By Travis Gonzalez of BISNOW

Fitness centers and coffee bars are not the only features owners are looking to include in their office buildings. As more companies depend on seamless internet and cellular connectivity to conduct business, offices need to have the necessary infrastructure to support them. A recent report on millennials found that 96% of those surveyed rated mobile phones as the most important item used in their daily lives.

In a fast-paced, digital economy, reliable connectivity can be the difference between growing as a company and being outpaced by competitors.

In a survey from WiredScore, 72% of office leasing decision-makers said it is critical to have reliable internet connectivity in their office space, and more than half said they would not consider renting the space at all if they knew it possessed poor connectivity infrastructure. Many office workers can now bring their own devices to work, exacerbating poor connectivity issues. Switching work from a smartphone to a computer and vice versa needs to be seamless. Combined with open office plans and flexible desk assignments that let employees move freely, the risk of dropped calls and service interruptions becomes more common once computing devices are mobile.

Cellular infrastructure is an invisible but important amenity. When it is working properly, office tenants don’t notice it, nor do they think about the miles of cables and receivers required to penetrate the walls of the office building to reach their connected devices. For Intenna Systems, those invisible structures are top of mind. The company designs, builds and maintains wireless networks across multiple asset classes, from offices to healthcare facilities.

From distributed antenna systems to small cell solutions, Intenna Systems focuses on bringing cellular connectivity indoors.

Designing a well-connected office building doesn’t have to be an expensive exercise. At advertising agency R/GA’s new 200K SF office in Midtown Manhattan, the space has been designed from the ground up to focus on digital connectivity. Rather than invest in expensive design choices, R/GA chose to focus on the best technology possible to support GPS beacons, apps and networked office communications.

At the center of the office’s top floor are a café and cafeteria, with tables for eating and meetings. The office allows for flexibility, and employees can do everything from add desks to relocate conference rooms. What ties these collaborative spaces together is consistent and reliable connectivity, allowing teams to work from anywhere in the office without losing productivity.

“One of the most surprising things we learned is that building a connected space doesn’t have to cost any more than a traditional space, you just have to be willing to make unconventional choices,” R/GA founder, CEO and Chairman Bob Greenberg said in a Forbes interview.

In-building connectivity can be more than a productivity booster. It can also keep employees safe. In the event of an emergency, first responders rely on radio networks and cellular service to communicate life-saving information and instructions to their teams on the ground. An unreliable cellular network, or one overloaded by office tenants making phone calls, can make it difficult to effectively evacuate the building.

Despite the need for reliable cellular connectivity, over 80% of businesses still experience internet connectivity issues, and in-building wireless is present in only 2% of commercial real estate space. The lack of well-connected spaces represents an unprecedented opportunity for owners to increase the value of their assets. In a CommScope survey of real estate professionals, respondents asserted that indoor wireless coverage could increase a property’s value by 28% on average.

Working with Intenna Systems to build this cellular infrastructure is the first step toward improving property value for both owners and tenants.

This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and Intenna Systems. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.