For the latest episode of The Cabling Podcast, Cabling Installation & Maintenance sat down for a 2-part talk with Matt Koch, chief information officer for Allbridge, a provider of an integrated property technology, i.e. proptech, platform for smart buildings that integrates functions for design and planning, engineering, installation, and managed services and support. Building industry segments served by Allbridge’s proptech platform and services include hospitality, mixed-use, multifamily and senior living.
With a background as an ISP systems engineer and network admin designing and building guest internet solutions for hotels, Koch was also previously a system administrator for Geneva OnLine, a regional ISP specializing in wireless broadband internet access, and worked as a system and network administrator consultant in the Silicon Valley for various companies, including Sun Microsystems and Uptilt. “I started my career climbing towers and running cable,” he notes, allowing CI&M to get the benefit of his perspective both as an ICT deployment executive, as well as someone who has worked in the installation field.
In Part 1 of the interview, CI&M starts by asking Koch (1:36) about 2023 prospects regarding what core connectivity elements Allbridge’s ICT system integrators and project managers are considering in terms of Ethernet, fiber-optic, wireless LAN and broadband networking options, and also power, in order to achieve a "full connectivity" smart property. Koch admits that while most of the growth in connectivity he’s seen lately has been in fiber-optics, it’s important for integrators and stakeholders to hold a “well-rounded” perspective, and that he’s feeling some hope for “still young” CBRS and private LTE wireless technologies in the field.
The discussion then turns to the federal funding and service provider outlook (3:33) and considerations for deploying fiber broadband infrastructure in buildings. “For us, being an ISP is not a core focus,” emphasizes Koch. “We really are about integrating, supporting, planning the technology, so it's important that we are well-paired with those last-mile providers.” CI&M then inquires (4:36) about the depth and particulars of Allbridge’s process for converging IT and OT elements of building operation. “As a proptech provider, I like to say we focus on anything that takes power on-property,” says Koch. “And as these technologies become more interconnected, as the building becomes a ‘smart building’, the network at its core become a utility; we refer to it as the Fourth Utility. In terms of ‘when’ in the process, the earlier that we can be involved, the more helpful we can be,” Koch adds (5:22).
The discussion moves onto the specifics (6:07) of Allbridge’s cabling and connectivity deployment practice. “We find it very important to be vertically integrated,” says Koch. “It helps in revisions and any designs in access point layout, camera placement – all those things are considered carefully.” Part 1 of the interview concludes by probing the topic of sustainability (7:25), in terms of benefits and challenges for building owners and designers.