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Beware the Codependent Occupancy Platform: The Wi-Fi marriage you never expected

As Real Estate services and investments leaders rely more and more on occupancy analytics and utilization rates to inform crucial building lease decisions, the allure of streamlining operations and cost savings by bundling occupancy analytics through your Wi-Fi provider becomes tempting. 

But Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are finding that as more business stakeholders latch onto services from network providers they have less freedom and flexibility. 

CIOs need to carefully consider the downsides of bundling occupancy analytics into their Wi-Fi infrastructure, as it may force CIOs to be more committed to their network provider than they initially thought. 

Lack of Expertise and Customer Support: 

When platforms try to be too many things to too many people, quality and support often suffer. Users find that out of the box reporting, widgets, and customizations leave their teams struggling to find the time to learn the ins and outs of the occupancy platform. Some systems are complex enough to require trained administrators or data scientists to interpret the outputs in an actionable way. This requires additional unseen costs for hiring and training beyond the cost of the service.

Resources often find their way to high-profile products and services, leaving add-on features without the innovation to keep up with boutique technologies. Prioritizing updates and new integrations to these add-on features becomes continuously deprioritized, diminishing accuracy, and functionality.

Limited Flexibility and Scalability:

One of the primary downsides of bundling too many services into a Wi-Fi network is the resulting lack of flexibility and scalability. When multiple services are intertwined within a single provider, making changes or upgrades becomes a cumbersome process. CIOs may find themselves locked into a rigid infrastructure that hampers the organization’s ability to adapt to emerging technologies or evolving business needs.

In the realm of Wi-Fi, technology is constantly advancing, and organizations must be agile enough to adopt new solutions. Bundling too many services can create inertia, making it challenging for CIOs to explore alternative providers or technologies that may better suit the organization’s requirements.

The world of Occupancy Analytics and Utilization Rate tracking has seen a dramatic shift in the types of metrics Real Estate leaders are looking to capture and the technology driving radical changes in strategy. Keeping pace with the rate of change for these critical data points is a complicated task requiring teams of experts. When corporations give Occupancy Analytics a backseat, they run into similar challenges that DIY teams encounter

Dependency on a Single Provider:

Bundling services often means relying on a single provider for multiple critical functions, including Wi-Fi services. While this may initially seem convenient, it poses a significant risk to the organization. If the bundled provider experiences downtime or fails to meet the organization’s evolving needs, the entire infrastructure may be compromised.

Wi-Fi is a mission-critical service, and any disruption can impact day-to-day operations. IT teams carefully monitor down-times and network speed for their organization and may need to make changes to access points or technologies associated with Wi-Fi coverage. If they deem the network unstable, they may wish to source other providers that have better coverage for their area. If too many other services are bundled into the provider, it becomes more difficult to transition away.

Stakeholder Conflicts:

In the complex web of organizational dynamics, various stakeholders, such as Space Planners and Facilities, often rely on Wi-Fi for occupancy analytics and other essential functions. Bundling services may lead to conflicts among stakeholders who have different priorities and requirements.

In the complex web of organizational dynamics, various stakeholders, such as Space Planners and Facilities, often rely on Wi-Fi for occupancy analytics and other essential functions. Bundling services may lead to conflicts among stakeholders who have different priorities and requirements.

For instance, Space Planners who select occupancy analytics sensors or platforms that are tied into specific Wi-Fi carriers will face disruption in data collection and require a different occupancy analytics provider if not bundled into Wi-Fi networks. And while IT may be more concerned with the security, HR considers user experience as it relates to operations and employee retention. When multiple services are bundled, finding a solution that satisfies all stakeholders becomes a delicate balancing act, and compromises may lead to dissatisfaction among key departments.

Migration Challenges:

Another significant downside of bundling Occupancy Analytics into the Wi-Fi network is the complexity of migrating to a different platform. As technology evolves and organizational needs change, CIOs may find it necessary to switch Wi-Fi providers. However, the more services bundled, the more intricate and challenging the migration process becomes. CIOs may find themselves straddling multiple Wi-Fi providers on one campus or across multiple regions or countries. This becomes problematic when attempting to understand occupancy across regions. 

This issue is particularly pertinent to CIOs who oversee organizations where different departments rely on Wi-Fi for diverse functions. Disentangling bundled services and transitioning to a new provider becomes a logistical nightmare, potentially causing disruptions and downtime. The longer an organization remains tethered to a bundled service, the more challenging and costly the migration process becomes.

While the appeal of bundling services within a Wi-Fi network is evident, CIOs must exercise caution and consider the potential downsides. Limited flexibility, dependency on a single provider, stakeholder conflicts, and migration challenges are all significant concerns that can impact an organization’s overall efficiency and competitiveness.

In the complex ecosystem of modern businesses, the Wi-Fi network is not just an IT concern but a critical infrastructure that influences various stakeholders.

In the complex ecosystem of modern businesses, the Wi-Fi network is not just an IT concern but a critical infrastructure that influences various stakeholders. CIOs must carefully balance the advantages of bundling against the potential risks and be prepared to make strategic decisions that align with the organization’s long-term goals. By approaching Wi-Fi infrastructure decisions with foresight and a commitment to flexibility, CIOs can ensure that their organization remains agile and well-equipped to navigate the evolving landscape of technology.

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