Airports are going through a revolution similar to offices.Instead of simply installing banks of seats at gates, airports are beginning to think about different uses for different areas, depending on how long the traveler will be in the space.
Airports face a unique challenge. Many were built at a time when air travelers didn’t need to power and charge mobile devices and laptops, so there are very few facilities that have enough outlets to fuel the insatiable demand of today’s traveler.
To make matters worse, airports are built using concrete, which means brining power to each gate is difficult without drilling through the floor or taking a jackhammer to it. And even in new terminals where plenty of power is being installed, getting the power those last few feet from the wall to the furniture can be tricky.
A good example of the issue facing power-hungry travelers and the companies that try to feed them can be found at the Pittsburgh International Airport, where Connectrac brought connectivity to the travelers through furniture from Arconas.
According to Connectrac, Pittsburgh International Airport wanted to install cable management throughout its C concourse international departure gates. The project would provide power to all seating within the concourse, and the airport wanted an effective solution at a low cost.
“it’s very hard to run lines and conduit within our infrastructure because of the concrete foundation.” says Richard Beloit, vice president of planning. “We were looking for a solution that would give us flexibility.”
The airport turned to Connectrac for help. Using a blend of Arconas furniture and Cumberland soft seating, the airport installed Connectrac Under-Carpet Wireways underneath all terminal chairs and standing charging stations. The solution gelled perfectly with the concourse’s primarily concrete foundation.
Carpet tiles were delivered after the Connectrac Installation laid seamlessly over the wire ways. The result was an entire concourse with the power access to all customers. Moving forward, the Pittsburgh International Airport looks to add more Connectrac to its A and B concourses.
ThenPittsburgh International Airport was revolutionary when it opened in 1992. The current design was built almost exclusively to specifications called for by US Airways, which at the time used Pittsburgh as a major connecting hub that ranked among the nation’s busiest. The airport’s four-passenger concourses were laid out like an X, giving connecting fliers a relatively short walk between gates – no matter which concourse they arrived to and departed from.
At the center of the “X” was the Airmall, a mall like operation that offered food and retail options. Though the concept has been widely emulated since, it was an unrest concept for U.S. airports when it debuted in 1992. The new terminal proved popular among fliers, both local and connecting.
No matter how visionary, no one could have predicted the need for power in the modern airport, says Pablo Reich, executive vice presidentt at Anconas. When electrical planning was done, no one had the foresight that all seating would need power,” he says. “Even at airports done 10-20 years ago, there wasn’t that need for power. They might have power near the columns but not with enough outlets to power the chairs.”
There are multiple options: The airport can “core” the floors and deploy the power, but that is extremely expensive and disruptive to travel. The other is to find an elegant solution like Connectrac to provide power to the room.
“a lot of our clients are using the Connectrac solutions to extend the power in a safe and discreet way,” Reich says. ” I distinctly recall the first questions about power at Atlanta Hatfield Airport in 2004. There main interest was to power laptops. Back then phones were not as power hungry.
“Today, when you talk to any airport about power, the question is not the need to provide power, but the percentage of the airport they want to power. And it’s not just for the seats. There are now communal table that are being installed, and all those need to plug in.”
Airports are going through a revolution similar to offices.Instead of simply installing banks of seats at gates, airports are beginning to think about different uses for different areas, depending on how long the traveler will be in the space. For example, airports are finding the needs of the business traveler are far different in terms of power compered to a couple who might be on vacation. The needs for travelers on domestic flights who might make a quick stop at a gate are different from those preparing for an international flight that might sit at the gate for long periods.
“There is a trend in the industry to create more passenger segmentation,” Reich says. “And there is more of a need for power.”
Indeed, the power needed at airports is expected to continue unabated. The compound rate of passenger growth i 4 percent a year. That means about every 15 years or so, the number of passengers will double. And it’s true not for domestic airports, but internationally as well.
When planning for that, power needs to be planned as well, and companies like Conectrac and Anconas are leading the way. “We found the Connectrac solution works very well,” Reich says. “There is no tripping hazard, it’s discrete, and it is safe. It is great those last few feet of cabling. That’s the biggest challenge.”
Connectrac has been growing ever since the company was founded in Dallas in 2005. Clint Strong, the founder and liscenced architect, launched the company when he was inspired to solve problems he regularly encountered while working as an architect working on corporate interiors projects. It was a privately owned company with representatives throughout the U.S. and Canada. It sells products through electrical distributors, AV channels, contract furniture dealers and others throughout the world. Its customers include corporations, government agencies, schools and universities.
The company believes its Connectrac Wireways are the best floor-based cable management solution for bringing power, data and communications from the wall to all interior commercial applications. According to a recent RSMeans study, Connectrac saves facility directors and electrical engineers 50 percent or amor compared to core drilling or trenching in new construction or retrofitting older buildings for technology access.
The Connectrac Under-Carpet Wireway is its lowest-profile Wireway that allows for any carpet tile to be laid over it, making it virtually invisible. The Connectrac On-Floor Wireway is for workspace environments where the lowest possible cost, design and floor accessibility are the driving factors. It installs on top of any flooring, including concrete and wood.