04/08/2002

Help For the 21st Century

Movable Walls – a Flexible Solution For Future-ready Workspaces

 

It’s a Material World

Building materials determine the number of walls a radio frequency (RF) signal can pass through without degrading:

• Paper and vinyl walls have little effect on signal penetration.

Solid and pre-cast concrete walls limit penetration to one or two walls.

Concrete and concrete block walls limit signal penetration to three or four walls.

Wood or drywall allows for adequate penetration for five or six walls.

A thick metal wall causes signals to reflect off, resulting in poor signal penetration.

A chain link fence – wire-mesh with 1.5-inch spacing – acts as a wave signal that completely blocks a 2.4 GZ signal.

Source: CISCO, TROUBLE SHOOTING PROBLEMS AFFECTING RADIO FREQUENCY COMMUNICATION

By Greg Bobyn

In the Industrial Age, efficiency and stability were the models for business. For success in today’s Information Age, technology requires agility and innovation. However, today’s business model often suffers at the hands of real estate – when an inability to adapt and treat tenants as clients turns real estate assets into liabilities. The results are short lease terms, the loss of clients when those leases come up for renewal, and the constant cost of tenant churn.

The immediate need for nearly all office real estate in the 21st century is to offer quick-connect platforms that allow tenants to be their most agile in uncertain times and their most innovative when times are good. The best way to help keep space leased isn’t to guess what the future will bring technologically, but to let the space be open to whatever comes. Having movable walls or partitions, on top of a flexible technology platform, is an extremely successful way to get agile.

An access floor, delivered with a universal zone distribution model and quick connect power and data, provides a technological complement to movable walls and furniture. This makes the entire environment open to being whatever the tenant needs, allowing walls, furniture, lights, etc. to move without tearing up miles and miles of cable and tearing down tons of drywall. In North America alone, over $16 billion is spent every year on re-cabling.

In many cases, movable walls are factory-made with the option of pre-wired data and power installed for vertical or horizontal distribution. Movable walls are vastly different from demountable walls. Demountables still require expensive trades such as electricians and data specialists to rough in their work during construction and renovation. On the other hand, when fully unitized walls arrive on-site ready to plug in, the schedule and cost for trades suddenly goes down for both initial installation and later reconfiguration.

Wireless technology is also something to think about when choosing movable walls and technology platforms. Of surveyed development managers, 46 percent say they plan to go wireless sooner rather than later.

Wireless technology is only “wireless” to the end-user. Small local antennas are spread through the interior supporting such wireless systems. These are extensively connected to high-speed cables, best located in an access floor system.

Radio frequencies (RF) prefer an unobstructed environment – unlikely in an office situation. So, before choosing partitions for demising the space in a wireless environment, do some homework. Some materials (see below) are more conducive to allowing RF signals to pass through than others. While there is little in the way of exhaustive science when predicting the properties of common building materials, there are relative comparisons of performance predictions – with reinforced concrete and steel being the most obstructive to signal paths.

Overall, movable walls with pre-wired components, along with quick-connect power and data zone distribution, allow a space to become a useful partner in the Information Age. For a building owner, this means no damage to the building, no giant waste containers, and no fees for disposal of technology waste.

Greg Bobyn (gbobyn@smednet.com) is a vice president at Calgary, Alberta-based SMED International (www.smednet.com).

 

Connectrac wireways offer discrete power and technology connectivity in open interior spaces of all kinds; affordably, quickly and with long-term flexibility.



When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.

Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.


Mitsubishi Electric’s H2i R2-Series heat pumps provide 100% heating capacity down to 0° F and simultaneous heating and cooling down to -4° F delivering year-round comfort, regardless of climate zone.

Connectrac wireways offer discrete power and technology connectivity in open interior spaces of all kinds; affordably, quickly and with long-term flexibility.



When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.

Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.


Mitsubishi Electric’s H2i R2-Series heat pumps provide 100% heating capacity down to 0° F and simultaneous heating and cooling down to -4° F delivering year-round comfort, regardless of climate zone.

 
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