How did you become involved in the Smart Buildings industry?
There are an estimated two billion smartphone users globally, with an estimated 80 percent of mobile traffic originating or terminating within a building.
People are obsessed with their mobile phones and see indoor wireless coverage as important as having access to water and electricity. In fact, indoor wireless coverage could increase a property’s value by 28% on average, meaning that a £2.5 million office building could be worth £700,000 more with a dedicated indoor cellular system.
While there are clearly concerns around the cost and complexity of the technology, building owners must acknowledge that ignoring this issue could result in more costly work in the future. Engaging with architects, facilities managers and enterprises at an early stage will ultimately save money – as well as providing an enhanced user experience.
CommScope sees a huge opportunity in unleashing the potential of smart buildings.
What excites you about the Smart Buildings industry?
Buildings have not suddenly become intelligent. Over the centuries, humans have regularly upgraded their shelters to offer new advantages. When we humans settled into an agrarian way of life, our dwellings became permanent and purposeful. With permanence came the need to add utility to our buildings by improving basic needs like security and better lighting. What we now take for granted, such as easily moveable and lockable doors and glass windows, were quite innovative in their time.
Common popular belief states that we only use a small percentage of our brains, and that extra-sensory perception (ESP) powers are accessible to humans by harnessing the capabilities of unused parts of the brain.
Although science has categorically debunked both these notions with regard to the human brain, the concepts can be applied to the untapped potential of the “brain” in a smart building, especially given the ever increasing advances in smart building technologies—from sensors to connectivity to data analytics.
Are there any particular technologies that we should be aware of, but are currently under the radar?
Most modern enterprise buildings claim to be intelligent, but some are smarter than others. A typical intelligent building deploys basic technologies to integrate HVAC systems, and has a multitude of separate systems for vital operational requirements such as access control, lighting, elevator control, metering, paging, audio-visual, IT systems, and others. When it comes to Efficiency, Security and Productivity, however, it is becoming increasingly clear that many so-called intelligent buildings are a long way from unlocking their potential.
The potential to unleash the capabilities of an intelligent building requires consideration and integration of a wide range of technologies and devices, including:
- Efficiency: sensor technologies and predictive “big data” analytics enable an intelligent building to optimise the use of traditional utilities such as water, gas, and electricity. Leading edge communication technologies and protocols, including VoIP, Power over Ethernet, Wi-Fi and in-building wireless systems provide efficient use of the wired infrastructure and wireless spectrum.
- Security: technologies such as wired and wireless sensors, cameras, access control, people counting devices, pattern recognition software, automated infrastructure management (AIM), secure network devices and event monitoring strengthen both the physical security and cybersecurity of the building.
- Productivity: employee motivation and general well-being are improved with technologies such as personalised comfort systems, networked low voltage mood lighting, real-time wayfinding, conference room management, collaboration technologies, and seamless wired and wireless connectivity
What services does your company offer?
We are in the early stages of what may be the greatest transformation of networking yet, driven by mobility, video consumption and cloud. These consumer behaviours and technology trends are straining networks globally and require new thinking regarding infrastructure requirements of the future.
Smart buildings are the stepping stones for smart cities. Buildings and large venues will continue to be designed like the smartest of cities.
For example, stadiums will resemble a microcosm of a community - with solid transportation infrastructure, amenities, sustainable energy systems like solar and water reclamation, and data security and communications. Buildings will serve as venues where employees can collaborate at any time.
With CommScope’s Intelligent Buildings Solutions and Indoor Solutions for large venues, organisations can plan, design, build and maintain their building’s communication network.
Are people aware of the regulations that they will need to comply with in the near future?
Coming into effect in 2017 in England is the new building regulation covering the requirements for high-speed communications networks inside buildings. Many people are unaware that any new or existing building undergoing significant renovation will need to comply with the requirement of this new document ‘R’. This change is being made to ensure that, in the future, all buildings have a suitable copper, optical fibre or wireless infrastructure that can support the growing the necessity of fast internet access.
