Communication has been present since the beginning of humanity and played an important part in human history development in relation to spreading knowledge and information. In ancient times, people communicate through simple language, paintings, smoke signals and etc.
Technology has brought forward a fundamental change to our communication medium and methods. Smartphones are now a staple, and apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, Viber, and others have further disrupted the way we do things, allowing us to communicate, work, play and go about our daily routine. Always ON Communication, as with water and electricity, has become an indispensable part of our daily lives.
Statistics have shown that more than 70% of mobile communications are done in an indoor scenario. As the number of 4G/5G services continue to increase, coupled with the industry’s ever-expanding reach, more and more communications are expected to happen indoors, with a projected increase of up to 80% to 90% of all mobile communications.
In a high-rise building or in a large shopping mall, due to the limited mobile signal penetration from outdoor mobile networks to indoor buildings, users will sometimes encounter challenges with connection due to weak or non-existent signal in some areas. Consequently, the ability to make calls and access the internet will be unavailable. This then causes anxiety among users over the inability to be in touch, with the possibility of missing important information and opportunities, and even more in the case of emergencies.
All the reasons above signify the importance of indoor network coverage for availability to communicate anytime, anywhere and is a part of basic security and social needs of the general public.
Indoor Digitization Bringing Intelligent Experience to People’s Lives
With the development of mobile internet and wireless communication, new services such as precise indoor positioning, indoor navigation and big data analysis will be the next trend in property development, and the digitization of indoor mobile networks has the ability to provide these diversified services.
An example would be Beijing Wangfujing Shopping Center, which deployed an indoor “Smart Shopping Mall”, which enables the mall manager to monitor real-time customer location by generating a heat map of the shopping mall customers. The mall can utilize real-time customer flow information for useful purposes such as real-time security alerts, which can also be obtained through a dedicated app. Based on historical data, the mall management is able to pinpoint the areas with highest foot traffic where they can conduct marketing activities and mall events. Another example is to have a dynamic rental system based on the customer foot traffic in the mall. Mall management also can utilize the data available to increase the foot traffic in historically less popular area of the mall by providing value added services such as real-time push of preferred advertisement by retail stores. Customers can also view promos or discounts available throughout the retails stores through the mall app, getting the information and real-time navigation to a particular store, retail shop ranking and popularity to have an enjoyable, easy shopping experience.
Indoor digitization will usher in the age of smart shopping malls, smart gymnasium, smart hospitals, smart parks and so much more intelligent building and structures to make people’s lives smarter, easier and more enjoyable.
This is something that major retail spaces in the Philippines such as Ayala Malls, SM Malls, and Robinsons Malls, five-star hotels, airports, and office buildings should take into consideration in order to provide a better indoor digital experience to the public.
Indoor Digital System are Widely Deployed Worldwide and in New Build Buildings
The Digital Indoor System (DIS) has been a highly innovative indoor coverage solution for the 4G era in the past five years. These solutions, which incorporate an active digital head-end, digital oriented cable and visualized operations and maintenance have been widely recognized worldwide.
Today, DIS has been deployed in more than 100 countries globally and is used in transportation hubs, shopping malls, stadiums, schools, hotels, offices and many other indoor scenarios.
The two top real-estate developers in China, SOHO China and Wanda have deployed DIS and indoor digital services in their homes, offices and shopping malls, and this has been received well by their customers. The sales and rental of their properties are among the highest in the industry, and their digital homes are also among the most occupied. Nowadays, prospective buyers of properties are looking at the quality of indoor mobile network as one of their top priorities. Due to this sentiment, real estate developers have been more proactive in reserving space in their building design to accommodate the communication equipment needed for a DIS. Real estate developers also even lay out the cables needed throughout the buildings for DIS and lowered their indoor rental space for DIS equipment operators to encourage them to build DIS in the real estate projects.
The Philippines is one of the fastest growing economies in the region with a fast-growing middle class that has a high purchasing power and keen aspiration to own a place they can call home. More and higher rise buildings for residential and commercial purposes are being built and will be built across the country. As of now, only around 10% of buildings have dedicated indoor network coverage and less than 1% are digitized. Although the proportion of DIS is very low, it is encouraging to see that operators and some building owners has taken action to make changes to their indoor coverage network, and we all look forward to a future that is enabled and enhanced by indoor digitization.