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New Multifamily WiFi Model Provides WiFi Calling and Subscription Services To Residents

Spot On Networks new WiFi offering allows building owners to offer residents property-wide WiFi calling and subscription data services while continuing to honor marketing exclusivity agreements with cable and telco companies

 

For Immediate Release

New Haven, CT February 27, 2017

Spot On Networks (“SON”) announced today the development of a new service offering that provides property-wide WiFi calling service and subscription-based tiered data services to residents in multifamily buildings. This new service offering uses SON’s UserSafe® WiFi technology to provide property-wide seamless, high-quality voice coverage with Quality of Service (“QOS”) and voice packet prioritization. This same wireless service also allows residents to subscribe to low-cost high speed WiFi internet services as an alternative to the high-cost plans offered by cable and telco ISPs. The new solution allows building owners to offer WiFi for voice-only services at no-cost while preventing residents from receiving data services unless they subscribe, thus allowing building owners to honor their existing marketing agreements which often do not allow a property to offer bulk data services. The property-wide wireless backbone also provides amenity area data services to residents at no cost and support for the Internet of Things (IoT). The pricing for this new model is significantly less than other voice solutions like a Distributed Antenna System (“DAS”).

The multifamily industry has long been plagued with poor in-building cellular coverage due to energy saving construction materials such as concrete and low-emission glass. Poor cellular coverage has hurt the multifamily industry resulting in dissatisfied residents and lease issues. Solutions to the in-building cellular coverage problem prior to the cellular carrier’s adoption of WiFi calling had been predominately cellular booster systems or DAS which is often a non-starter due to high cost and long deployment time. A property-wide wireless backbone with WiFi calling and subscription data services will typically cost a building owner $0.40 per square foot which is about one-fifth of a DAS solution.

While WiFi calling has been available in various forms for years, it has only become a viable in-building voice solution in the past eighteen months due to native dialing support from the four major cellular carriers: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint as well as a host of MVNOs with various WiFi calling solutions and device offerings such as Republic Wireless and Google Project Fi. Spot On Networks has been developing and testing managed wireless services that support seamless, high-quality WiFi calling with QOS and voice packet prioritization for years.

“We have long been involved in developing in-building voice solutions for our building owner clients,” stated Spot On Networks CEO, Dick Sherwin. He continued, “Our CellBoost® product gave building owners a quick-to-deploy and cost-effective alternative to the DAS solution – but we have always seen the future as Voice Over WiFi. Because many building owners have existing marketing exclusivity agreements with cable and teleco companies, they were prevented from providing property-wide WiFi to residents. Our new wireless model allows building owners to use the less-expensive and more sophisticated UserSafe® WiFi solution for voice while honoring their marketing agreements AND providing residents with faster, lower-cost data services.”

Spot On Networks new hybrid voice and data solution is currently being deployed in many properties across the U.S. and is being highly sought after by affordable housing authorities, real estate investment trusts and multifamily building owners.

About Spot On Networks

Spot On Networks (“SON”) is a wireless internet service provider and wireless consulting company representing tens of thousands of residential and commercial tenants, nationwide. SON designs, deploys and manages carrier grade WiFi, WiFi Calling and CellBoost® networks to multifamily, senior living, hospitality, retail and commercial buildings. Spot On’s wireless networks are backed by patent-pending network architecture and UserSafe® technology.

SON is the leading provider of managed WiFi networks and in-building voice solutions to the U.S. multitenant housing market and is a trusted leader in wireless since 2004. SON develops WiFi-backed solutions to solve the most pressing problems facing today’s building owners.

 

 

Multi-family Cell Coverage A Major Issue – New York Times Takes Notice

This Sunday’s Real Estate section of the New York Times included an interesting article: The Cellphone Imperative: If I Can’t Text, I’m Moving, which addressed the ongoing issue of poor in-building coverage in NYC multi-family buildings and the negative impact that lack of coverage has on leasing apartments.  Solutions range from WiFi Calling all the way to DAS – but the point is clear, it’s time for building owners to pick a solution or risk losing potential renters and buyers.  See below for a run-down of the most popular solutions or contact us to discuss what solution is right for your property: 203-523-5210.

The Impact

So just how negative an impact does poor in-building cellular having on leasing and selling apartments?  The NYT made it pretty clear:

“’It could kill a deal,’ said David J. Maundrell III, the founder of aptsandlofts.com, which was acquired a few days ago by Citi Habitats.  Being fully connected has become ‘a part of our daily routine,’ said Mr. Maundrell, noting how prospective residents constantly check their phones during showings. ‘People are addicted to it.’”

Real estate brokers are also taking notice of the importance of good cellular reception inside and are saying that, for buyers, adequate cellular coverage is non-negotiable and is as much a requirement of purchasing/ leasing a home as having a certain number of bedrooms:

“’A strong cell reception is a prerequisite,’ said Michael Graves, an associate broker at Douglas Elliman.”

