The importance of strong mobile connectivity now needs to be a primary consideration for any business when it comes to designing and implementing their networking solutions. With more people than ever looking to take advantage of trends such as hot-desking to improve their flexibility, and smartphones and tablets making it easy to keep up with the business wherever they are, mobile and Wi-Fi solutions are an essential part of any successful strategy.
However, many firms may still be struggling to achieve this. In fact, almost three-quarters of workers in the UK (73 per cent) say their productivity has been harmed by a lack of effective indoor mobile connectivity at some point.
This is according to a study conducted by OnePoll on behalf of CommScope, which also revealed that 23 per cent of British office workers say their efficiency is hindered by poor mobile coverage at least once a week. Nearly half of respondents (44 per cent) stated they were forced to step outside to make a phone call or access 4G data services due to a lack of coverage indoors.
Phil Sorsky, senior vice-president of Service Providers International at CommScope, commented: "Workplaces are transforming - from flexible working to a growing culture of hot-desking and shared office space – and there is a clear requirement for the provision of cellular coverage to underpin productivity at work."
While many businesses may believe that the Wi-Fi provisions that they have are adequate for meeting the mobile needs of their workforce, employees think differently. CommScope's survey found more than three-quarters of office workers (77 per cent) believe it is important to be able to make mobile phone calls and access 4G data services while at work. Almost two-thirds of respondents (64 per cent) agreed that strong mobile connectivity is an important factor for them when looking for a role.
There is strong demand for over the top (OTT) services that use mobile networks, as nearly one in three workers (29 per cent) admitting to using their 4G connections to watch videos, download apps or connect with social media on a daily basis. A further 27 per cent said they do this at least once a week.
CommScope noted that while mobile operators should be doing more to improve their networks in order to support the next generation of networking devices - with Internet of Things sensors set to greatly increase the amount of traffic competing for space on such networks - they cannot do so alone, so a collaborative approach will be essential.
Mr Sorsky said improving indoor connectivity is a "significant challenge" for operators, especially when it comes to large and complex buildings. He said: "There is also an ongoing debate around whose responsibility it is to cater for the end-users; with mobile operators, building owners and facilities administrators all playing a role."
He added that establishing dialogue and a cooperative culture between these parties is vital. "Businesses will look elsewhere if they can’t get access to first class facilities, with wireless coverage, capacity and speed assured to enable productivity across their organisations," Mr Sorsky continued.