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Workplace


appetite to seize


upon real fl exibility consider wireless VoIP telephony, where users can carry their phones with them –


‘ potentially doing


away with the need for a fi xed desk





Author information


Tony Cahill is an Executive Director at facilities management company Vivark, a social enterprise where profi ts are reinvested back into the company and the local community. www.vivark.co.uk


If there is an


power requirements, as their computer and telephony would be connected via the WLAN. It would negate the need for additional data cabling, maximising the use of current assets and saving both building work and budget. Of course the WLAN must meet the needs of its users. If the users are data- hungry, they will require high-speed data transfer, whereas if they only use traditional offi ce software packages a ‘standard’ WLAN should meet all of their needs. Understanding occupant demand is the essential starting point when considering wider use of wireless networks. If there is an appetite to seize upon


real fl exibility consider wireless VoIP telephony, where users can carry their phones with them – potentially doing away with the need for a fi xed desk. Just some of the advantages of VoIP telephony systems include the ability to integrate voice to mobile devices or desktops, transcribing of voicemails to email, enabling call conferencing and video calling. In summary, a WLAN will:


■ Allow full use of the building by bringing better coverage and access to users


■ Deliver greater fl exibility when meeting the changing needs of the building environment and its users


■ Deliver cost savings at the initial installation and as offi ce moves are required.


But there are, of course, challenges too:


■ Wireless networks are more vulnerable to attack from


66 FACILITIES


unauthorised users, so work with your provider to manage this risk


■ Consistency of coverage can be challenging in some buildings which can lead to black spots – conduct a WLAN survey in the design stage


■ Transmission speeds can be slower than a LAN, so understand the business’s needs.


Creating success


Ensuring occupants’ objectives are met requires a clear structured approach to identifying the right solution. The steps should include: 1. Set clear goals based on the challenge you are looking to overcome and gain a full understanding of the needs of the business. Agree KPIs with the client or end users up front.


2. Work with expert partners who will support and advise. Consider your partners carefully; aside from price, does the partner company’s values marry up with those of your organisation? Will the partner be a supplier you want to work with long-term?


3. Research what others have done: visit other environments to see how they work, what works well and what they would do differently given the chance.


4. Consult and involve the workplace users; and remember that a successful outcome may require cultural change as well as functional change. That in itself takes careful preparation and implementation.


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