Tuesday, July 24, 2007

All Services on One Cable = One Bad Idea

Developers have some tough choices to make right now. Costs keep rising, but residents expect more than ever.

The question is: Are you giving your residents the technology options that they expect and desire?

As multifamily builders try to find ways to offset rising construction costs, I've seen recently that some companies are revisiting their specifications for low voltage wiring, trying to cut costs by consolidating all of their properties' communications services on only one or two wires to each unit.
This convergence is certainly becoming increasingly affordable, and it may sound like a promising way to control costs.

Well... While there are some systems that can be converged throughout your property, right now could be a really bad time to consolidate the cabling for your telecommunications services, especially considering recent rulings from the FCC. (PDF)

More players are entering the telecommunications business. New applications, major partnerships and other strategic maneuvers demonstrate that competitors within this industry aren't going to give up market share without a fight. Here are just a few examples:

:: Both major satellite TV companies are making major investments to provide their most advanced technologies to date in multifamily communities.

:: Cable operators continue to grow their on-demand services, and they're starting to test the first of many unique wireless applications that will come from their 20-year deal with Sprint.

:: Verizon and other FTTH providers are expanding rapidly, offering high-quality video services and extremely fast broadband services that are receiving high reviews from users.

Simply put, we are in the middle of what could possibly be a golden age of innovation among service providers.

There are more unique applications and functions than ever that are either available now or in the near future, and it's making this a tough time for anyone to try to pick the winners that you and your residents will want to do business with now and also 3-5 years down the road.

Consolidating your property's structured wiring will limit how many providers your residents can choose from, limit your options if you ever need to change providers, and limit your ability to upgrade your network when new services become available.

One wire per unit is not going to get the job done if you want to provide today's advanced services. Investing in a flexible, upgradeable infrastructure now will save you a lot of headaches later, and will allow you to deliver the technology options your residents desire today.

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