Simon_Cowley_Travel_Sign

Every so often, I travel for non-business purposes. Twice this year I took along my laptop and phone so I could be in constant contact with work and family during the quiet times. On both trips, I found things I’d never seen before.

In a tiny hotel room (and I mean tiny) that I shared with my wife in Copenhagen, Denmark there was this tiny little sign.

I read the tiny sign, with the cute tiny flying elephant, and then it dawned on me. There was no phone in the room. Imagine that. Pay phones have disappeared from street corners and airports, but this was a first for me--no landline in a hotel room. This hotel was assuming everyone has a mobile phone, and the ubiquitous room phone was just cluttering their rooms and gathering dust. 

So with a little marketing spin – about loving to speak with their guests face-to-face - they succeeded in reducing costs and freeing up some space in their oh-so-tiny guest rooms. The good news is I always had good coverage for my mobile.

I also spent four days in London this spring with my eldest daughter who had planned the entire trip around seeing an obscure English comedian that we both enjoy. We visited many attractions and many pubs. We ventured into one pub solely for the purpose of participating in the venerable “pub quiz”, which we lost miserably, but were respectable as the only “Americans” brave enough to enter. As we were both taking a moment to reconnect with the outside world (i.e. on our phones), a gentleman seated next to us commented that he knew a place where we couldn’t do that. Another pub – but a special one in East Sussex, outside of London, called the Gin Tub.

This particular pub doesn’t suggest that you stay off your mobile phone, or politely ask you to turn it off, or even take your phones away when you enter the establishment. Instead, they created an environment where your phone simply doesn’t work. Using metal foil and copper mesh, the owners turned the entire place into a giant Faraday cage, blocking all RF signals in or out, literally forcing people to talk to one another. Perhaps they are also preventing anyone from Googling answers during their quiz. Brilliant! The owner raves about the renewed and vibrant atmosphere – it is now a destination location.

So, what did I take away from these two things? Solid mobile coverage in the building is expected--period. People depend on it. You might even call it a “necessary evil”. Two different reactions to this trend are highlighted here though – each equally valid in its own right. One business adapts and reduces cost; the other rebels and embraces a counter-culture; however, both are finding ways to profit from the new reality.

CommScope can provide everything businesses need to provide solid mobile coverage to their employees, customers, and anyone who enters their facilities. If they ever decide to allow cell phones, we can even help the Gin Tub be ready for special occasions. 

About the Author

Simon Cowley

Simon C. Cowley is director of campus fiber market development for CommScope.  In this role, he is responsible for developing unique and comprehensive solutions for the office and campus workplace environment covering copper, fiber, wireless, and power technologies. Simon previously led CommScope’s Enterprise Solutions Global Technical Support team since 2006.  He also served as director of apparatus R&D for copper, fiber, and intelligent systems and fiber optic engineering manager since joining CommScope in 2001. Before joining Commscope, he served in various engineering, business development, and management capacities with Amphenol Fiber Optics, ITT Cannon, and FCI/Berg Electronics. Simon is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with an MBA in Global Management from the University of Phoenix.

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