the obvious mission of connectivity, but also to a desire to bring a more personal connection to such a confusing and convoluted industry. “We see so much hype and jargon in this industry and know how hard it is for folks to navigate that,” said Blakeslee. “It’s a lot of crystal ball reading right now. We see an opportunity to cut through all the noise and act as a trusted advisor to those we work with.”
Blakeslee and his team also have a strong sense of purpose to serve the public safety aspect of the industry as well. “5G and IoT, those conversations are exciting and new,” he said. “At Pulse, we’re all about preparing you for the unexpected. While the future of connectivity is a huge part of that, so is the unexpectedness of an emergency taking place in your building.” Pulse is an active member of the Safer Buildings Coalition, which was founded in 2012 to lead the way in fire code development, education, and advocacy around the importance of quality in-building wireless signals to keep occupants and First Responders safe.
“We see the future of connectivity and public safety as two vital components of the future of building occupancy. People want to be connected and they want to be safe. Plain and simple,” said Blakeslee.
With a decade of wireless industry experience from their Apex team, combined with working with public safety officials and the Safer Buildings Coalition (SBC), Pulse brings a unique viewpoint to the industry – it understands what carriers are looking for, has worked with builders, and can navigate code requirements for First Responders. Blakeslee referred to the First Responder Network Authority (First- Net) as an example. “The FirstNet contract has blended public safety networks and commercial cellular, leading to many questions that could have a big impact on costs for building owners. It has been made clear that FirstNet will need to be deployed into buildings per Fire Code, but that means deploying AT&T commercial cellular. Who will foot that bill, the building owner or the carrier? As members of the SBC, we have representatives who are working hard to find answers and influence policy for the future.”
Working throughout the entire in-building process, Pulse sees a major need to improve how stakeholders are advised and worked with. According to Blakeslee, “To get this right, you need a partner who’s considering all stakeholders and multiple steps down the road.”
That said, Mr. Blakeslee and the team at Pulse have put together the four key items to consider in a new Commercial Cellular or Public Safety connectivity project.
FOUR KEY ITEMS IN ANY COMMERCIAL CELLULAR OR PUBLIC SAFETY CONNECTIVITY PROJECT
Be clear about your objectives.
The right partner will utilize a very in-depth consultation process to ensure a custom solution fits current needs as well as future considerations. What you need today is easy. What you need 5 – 10 years down the road might need some clarification. Be sure that you and your partner have explored the future utilization of your properties. Trends in the commercial real estate market are moving toward flexible workspaces, so your connectivity options should be just as flexible. What works for one tenant might not work for another. Ensure your system is properly designed to meet the changing needs of future tenants.
Bring in your partners early.
You wouldn’t build a high-rise and then decide where to put the toilets. It needs to be planned ahead of time. Otherwise, you’d end up having to cram restrooms into areas that weren’t designed for them, sacrificing space and ultimately disrupting the overall design. With wireless connectivity now looked at as the “4th Utility” it should be addressed in a timeline similar to water, gas, and others. Often, connectivity is addressed at the end of a project. At that point, there can be serious obstacles to installing the infrastructure required, leading to compromises in design and functionality. When this element is properly planned, it can be marketed as a highlight of a property, increasing value significantly. The earlier your connectivity partner joins the discussions, the lower the cost of the installation and the higher the return on investment.
Don’t create a patchwork quilt of sub-contractors.
Tenants aren’t going to be tolerant of wireless service that was treated as an afterthought, so a turnkey wireless connectivity partner shouldn’t be added as an afterthought either. The scope of wireless connectivity in a building is spread across multiple trades. It’s often left to the general contractor to manage all those trades. Having one dedicated wireless partner can ensure that the coordination of efforts and ultimate responsibility of your system is being looked after. In many construction projects, multiple trades are handling various elements of wireless connectivity. Certain elements of public safety and commercial cellular systems can be synergistic while others must be separated. One partner should advise how to maximize the possible synergies. Optimization of all these elements cannot be achieved when multiple trades are working on these elements separately.
Ensure your connectivity partner is in tune with wireless evolution.
Is your partner designing to yesterday’s standards or are they in tune with and helping to influence the future of wireless? Your partner should be active and focused in the wireless world to ensure they stay abreast of the newest product evolutions, government regulations, and industry trends. New products and technologies are being released monthly in this rush to 5G, but the lifecycle of a construction project is often years long. If your partner isn’t actively engaged in this evolution, your systems can easily be out-of-date before they are even installed and commissioned.