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Challenges in Cable Management

March 5, 2020 | Cable Management

Connectivity is integral for any organization that wants to stay competitive and communicate effectively. Connectivity enables an organization to make mission-critical determinations daily. Organizations use different types of cabling solutions depending on their data and power requirements. Whether it be an all-copper installation, an all-fiber installation or some other kind of installation, cable management efficiency is crucial for making sure your cable meets your needs.

Failure to correctly install and maintain this integral component of modern office infrastructure can cause technical problems, including increased operational costs, expensive and possibly harmful outages. Needless to say, cable management must not be an afterthought. Listed here are some of the challenges of cable management efficiency many organizations are facing in today’s technology-focused environment.

What Is Cable Management

Cable management is defined as the management of electrical and/or telecommunication cables. The term is used by companies for their products or services, by anyone involved in or in charge of planning, installing, and maintaining IT infrastructures. Cables become tangled easily if not properly managed, which may result in devices unexpectedly becoming unplugged as one attempts to move a cable. Poorly managed cables can hinder operational efficiency and when your power and information needs are on the line, there’s no room to mess around. Well managed cables help keep your business running smooth.

Excellent cable management starts at the planning phase of space renovation or new construction and continues throughout the lifespan of the operation; it helps to support and contain cables during the installation process so subsequent maintenance and/or changes to the cable infrastructure are easier.

Why has cable management become such a hot topic throughout the last few years?

Cable management has peaked the interest of many organizations over recent years due to issues they’re facing such as future-proofing, sustainability, technology upgrades, meeting ADA compliance, and designing transformative office fit-outs.

Why is cable management so important?

Cable management is important for several reasons:

  • Ease of use. Good cable management provides organizations suitable access to power and telecommunication cables, as well as any other devices supporting the information technology (IT) infrastructure.
  • Aesthetically pleasing. Cable management creates a visually pleasing and clean work environment.
  • Maintain basic functionality. Unorganized wires potentially restrict the airflow to devices and prevent them from cooling adequately. Additionally, poorly managed cables tend to become damaged more easily, which affects connectivity, and hampers routine maintenance.
  • Fire safety. Unorganized cables can be hazardous in the case of a fire emergency
  • Trip hazard. Tangled and mismanaged cables create dangerous trip hazards, resulting in possible liability if someone is injured.
  • Simplifies troubleshooting. Troubleshooting a network or device requires IT technicians to test data cables to see whether or not it’s in working condition. Uncomplicated tasks such as this become complex ordeals when cables are not properly managed.

Why Cable Management Efficiency and Aesthetics Sometimes Seem at Odds

For those in the new construction and building renovation sectors, installing cables for a new in-building wireless network or upgrading an existing one can be burdensome to install and complicated to manage. Demand for higher performance and an expanding list of connected devices on a single network make cable installation and cable management more important than ever. Cabling makes up the foundation of any network and, thus, must be something that is properly mapped out during the planning phase of any architectural project.

Common issues many modern offices are facing are cable mismanagement and outdated design. Often times, with so many cables and wires serving massive data and power needs, management can become untenable with antiquated methods such as cable trays or ladders. In addition to this capacity problem, there’s also the issue of balancing your operational efficiency with the aesthetics of a space. Older methods of cable management can restrict your space’s look with eyesores such as power poles or messy floor cabling. A competitive modern office needs to be able to keep up with the data and power capacity needs that essential technology demands, while also accounting for proper management and aesthetic consideration for your space.

Cubicle Farms: Outdated and Inflexible

In the early 1960s, a designer named Robert Propst became among the first of his kind to put forth the argument that office work was mostly mental work. According to Propst, environmental conditions affected an individual’s physical abilities—whether negative or positive. Unlike traditional office designs of that era which were designed to keep employees in their place, Prompst’s Action Office was designed to keep employees on the move. Somehow he figured that stylized spaces were “less forgiving” and prevented office spaces from being adaptable according to technological advances.

However, as more and more copycat Action Offices hit the market and were installed in workplaces everywhere, the copycats started to have an unexpected effect on office spaces in general: rather than adaptability and flexibility, offices became even more regimented than before.

It was during this period of time when the cubicle farm was accidentally born. In haste to outsell one another, rival furniture companies such as Haworth designed plans that were theoretically “flexible” but wound up overlooking things like vertical elevation. So, rather than freeing people as Robert Propst had envisioned, Haworth and others like it imprisoned people in 70-inch fabric-wrapped walls, making them feel as if they were autonomous human performers.

The Ever-Changing Open Floor Plan

In October 2001, Cheni Yerushalmi and Joe Raby, founders of Sunshine Suites, conceptualized coworking and coworking spaces. Over the years, some market analysis revealed the number of coworking spaces has nearly doubled annually since 2006. Shared coworking spaces are attractive alternatives to freelancers, startups, independent designers, independent contractors, and many others. With more Millennials and Gen Z’ers choosing to work in collective, tech-friendly coworking spaces, names like Assemble and WeWork are growing exponentially.

As the term suggests, these coworking spaces usually feature open floor plans, which can be a great challenge when it comes to aesthetics and effective cable management. Additionally, there is the issue of adaptability: professionals working in open floor workspaces require accommodations for various tech needs, want to enjoy workspace variation, and expect a tidy environment to work in.

Gridd® Facilitates Flexibility and Adaptability

In our article Evolution of Flooring Systems, we related how the Ancient Romans introduced the world to raised heated stone floors, which made floors functional. In the 1960s IBM added serviceability and flexibility to the functionality of the raised floor. IBM’s raised access floor allowed technicians quick and easy access to the cables that powered its System/360 and 370.

Today, we’ve entered a new era where raised floors must be adaptive. It’s not solely about cable management any longer – it’s also about building workspaces with more than just efficiency, they have to be aesthetically pleasing too. There might have been a time when aesthetics and efficiency were inherently at odds with one another in terms of designing and constructing places for people to work. Nevertheless, people expect much more from their workspaces—rather they demand it.

FreeAzex® has been a leader in the raised flooring industry for 25 years. Our team has developed new low profile access floor systems and other interrelated products that accommodate changing technology and adapt to future changes quickly. FreeAxez® is widely recognized as being the premium innovator, developer, and manufacturer of adaptive cabling distribution systems.

This is why you can find Gridd® in the offices of the world’s top Fortune 500 companies, in universities, law enforcement facilities, broadcast studios, and a long list of other high profile clients. If you would like to learn more about this subject or have questions about how Gridd® can help your organization expand well beyond tomorrow, contact us today!

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