Wireless in the built environment

Brought to you by The Radio Technology Group

The use of wireless devices in buildings has become ubiquitous, so it is increasingly important to understand the interactions between radio signals and the built environment.

Registration for this event is now closed.

About the event

This event delves deeper into the issues that arise as invisible radio signals swarm through physical surroundings.

With the help from keynote speakers with expertise in the field we will attempt to make sense of how radio propagation can be enhanced to ensure reliable wanted coverage, but also how it can be controlled to reduce the overlap between access points and reduce mutual interference. In some locations the objective may be to exclude radio signals to ensure security or to reduce disturbance caused by unwelcome interruptions. The meeting will culminate in an open forum to discuss practical implementations.

You can follow @cambwireless on Twitter and tweet about this event using #CWRadioTech.

Hosted by Bird & Bird

Bird & Bird is an international commercial law firm.

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Sponsored by Rohde and Schwarz

Rohde & Schwarz is one of the world's leading manufacturers of information and communications technology products for professional users.

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The information supplied below may be subject to change before the event.


Registration and networking with lunch


Introduction to Radio Technology SIG from John Haine, University of Bristol


Welcome from event host, Bird & Bird


Welcome from event sponsor, Lindsay Harris, Rohde & Schwarz


Wireless friendly energy efficient buildings; Richard Langley, Professor, University of Sheffield

This talk will look at the conflicts for creating wireless and energy efficient buildings. Models for signal propagation within a building will be compared. There will be a focus on reconfiguring buildings for wireless signal propagation and active techniques to achieve this. A case study on a Victorian house will be included.




Wireless communications and sensing in eHealth; Rob Piechocki, Senior Lecturer, University of Bristol

Public health systems in most developed countries face unprecedented financial pressures. For example, in the UK, ageing populations and spiralling costs of chronic conditions approach 70% the health budget. A completely different approach to the delivery of health services is needed to maintain financial sustainability. An expensive and high precision data capture in a hospital setting will need to be complemented by long term and low cost monitoring. In this talk I will explain the role low cost wireless ultra-low power sensors can pay in residential eHealth systems.




The impact of new energy efficient materials on wireless propagation into homes; Martin Ganley, Director, Smart Homes and Buildings, BRE

Building entry loss is an increasingly important parameter in link planning but is poorly characterised, partly due to the wide variability of building types. Data relating to domestic buildings is particularly poorly represented. In addition, the increased use of metallic-coated energy-efficient materials is likely to cause increased building losses. This recent study looks at the impact of these new materials and the variability due to different measurement methods.




Refreshments and networking


Building-friendly wireless vs. wireless-friendly buildings; Nick Johnson, CTO and Head of PLM, ip.access

Trends in building construction are tending to make them less and less friendly to traditional wireless coverage. The LEED standard, which is more and more the touchstone for modern building construction focuses on eco-friendliness and heat conservation. It’s true to say that, what’s good at keeping heat in, is also good at keeping radio out. Good news for in-building small cells, right? Well it ought to be, but rather than investing in multi-operator licensed radio small cells, end-users are voting with their feet with Wi-Fi as the default in-building wireless solution. Recent forecasts from Mobile Experts are showing promising growth in small cell shipments, but there’s a long way to go before small cells overtake WiFi as the in-building wireless technology of choice.
So, on the face of it, buildings are not particular friendly to small cells, and the only building friendly wireless is WiFi. But is that a sustainable future? Building owners are desperate for cellular coverage, and would take operator managed solutions, but can’t live with single-operator managed solutions. What’s next for in-building small cells, to make them properly building- and building-owner friendly?




Ensuring building design and materials support health services; Stephen Lowe, Knowledge Transfer Manager, The Knowledge Transfer Network, Modern Built Environment

Wireless is an essential element of many health and personal alarms systems. These have to work at all times and in every part of the building. Is there a conflict between the materials used to maximise building efficiency and the propagation of wireless?




Panel session with all speakers - chaired by John Haine, University of Bristol


Drinks reception


Event closes


Martin Ganley - Director, BRE Global

Nick Johnson - Chief Technical Officer, ip.access

Nick founded ip.access in 1999, and has been CTO ever since.  He was founding chair of the Radio and Physical Layer working group of the Small Cell Forum and the Innovation Architect in the Horizon2020/5G-PPP project SESAME.  He represents ip.access technically in its CBRS Alliance activities. Currently leading the Product And Technology group Nick is responsible for keeping ip.access at the leading edge of small cell innovation in its major markets. Nick is an inventor on 20-odd patents worldwide, has a PhD in Microwave Scanned Imaging Techniques from University College, London, and an MA in Physics from the University of Cambridge.

Stephen Lowe - Director, Broadband Wireless Association

SIG Champions

Mark Beach - Professor of Radio Systems Engineering , University of Bristol (Communication Systems & Networks Research Group)

Mark Beach received his PhD for research addressing the application of Smart Antenna techniques to GPS from the University of Bristol in 1989, where he subsequently joined as a member of academic staff. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1996, Reader in 1998 and Professor in 2003. He was Head of the Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering from 2006 to 2010, then spearheaded Bristol’s hosting of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Communications . He is the Co-Director of this centre. He leads research in the field of enabling technologies for the delivery of 5G and beyond wireless connectivity; which includes the recent award of an EPSRC Prosperity Partnership in the field of Secure Wireless Agile Networks (SWAN). Mark’s current research activities are delivered through the Communication Systems and Networks Group, forming a key component within Bristol’s Smart Internet Lab. He has over 30 years of physical layer wireless research embracing the application of Spread Spectrum technology for cellular systems, adaptive or smart antenna for capacity and range extension in wireless networks, MIMO aided connectivity for through-put enhancement, experimental evaluation and optimization of Massive MIMO, Millimetre Wave technologies as well as flexible RF technologies for SDR modems. With a strong industrially focused research portfolio, he is also the School Research Impact Director. 

Brian Collins - Managing Consultant, BSC Associates

Brian has designed antennas for applications including radio and TV broadcasting, base stations, handsets and consumer products, and has operated his own consultancy firm for the last 12 years. He has published more than 70 papers on antenna topics and contributed chapters to several recent textbooks. He operates a small consultancy company, chairs the Antenna Interface Standards Group and is an Honorary Visiting Professor in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary, University of London.

Peter Relph - Consultant, PA Consulting Group

Peter Relph has worked in the wireless industry for 30 years and spent the last 22 years as a radio systems engineer with PA Consulting Group. He originally graduated from UCL in Electronics with Optoelectronics and since then has decreased his operating frequency, working on mm-wave radar systems at Philips Research, then a broad range of industries and applications with PA. His recent focus has been on cellular systems wider experience with satellite, Wifi, modern IoT and bespoke communications systems. Professional interests range from propagation modelling, RF system design and physical layer processing.

Vidhya Sridhar - Consultant, TTP plc

Vidhya Sridhar is a consultant at The Technology Partnership (TTP) Plc. She has a background in digital signal processing and physical layer design and development. In her PhD at Imperial College London, she carried out research on array signal processing techniques with applications in 5G and defence. Prior to her PhD, she spent three years working on physical layer design and development in LTE and WiMAX at Broadcom (India) and Alcatel Lucent (India) respectively.

Peter Topham - Principal Engineer, Qualcomm Technologies International

Peter has more than 30 years experience of RF and high-speed circuit design, taking chips into production ranging from FM Band II through cellular, Bluetooth and on to UWB at 10GHz. He has been with Qualcomm for 7 years, specialising in low-power RF design for portable and wearable products.

Event Location

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Location info

Bird & Bird LLP, 15 Fetter Lane, London, EC4A 1JP

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