People Want Cell Service in the Weirdest Places

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People want cell service in the weirdest places. Sure, you want coverage in the underground parking garage or the bathroom — who doesn’t want to take a quick perusal of Instagram while on the potty? But did you ever think of needing cell phone coverage in a walk-in freezer or a trash room? Yeah, us either. Until we did a couple very educational installs.

The Pilot Flying J Travel Center in Grand Junction, CO is a HUGE truck stop with showers, a post office, a truck repair center, a laundromat, convenience store, and a restaurant and we put cell coverage everywhere. So we thought.

When we finished the install and were turning it over to the manager, he asked us if we had provided coverage in the walk-in freezer. Ummmm … no? Turns out that when places with freezers get robbed, the robbers will often imprison the employees in the freezer. This gives them the freedom to rob the place unfettered because a freezer is a giant metal, signal-blocking box, like a Faraday cage.

Once the manager explained this to us, it was obvious that the freezer would need a dedicated dome for the sake of employee safety. Thanks to Pilot Travel Center, we now know to include a dome in every freezer we come across on a project.

Another employee-centered lesson was learned at The Urby in Jersey City (see Topsy Turvy on Top of the Urby) which is an upscale high-rise apartment building. At ground level, there is a room where all the trash from all 72 floors of apartment dwellers gets dumped before being escorted out to the dumpsters by the round-the-clock trash room attendants. When there was no cell coverage in the trash room, the turnover rate for attendants was staggering. It was hard to tolerate the isolation and boredom. The Urby requested a dedicated cell dome in the trash room so the attendants could communicate with the outside world and most importantly, stream music or television. The attendants were much happier and turnover decreased thanks to a simple cell phone repeater system.

We were impressed by the forward-thinking management at both of these places and grateful for the lessons that we can now apply to future projects.