Converged Networks

Converged Networks: Impact For Facility Management

By Zackery House  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: This PagePt. 2: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Near-Field Communication Offer Advantages For Facility Managers

In today's business environment, facility managers must be able to find ways to take advantage of technology to increase productivity, enhance the capabilities of a mobile workforce, and reduce costs. Companies are relying more and more on technology to optimize their operations, enhance their real estate portfolios, and leverage costs (capital and operating) to gain market share. Converged networks, virtual desktop infrastructure, and near-field communication are some of the key technology trends that, if deployed properly, can make organizations more efficient and effective. Here is a look at how those trends can affect facility management.

Converged Networks

Networks are transforming the way that businesses and organizations operate. Wireless, VoIP, power over Ethernet, and converged networks are rapidly becoming widely adopted throughout the corporate environment.

The integration of voice, data, and video into a single network — the converged network — is transforming building infrastructures and optimizing space. Because a single network can be deployed to cover these once disparate systems, many companies are seeing a decrease in the amount of IT closet space (main and intermediate distribution frames), power, and cooling required to operate these systems. This will allow the facility manager to use the space to add seating for new employees in an office or sales space in a retail store, for example.

Wireless networks give employees the flexibility to be mobile within the workspace and increase collaboration. Many companies are taking advantage of the additional bandwidth requirements that have been developed with new wireless technology.

The additional bandwidth provided by today's wireless networks reduces the need for structured cabling to support the connectivity requirements of the user, thus providing capital savings on initial construction costs.

Another benefit is smaller cable tray installation, which reduces the amount of ceiling space clutter, reduces overall material consumption, and provides for better airflow in a plenum air return.

Power over Ethernet (POE) uses a single cable to transmit power, control, and data; traditionally these have been accomplished using three different cables. POE has advanced to supply additional power at the workstation to support a user's monitor at the desktop, IP camera for security monitoring, a VoIP telephone, and a wireless access point to provide wireless data.

Advantages of deploying POE throughout the workspace include the reduction in cost to install additional electrical cable and the ability to manage monitors and other devices through the IT network.

Study Projects Cost Savings From Converged Network

A Midwest educational services company was planning to consolidate three locations into one 162,000-square-foot headquarters, with approximately 900 employees moving into nine floors. A total cost of ownership analysis compared the benefits and drawbacks of a converged network infrastructure with a traditional segmented network infrastructure.

The study showed that a converged network infrastructure, installed to the design documents, would minimize the number of installed data cables by 30 percent and the number of switches and racks required to support operations by 23 percent. What's more, it led to a significant reduction in anticipated power and cooling costs. The converged network infrastructure is expected to save $100,000 in maintenance costs alone in the first year of operation.

— Zackery House

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Converged Networks: Impact For Facility Management

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Near-Field Communication Offer Advantages For Facility Managers

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  posted on 11/3/2014   Article Use Policy

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