Our First International Project Was A Jolly Good ShowRead Story
Cell phone connectivity has become known as the “fourth utility” in the building world and residents of high-end apartment towers are increasingly demanding the kind of reliable, consistent service that our repeater systems provide.
Our latest such endeavor was at the Ardan in downtown Dallas. The Ardan is an upscale high rise owned by Forest City Development. Like many developers, forest City has had some unsavory experiences with cell booster systems in the past so they hired us to do a “sample” system on one level as a test before committing to the entire building. They asked us to do the first floor which accommodates their sales offices, amenities and one floor of the parking garage.
Normally we do installations during the construction process but the Ardan is a completed, fully operational building with owner-occupants and staff so we needed to be especially unobtrusive and discreet during our installation. This was a challenge in a couple of areas.
First, in the garage, we were dealing with flawlessly finished, 35-foot, concrete ceilings that we didn’t want to mar with a bunch of unsightly wires. Our solution was to rent a scissor lift and secure conduit to the ceiling via concrete anchors. We ran the conduit to central junction boxes, about 10″ x 10″each, then mounted our domes on the underside of the boxes. As you can see – or more accurately, NOT see – in the photos below, we did a very good job of hiding our conduit and domes. We made sure our system blended seamlessly with the existing structure.
The second challenge was due to the interesting architectural features of the hallways. The ceiling of the hallway steps up and then back down four inches in 12-foot intervals, which allows for some cool LED lighting strips and again, adds an interesting visual detail to the hallways. It also added an element of “where are we gonna put these things?” for us. We opted to put the access panels and domes in the portions of the ceiling that were lowered because installing them in the raised portions would have caused the LED lighting to basically ‘spotlight’ the domes and would have created ugly shadows to boot.
Forest City’s management was amazed that we had the foresight and thoughtfulness to consider those kind of aesthetics in our installation but hey, that’s just how we roll.
Once we had the Ardan’s sample system up and running, they asked if we could please cover one more spot. The Ardan had recently provided all of their maintenance staff with company cell phones so staff members wouldn’t have to use their personal phones when answering service calls. And then they quickly discovered that the maintenance office — a concrete structure in the back corner of the parking garage — had zero cell phone coverage. Illuminati Labs to the rescue! In a couple hours’ time the maintenance office had full cell phone coverage and both staff and residents were delighted with our system.
Needless to say, Forest City Development has requested a proposal for coverage in the rest of the building and we are happy to help!