Apparently, even celebrities are not exempt from facing coverage issues in their luxury apartments.  According to the Times, Jay Z walked away from a long-term lease after suffering a few days of poor cell signal.  Case in point, from billionaire to “renters on a budget”, everyone has cellular coverage on their priority list.

What Causes The Cellular Problem

Unfortunately, building owners encounter the issue of poor cellular coverage simply because they are building their buildings in the best way: using energy efficient materials like low-E glass, reinforced steel and concrete.  These building materials are creating a big problem.  Material like low- emissions glass, for example, is designed the keep the elements out and heat/ air conditioning inside – these energy saving windows drastically weaken cell signal and in some cases do not allow it to pass through at all.

Available Solutions

The NYT article talks a lot about both DAS and wireless networks (WiFi), though it seems to lump them together without pointing out the differences.   This part of the article can be a bit confusing.  A DAS system simply is not an option for the majority of building owners out there due to the high cost and amount of time it takes to get approval on such a solution, WiFi Calling and CellBoost® are very different from DAS in both network architecture, cost and need for approval.  There are multiple solutions for building owners to consider and what is right depends on the needs of the property: budget, the demographics of the building, time-frame for deployment, etc all need to be considered.  Solutions range from highly expensive carrier solutions to the more cost efficient dedicated WiFi Calling solution.  Here is a snap shot of the three most popular building-wide solutions, what they look like and how much they cost (from least to most expensive):

WiFi Calling – Approx. Cost: $0.40 per square foot:

  • What Is It? In-building wireless network with dedicated bandwidth and quality of service
  • Benefits: Cost effective, same physical network provides data services for residents, supports multiple carriers, call quality in testing is often better than cellular
  • Downsides: Currently only available for AT&T, T-Mobile & Sprint (Verizon has said they will deploy soon)

CellBoost® 

- Approx. Cost: $0.75 per square foot:

  • What Is It? Uses a donor antenna to bring existing outdoor cell signal into the building
  • Benefits: Quick to deploy, carrier agnostic, does NOT require carrier approval
  • Downsides: Currently only available for AT&T, T-Mobile & Sprint (Verizon has said they will deploy soon)

DAS - Approx. Cost: $2.00 per square foot:

  • What Is It? Essentially turns a building into a mini-cell site.  Relies on a base transceiver station.  Mostly used for stadiums and arenas
  • Benefits: Provides excellent cellular call quality
  • Downsides: Very expensive, slow to deploy, may become obsolete

 

Cellular Problems At Your Property?  contact us to discuss what solution is right for your property: 203-523-5210.

 

 

CellBoost® offering extended to Commercial Real Estate/ Office Space

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The demand for reliable coverage and capacity in Class A commercial buildings has increased exponentially in recent years.  The use of tablets, smartphones and the BYOD culture of today’s businesses for both voice coverage and data streaming is forcing commercial building owners to consider their options for providing in-building voice coverage.  The first step to getting a voice coverage problem solved is to request an exhausted site survey and frequency plan to determine what issues are occurring at the property and how best to solve the problem for the least amount of money.  Request A Site Survey

What In-Building Voice Solutions Are Available To Commercial Properties?

Until recently, the only real solution available to building owners has been the Distributed Antenna System (DAS) which can run upwards of 500,000K – 1,000,000 dollars.  That is no longer the case.  There is now flexibility for building owners to deploy a cost effective solution that really works.  More than ever, commercial building owners are in control of their own destiny and have a suite of in-building voice solutions to choose from.

CellBoost®

Requires no carrier approval. Quick to deploy. Carrier Neutral.

Typical cost: $0.75/ sq. ft


Heterogeneous Network

Combines voice solutions (including: WiFi, Small Cell) to provide the best voice solution to cover all carrier/ coverage problems.  Carrier specific.


DAS

Requires carrier approval.  Slow to deploy.  Very Expensive.

Typical cost: $2.00/ sq. ft.


What Causes The Voice Coverage Problem?

The problem is really two-fold.  Today’s buildings are constructed with LEED building materials, like Low-E glass, that do not allow cellular signal to penetrate.  In addition, the cellular carriers have built out their networks to provide geographic coverage without taking into account the amount of users on the network.  In a commercial building space, where there are a large amount of users in a dense area, calls are dropped, connections are lost and data streaming is slow.  The cellular networks are strained and cannot support all of the usage.

The Importance of A Site Survey/ Frequency Plan

When it comes to in-building coverage and capacity: “There is no such thing as plug and play”.  That quote, said by Paula Doublin, AT&T’s AP for Antenna Solutions, really sums up what needs to go into an in-building voice solution.  DAS is not the only solution out there, though it is the most expensive.   A site survey and coordinated frequency plan is necessary to pinpoint areas of poor coverage by carrier and then a solution can be formulated specifically to the areas/ carriers with problems.  Contact Spot On for a  site survey/ frequency plan of your building.

 

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