View Blog RSS Feed

Why your building’s bad signal is about to become a big problem

How reliable is the mobile signal in your building (or buildings)?

One-bar coverage has always been frustrating, but as consumers and businesses increasingly use mobile for everything from shopping to healthcare to colleague communications, it’s becoming a much bigger issue.

For mobile-first solutions to work, they need a mobile connection – with decent data speeds – in the buildings where people will use them the most.

If customers can’t get 4G in a supermarket, how can they use smart shopping apps instore? What good are digital patient records if carers and patients can’t access them in hospital? How effective will mobile communications be in a warehouse, if their call connection is intermittent?

Any mobile strategy – whether it’s a customer-facing App or an internal communication process – is only as good as the connection supporting it. Being able to guarantee mobile connection indoors is going to be vital to digital transformations in every sector.

And thanks to new technology like Cel-Fi, boosting signal indoors is now affordable and easy in virtually any building that needs it:

  • Retail - Smart shopping initiatives are the future of retail: a way to merge online and bricks-and-mortar shopping experiences. But 80% of retail workers report bad mobile coverage – which doesn’t bode well for customer connectivity. With reliable mobile coverage in stores, retailers could make digital solutions – like mobile checkouts, digital shopping lists, App notifications and product videos – seamless and convenient for customers and staff alike.
  • Factories and warehouses - Mobile communications can be simpler, more effective and more flexible than bespoke hand-held communications systems – that is, if in-building coverage is consistent and reliable. Factories and warehouses come second only to healthcare premises in terms of poor mobile connectivity, with 82% of employees reporting bad signal. This is an inconvenience in itself from an employee experience and productivity perspective, but as these businesses move towards App-based systems and processes, lack of 4G coverage will hinder mobile-first initiatives.
  • Healthcare - Eighty-three percent of healthcare workers experience poor mobile signal, making it one of the worst-affected industries for bad data and calls. This is becoming more than just a frustration in hospitals, clinics and care homes, as healthcare providers – including the NHS – look to mobile solutions to streamline their services. With reliable 4G and calling in healthcare buildings, providers can offer digital solutions – such as patient Apps, ward communications and test result sharing – with confidence. But without good in-building connectivity, these services can actually become more of a hindrance than a help. Mobile connectivity has also provided patients and staff with an important remote connection to families at home during the pandemic. Read how UCtel provided one NHS trust with reliable mobile signal during the pandemic here.
  • Offices - Employees increasingly use their mobiles for business communications – both with colleagues and clients. If conversations are consistently dropped thanks to poor calls and intermittent Wi-Fi calling, productivity and engagement can suffer: especially if people have to leave the office to take calls. Bad signal can also hinder uptake of digital solutions in businesses, such as employee Apps. By addressing in-building coverage, offices can integrate digital solutions and create a more communicative environment.

Why not use Wi-Fi instead?

Wi-Fi calling and data can seem like the obvious solution to in-building data and calls, but it’s not always the most reliable or cost-effective solution, particularly if a lot of people are connecting at once.

  • Wi-Fi can be unpredictable in larger premises, or interconnected buildings.
  • Drop zones or low Wi-Fi signal areas are frustrating, particularly as users move between Wi-Fi hubs.
  • It can be inconvenient: visitors will not always want to join your Wi-Fi network, especially if they’re in a hurry.
  • It can be expensive, especially if multiple users need access to data.

What causes bad signal?

The obvious culprit is weak signal strength in the local area, but this isn’t always the cause of poor mobile coverage indoors.

Mobile signal can also be interrupted by building materials, like glass, metal, brick and insulation. It can also suffer in buildings located in high-density areas, or those close to wooded areas or hills.

Whatever the reason for poor signal indoors, you may be able to boost your signal to give your users full data and calls coverage with Cel-Fi.

Suitable for most buildings, Cel-Fi’s affordable mobile signal boost technology brings better voice quality and data speeds to premises large and small.

  • Easy to set up
  • Low-impact installation
  • No interference with other wireless products
  • Network safe
  • Authorised by 200 mobile carriers
  • Automatically adjusts to changing network conditions

To find out if your network signal challenges can be fixed with Cel-Fi, email ivor.nicholls@uctel.co.uk or call 0333 344 4417.

Tags: Cel-Fiindoor coveragemobile coverageNHSUCtel

Connecting NHS buildings with strong mobile network coverage

An NHS trust in the UK was in dire need of strong, reliable mobile network signal at two of their hospitals. With one location being badly affected by coronavirus, the project had to be carried out fast, without severe disruption to either premises. Here’s how UCtel implemented Cel-Fi’s mobile signal boosting technology to deliver an effective, speedy solution.

The case for better mobile calls and data coverage

Like most healthcare providers in the UK, the trust has started to move towards a ‘mobile first’ strategy, with everything from patient records to colleague communications relying increasingly on mobile connections.

