Industry Watch:
  In-Building Wireless Services

Building owners looking for new opportunities to generate revenue and foster tenant loyalty should seriously consider in-building wireless services.   Wi-Fi "hot spots" are perhaps the most common of these services, but carriers are now beginning to offer enterprise-ready wireless services that building owners should become knowledgeable about.

Wi-Fi - hotspots - those wireless-connected areas found in many coffee shops, cafeterias and other public spaces today - are becoming ubiquitous and even expected by mall patrons and busy professionals, particularly as today's personal handheld devices such as the iPhone and Blackberry become equipped with Wi-Fi cards. In retail-oriented spaces especially, hotspots help to attract traffic to buildings and can therefore help you to market your building to retail tenants. Building owners can also configure their hotspot services to generate advertising revenue from tenants, or can build advertising in as a value-ad to lease agreements.

A newer type of in-building wireless service is called cellular extension, whereby cellular network services are brought inside of buildings.   In practical terms, cellular extension enables these types of activities:

  • Ability to use cell phones inside of parking garages, elevators, concrete and steel buildings.
  • Ability to connect to services such as video and television via cellular networks.
  • In the near future, the ability for enterprises to use cellular networks for data-oriented business purposes.

The very fact that carriers are beginning to invest in these services indicates a new opportunity. Carriers are anticipating market demand for high-bandwidth data services over cellular networks - such as video phones, TV over the internet, and more. In this latest evolution of wireless networking, building owners who offer cellular extension services will be better able to compete by providing more desirable, valuable services to commercial tenants.

Offering new services like these does require some technical and negotiating savvy. Carrier agreements must define who pays to repair damage to wireless equipment, and how revenue generated from that equipment will be shared between the carrier and the building owner. Many excellent opportunities exist for building owners, and The Attain Group is expert in understanding both the technical and the business considerations on behalf of building owners.

Take note of our upcoming training course on this topic (see the sidebar). Please contact Christine Doyle for more information about in-building wireless services and Attain's services on behalf of building owners and operators: (613) 739-9424 ext. 226, or by e-mail at christine.doyle@theattaingroup.com

Case Studies:
  Know What Your Rooftop is Worth

The Attain Group recently completed two consulting projects that helped owners of commercial properties to better understand their wireless infrastructures - and what revenue opportunities those infrastructures presented.

At a community center in Calgary, Alberta, a wireless carrier had installed a number of point-to-point wireless antennae with the intent of reselling services. The center hired The Attain Group to conduct a wireless audit that resulted in the building owner sharing in significantly more of the revenue generated by those antennae. Our audit revealed that only one third of the actual coverage (and therefore just 1/3 of the revenue-generating potential) of the antennae was listed in the carrier's license agreement. We renegotiated with the carrier on behalf of the center and ensured that the building owner will be appropriately compensated for the value of its rooftop real estate.

In Quebec, a conference center hired The Attain Group to conduct a wireless audit, motivated by the number of requests that the center was receiving from carriers interested in locating wireless infrastructure on the center's rooftop. Our audit answered key questions that every building owner should ask, including:

  • How valuable is my rooftop?
  • What license agreements do I have in place?
  • What agreements should I have in place?

Our audit report also provided the conference center with details that will affect its revenue-generating abilities. For example, the advent of cellular extension services (see the "Industry Watch" article above) will begin to change conference centers' traditional model of offering Internet connectivity to exhibitors.

Don't be left out - it pays to understand what your rooftop is worth in this changing technological environment. Contact The Attain Group to learn the true value of your rooftop.

Warning Signs:
  Your Rooftop Responsibilities

Health Canada's Environmental and Workplace Health branch has instituted signage guidelines for rooftop antennas for the protection of employees working in the vicinity of radiation-emitting devices.

Knowledge is key - you must be aware of the types of antennas you have on your rooftops, their placement, and the frequencies at which they transmit. The only way to know with certainty is to ask the carrier for information or to perform tests.

Health Canada provides guidelines under Safety Code 6 for the protection of employees, contractors (i.e. roofing contractors, antenna installers, and window washing companies). Although these are guidelines and not regulations, provinces, industry, and other parties are being encouraged to adopt these measures and/or to develop their own procedures for compliance.

Health Canada's general recommendations are as follows:

  1. Installation of warning signs specified below or suitable substitutes, indicating the presence of radio frequency (RF) fields, should be posted accordingly.
  2. The areas surrounding unmanned, high-power sources of radio frequency radiation shall be fenced off to prevent unauthorized access to places where an overexposure could occur.

The suggested signs are designed to indicate the nature and degree of hazard associated with a given device or location. The following is an excerpt from the Safety Code 6 guidelines linked to above:

Area Demarcation

Radiofrequency Radiation

Area of Unrestricted Occupancy
Minor Injury Possible from Misuse

Radiofrequency Radiation

Area of Restricted Occupancy (RF Worker Only)
Serious Injury Possible from Misuse

Radiofrequency Radiation

Area of Denied Occupancy Critical Injury or Death Possible

The CAUTION sign is not generally used for area demarcation, but it may be placed on devices to indicate that they produce RF fields.

A WARNING sign shall be placed at the entrance of any zone within which a survey has shown that RF levels exceed specified level. The WARNING sign indicates that restricted occupancy is allowed.

a DANGER sign shall be placed at the entrance of any zone where the field levels are in excess of specified levels.

Be aware of the types of antennas you have on the roofs of your buildings, and be sure the proper warning signs are displayed.

Know your warning signs? The Attain Group can help: contact Christine Doyle at (613) 739-9424 ext. 226, or by e-mail at christine.doyle@theattaingroup.com



In-Building Wireless Services

The Attain Group is currently developing the next in its series of training courses for building owners and managers. Stay tuned for more information about a workshop on In-Building Wireless Services in the early new year.

Some participant comments from past BOMA courses delivered by Attain:

"The course was extremely helpful and very well run. I recommend all building operators who have telecom rooms take this course." - Michael Zabarylo, GWL Realty Advisors

"After taking the course, we feel that our front-line staff is better able to understand the technology and recognize proper telecom workmanship, and they will be able to take a more proactive role in the effective management of our communications systems." - Jeff Clark, Operations Manager, Place de Ville

Think Green!

You can reduce energy consumption in your buildings by using wireless controls for the following systems:

  • Ballasts and light switches
  • Temperature sensors
  • Window coverings
  • Directional signage in parking garages

All these new technologies can be incorporated into any construction project. Contact us for more information


Dave Hanson joins The Attain Group, services expand to encompass all low-voltage systems.

Attain is currently hiring a bilingual, Intermediate Telecom Design Technologist (Ottawa).

New Download

The Property Manager's Guide to Managed Telecommunications (PDF)


The Attain Group Inc.
208-1680 Woodward Dr.
Ottawa, Ontario K2C 3R7

Phone: (613) 739-9424
Fax: (613) 739-9424
Toll Free: (866) 439-9424


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