Another upcoming change in the law will happen in 2018 when the UK government will make it mandatory for all commercial properties to meet the Minimum Efficiency Standards (MEES), which is currently an ‘E’ rating. Failure to do so will result in it becoming unlawful to rent out the property for business use. Some properties will be exempt, but building owners must register for this. Many people are aware of this change, but many do not necessarily understand the full impact.
Regulations are changing to ensure that all buildings can be both connected and that they are also more efficient. Most existing commercial buildings are likely to meet the minimum requirements, but future changes to regulations are expected to become more stringent. The control and connectivity that a modern smart building provides ensures that its owner is not only well equipped to benefit from the advantages that this brings, but will also be well prepared for imminent and future changes in regulations.
What are the benefits of a smart building?
The office is no longer only a place to go to work between the hours of nine to five, but also a venue where employees collaborate, create and connect at any time. Businesses understand that, in a globally competitive world they will attract employees and tenants by offering a ‘best in class’ work space that positively influences health/wellness and productivity.
In fact, respondents to the Coleman Parkes survey titled, “Wireless in Buildings: What Building Professionals Think” cited indoor wireless coverage as having benefits for the enterprise tenant, including an increase in workforce productivity (77%), supporting the recruitment of more talented individuals (46%) and even attracting more visitors (39%). Two-thirds of respondents also rated indoor wireless connectivity as ‘essential’ for employees.
Who has been the biggest influence in your career?
Many people have influenced my career. My late father who worked from the age of 14, and always with his hands, taught me that everyone, regardless of position, has an important contribution to make. My first manager at a small integrator taught me the importance staying relevant and adapting to changes in technology. He moved our business towards converged voice and data solutions when most of our larger competitors were out there selling old fashioned telephone systems. Lastly I have had a couple of bad managers over the years that had a big influence on my career! From these experiences I learned that you have to focus upon your people as your biggest asset and that leadership is a behaviour not a title.
What is the question you are most often asked in your business life?
People often ask how we maintain our leadership position year after year. I always tell them that it comes from the company’s culture. CommScope encourages innovation throughout the business, and has a strong history of acquiring companies that innovate. We focus on what’s relevant to the customer – what problems do they face? The solutions that we develop are a product of this.
What are the best/worst things about your job?
I love the variety that comes with my role. CommScope is a very global company and we get to meet a lot of interesting people and learn about other people’s businesses and organisations. The worst thing about my job is that there never seems to be enough time to do everything that we want to – there’s so many things that we want to achieve.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?
My advice would be to focus on being adaptable. Be the first to volunteer and don’t be phased by opportunities that don’t exactly match your existing experience or knowledge. I’ve learned and progressed the most in my career when I’ve been asked to do things that I’ve never previously done.
What living person do you admire and why?
I admire people that take a passion that they have and use it to make a wider impact. I’ve been following Elon Musk and the Tesla Motor company for the last few years. There you have a person that understands his technology, has the vision to market it effectively, and has the passion to push on through whilst established industry giants attempt to undermine it.
Where would you most like to live?
Right now I live in London, and with my young family it’s perfect for us. In the future there’s a few places that appeal to me. I have enjoyed travelling to the Far East on business and on holidays over the years, and South East Asia is somewhere I’d like to live at some point.
What is your favourite book?
I read Herman Melville’s Moby Dick at a young age and it left a lasting impression. It’s a very intense book that draws you into the struggle of the characters which are as much against themselves as the giant whale itself.
How do you relax?
I am a very keen angler. I’ve fished since I was five years old and take the opportunity to fish whenever I can, be it in the sea or inland.
What sports team do you support?
I support Arsenal Football Club.
What is your desert island disk?
The Manic Street Preachers, Everything Must Go.
What is your ideal holiday?
My ideal holiday involves being outdoors and enjoying the natural environment with my wife and children. I like holidays that provide the opportunity to do or see things I’ve never done or seen before.