Mobile has become such an integral part of healthcare, especially during the COVID-19 outbreak, that the NHS has released official guidance on how staff and patients can use devices safely

Digital services that need mobile data and calling to function include:

  • Accessing digital patient records on tablets and mobile phones (particularly important for outpatients to specialist units such as diabetes management clinics and maternity services)
  • Communication between staff (especially those on emergency call)
  • Communication between patients and their next of kin (something that rapidly became a priority as coronavirus prohibited visitors to wards)
  • Organisation and digital planning (a rising number of Nurses now use mobile devices to plan rotas and patient visits)

Why WiFi and external mobile signal doesn’t always work

While WiFi can offer a partial solution, it’s often inconsistent across an entire hospital building, especially for hospitals that are arranged in blocks with walkways and outside spaces between wards and facilities. These ‘drop zones’ are not only inconvenient, but can delay emergency communications.

As for relying on existing network coverage, healthcare buildings are among the worst affected by poor mobile coverage, with 82% of workers reporting bad signal in a recent study. While this can be due to location, it is mostly thanks to building layouts and materials such as brick, glass and metal obscuring signal.

A fast, efficient solution with Cel-Fi

As one of the hospitals was particularly badly hit by coronavirus, access to digital services – for staff and patients alike – had suddenly become a significant priority. The solution needed to be fast, without causing disruption to busy wards.

By installing Cel-Fi QUATRA signal boosters, UCtel could quickly bring reliable coverage from multiple networks into the premises.

Surveys were carried out to determine the quantity and location of the Cel-Fi QUATRA units to provide the coverage needed. UCtel’s team of engineers installed new cabling throughout the building to connect the system and tuned it to deliver the optimal signal.

Cel-Fi does not interfere with existing wireless products, making it safe to use alongside hospital equipment.

The solution is remotely supported by UCtel to ensure it continues to deliver the coverage required.

The result

The new solution has transformed a user experience where there was either no coverage or a patchy, weak signal, to a consistent coverage with a high data throughput.

Both hospitals now have reliable network coverage, allowing healthcare professionals, administrators and patients to access digital services and stay connected.

Authorised by 200 mobile carriers, Cel-Fi also automatically adjusts to changing network conditions, so that the hospitals can rely on network coverage regardless of environmental changes.

To discuss whether Cel-Fi could be the network solution your building needs, email: ivor.nicholls@uctel.co.uk or call 0333 344 4417. We can help you identify what’s causing your in-building signal problems and find the right solution for you.

Tags: Cel-Fimobile coverageNHSUCtel

Life after lockdown why video is set to replace voice calls for good

It’s no surprise that video calling statistics have rocketed since the coronavirus outbreak began. Thousands of people around the world have quickly adjusted to using video conferencing and collaboration tools as a way to maintain more meaningful communication with their colleagues, friends and families, as they adjust abruptly to social distancing.

But is this a temporary change in communication, or has the current climate paved the way for a permanent shift towards visual communications, both in our personal and professional lives?

Cisco Meraki

As the pandemic changes the way we live, work and interact, it could be creating a new normal for video communications that will last long after social distancing restrictions have been lifted.

When customer services are weak, and your workforce is struggling to remain professional due to dropped signal, productivity dips. The retention of customers and attracting a new audience then become a challenge, resulting in a decline of business growth and ROI.

Surge in demand for video – and security problems

In March, emergency measures in various countries caused a surge in adoption of video calling software. Webex hosted 50 million virtual meetings from 1st – 26th March, Zoom reported a 535% rise in global daily traffic, and Microsoft Teams recorded a 775% increase in Teams calling over a one-month period of Italy’s lockdown. In the UK alone, research by EY found that 18% of people surveyed had tried video calling for the first time since social distancing began.

Yet in the rush to onboard video conferencing and collaboration, security concerns have been shifted to the back burner – which could prove catastrophic if they are not addressed soon. Arvind Narayanan, an associate computer science professor at Princeton University, went as far as to say that Zoom’s security flaws made it as bad as malicious software. A lack of end-to-end encryption on the platform raises risks of data breaches, hacking and confidential information leaks, which is particularly worrying given Zoom’s sudden burst of popularity with individuals, businesses and government departments alike.

But this does not need to be a barrier for businesses looking to embrace video capabilities as a key part of their communication, now or in the future. Unlike Zoom, Webex features end-to-end encryption that makes the platform – and the conversations that take place on it – secure. And with cloud capabilities, it can easily and quickly be adopted by remote-working teams.

Future expectations for face-to-face

Video conferencing has been lauded as a game-changer for several years, but has always faced a slight reticence from users. In many offices, video calls have until now been reserved for important long-distance meetings, or specific group meetings, as opposed to being used as an everyday tool to chat to clients, suppliers or remote colleagues. At home, while younger generations have embraced video-based communications through apps like Snapchat and TikTok, others have restricted it’s use to reaching out to far-flung friends and relations.

Yet this period of remote working appears to have given video conferencing the nudge it needed to get over this hurdle. With people confined to their homes, video has become a valuable way to integrate with the world – and that slight awkwardness associated with the software has quickly evaporated in a time of need.

This could dramatically change expectations for business communications in the future – and open doors for companies in both the B2B and B2C space.

