This is Part 6 of a six-part interview series with FreeAxez CEO Earl Geertgens on the company’s history, Gridd, building design, cable management, the evolution of raised floors, and the future of flooring.
The Future of Flooring
Staying competitive in today’s fast-paced business environment means adapting swiftly to advancing technology.
No matter the size of an enterprise, technology has very tangible benefits that help make money and produce the results that customers demand.
It is FreeAxez’s mission to develop low profile, raised access flooring systems that serve the current cutting-edge technology and adapt to any future changes quickly and easily.
In the final installment of our conversation with Earl Geertgens, he discusses the outlook for the future of the adaptive cable management industry.
Interviewer: Describe examples of how FreeAxez continues to innovate and provide solutions with respect to next-generation products and systems.
Earl: Let me start at the beginning: Our floor was revolutionary in the beginning and continues to be so. Even 20 years later, there’s just nothing else like it.
As I had mentioned previously, Gridd was recognized in 2004 as the winner of a major prestigious event in Chicago called NeoCon. We won ‘Best of NeoCon Gold’ in the category of Building Technology. So, it was recognized at an international event that is all about corporate offices and corporate interiors. It’s a little bit like Best Picture at the Academy Awards, our winning “Best of Show” at that event.
Then ten years later, in 2014, we won ‘Best of NeoCon’ again for GriddPower in the same category: Building Technology.
Since that event, GriddPower has really taken our systems, product, and company to another level. Electricians and electrical engineers don’t have to re-engineer how they’re going to work inside the Gridd floor each and every time they do a project, because everything comes from the floor and the electrical system. There’s nobody pointing fingers at something being incompatible with something else. And that’s very advantageous to the end-user.
And then, just this year, we launched Gridd Mobile which enables you to see through the carpet—through the metal to find the wires using Augmented Reality. It’s obviously cutting edge and is not likely to be matched for a little while.
We have other products coming out soon, within the next couple of years.
Interviewer: What is the market for low profile cabling distribution systems?
Earl: When you consider the market opportunity to be in all office space—and here in North America, we’re probably not even approaching five percent—it’s huge. For instance, we do retail stores, universities, casinos, airports, broadcast recording studios and many more types of buildings. Corporate entities, large organizations, and even the footprint for real estate offices are changing. I don’t know if these are necessarily “shrinking,” per se, because of population growth. But the market is definitely one of these things where per employee, per company, those footprints are changing because of costs and other things like telecommuting.
FreeAxez lends itself right into those market changes because Gridd is flexible. You have organizations where people can reserve a seat in a certain spot to work in for the day. You just come in and take an available seat as opposed to being told, “this is your seat for the next three years.”
There’s so much potential for what we do. FreeAxez is really a play on saving time, because labor costs continue to rise. Our system’s costs don’t rise anywhere near as fast as labor costs do. We continue to provide that advantage, and it becomes much more practical for people to put our system in.
Interviewer: What do you mean when you say Gridd makes buildings “future-ready?”
Earl: When our system is installed in the building and new technology comes out, a client can literally implement that new technology without batting an eye, writing a big check or having to do a remodel. These are the most significant advantages.
When you talk about “future-ready,” many projects are fast-tracked now. Fast-tracking means a company is trying to save major amounts of time on a construction project. As a result, they start construction before they’re even done with the design. That means clients don’t have to have the last items selected yet—like the furniture—to implement Gridd into their plans; because, when it takes two years to construct a building, why not get the shell design right away and start building it?
When you know Gridd’s going to be in the floorspace, you don’t have to make the final decisions on where the concrete walls are going to go because our floor can allow the design to be fluid, even while construction is happening. Construction doesn’t have to stop; change orders are ridiculously expensive in construction. FreeAxez can seriously reduce the costs and instances of change orders.
No matter what kind of building or organization you have, the Gridd Low Profile Raised Access Floor Cable Management System is designed to be an effective solution, adaptable both to your needs and environment.
Contact FreeAxez today to learn more about Gridd.