A study by Michigan University, back in 2017, found video calling the second-best method of communication to build trust, second only to in-person contact. With video calling now more widely embraced across various sectors of society, demand for face-to-face customer service and account management is likely to rise – providing businesses with an opportunity to build relationships and improve trust scores.

EY’s research also found respondents more ready to engage digitally with service providers, rather than through traditional telephone correspondence, since the outbreak began. Interesting use-cases of existing video customer services include Google’s Helpouts, Durham County Council’s Durham Talk and Schuh’s Live Help feature. It will be interesting to see how many businesses launch their own video services to respond to increased demand – and what those services will look like.

Predicting the future of video

It’s impossible to know how long remote working and social distancing will continue, but what we do know is that video conferencing is an invaluable tool both in the here and now, and for the future of communications.

To find a secure video platform that suits your business needs – whether you need internal communications or customer facing applications – please get in touch – ivor.nicholls@uctel.co.uk. We can help you find the platform for you – and with cloud capabilities available, we’re able to get your collaboration tools up and running immediately while your teams work from home.

References:

Tags: FutureVideoWebex

Business losing out due to dropped mobile signal

Poor communication in a business is disruptive, unprofessional and damaging to growth.

When was the last time you were on the phone, about to close the deal with a potential customer only to find yourself in an office dead zone? The signal drops and your customer’s voice breaks-up or disappears, leaving you with a lost opportunity.

Are your visitors or guests unable to make or receive calls on their mobile devices? Do they have to always go onto Wi-Fi to get connected? Frustrating to say the least.

Cisco Meraki

But these aren’t the only casualty of inefficient mobile coverage.

When customer services are weak, and your workforce is struggling to remain professional due to dropped signal, productivity dips. The retention of customers and attracting a new audience then become a challenge, resulting in a decline of business growth and ROI.

Approximately 85% of your workforce is using more than one device to communicate at work, sending and receiving some of the 293 billion emails sent across the globe every day. But how many of these are getting stuck in an outbox due to bad data? And how many of these are opportunities going to waste?

Across the UK, productivity improves by 25% in organisations when employees are connected. But indoor mobile coverage is a serious problem across the entire UK – with 23% of businesses STILL plodding along without it. But when 89% of business owners believe it to be extremely important, something needs to shift.

UCtel understand that businesses want a system that can address poor coverage pain points, but at an affordable price. In fact, with 41% of you claiming exactly that, the team had to find a solution. And that solution is Cel-fi.

A revolutionary, award-winning product – developed by Nextivity Inc – simplifies daily interactions by improving indoor coverage with up to 1000x stronger signal. As Ofcom-Licence exempt and carrier approved and endorsed, it won’t interfere with other wireless products, ultimately delivering streamlined communications across your business.

Covering spaces no-one has covered before, Cel-fi…

  • Cel-fi is the ONLY signal booster authorised for use in nearly 100 countries by almost 200 mobile operators
  • Will achieve optimal indoor voice quality and data speeds
  • Is ideal for small businesses and enterprise environments
  • Can be installed and managed by UCtel

Even if the mobile signal in your office is inhibited or blocked by trees, hills, buildings or bad weather, Cel-fi cannot be stopped. Reproducing 3G and 4G connections and propagating signal coverage, it won’t overlap WiFi and can be easily switched between networks.

But with this level of technology, you also need experts - in the form of UCtel. As certified partners of Cel-fi, the team offer overarching management and maintenance services. Call UCtel today on 0333 344 4417 and get your business connected.

Tags: Cel-Fimobile coverageNextivityUCtel

Ready to simplify your business

In 2019, 38% of businesses viewed cloud management as a top priority, with many expected to process 94% of workloads with it by 2021. Join them in 2020 and simplify your enterprise…

Allow UCtel to put your business on the cloud with Cisco Meraki. With this secure and efficient cloud-managed networking system, you can streamline your business, resulting in increased productivity, stronger company-wide communications and enriched customer interactions.

Cisco Meraki

A cloud-based solution designed to help your organisation upgrade its communications securely, Cisco Meraki enables:

  • A complete networking solution including wired, wireless, security and SD-WAN
  • Complete control of your network from a centralised dashboard
  • Simplified template-based deployment methods
  • The ability to select a wider range of connection methods
  • Rapid deployment and cost savings opportunities
  • A wireless network that is expertly designed and engineered, optimised for the real world with excellent user experience
  • 100% cloud-managed IT, covering wireless switching, security and cameras, all centrally from the cloud

Also releasing an innovative new product in December, Cisco Meraki now also allows businesses to take advantage of mobile technology with an MG Cellular Gateway that can be positioned outdoors, guaranteeing your network will always have signal. And with 12% of organisations losing connectivity at least once a day, UCtel understand this business need.

As certified partners of Cisco Meraki, UCtel can offer a complete network solution, helping your business securely upgrade from outdated infrastructures resulting in stronger communications, greater efficiency and improved customer interactions.

Call UCtel on 0333 344 441 to unearth your options and get your business ready for the future.

Tags: CiscoMerakiMG Cellular GatewaySD-WANUCtel

Page 1 of 20 Next