A glass office complex on Lake Zurich is a pioneering example of the working world of the future: Swiss Re Next. Here reinsurer Swiss Re is implementing the agile working concept. It does away with the traditional rigid structures of office activity and makes it mobile. Assigned desks have been replaced by home bases and user-friendly docking stations for laptops, tablets and smartphones.

The insurance and financial experts enjoy new opportunities to be even more productive with the help of digitalization, and thus feel even more at ease at work. The architecturally eye-catching complex with a facade of glass waves also features highly intelligent building automation. Nobody here has to switch the lights on or off manually. Energy consumption is 80 % lower per workspace than in conventional office buildings.

The employees moved into the new building in the fall of 2017. Since then they have been gathering valuable experience with the next generation workplace. Findings from the project are also of help at the new Swiss Re site in India (see info box). In both cases, the LAN cabling solution from R&M forms the backbone for the networking of workstations and building technology.

Standard solutions fit the bill

Swiss Re had defined a range of important infrastructure requirements. The reinsurer needed and expected absolute operational reliability. Performance headroom had to be included in the equation for mobile working, data and video transmission. Above all, the customer required full WLAN coverage on all six floors.

Power over Ethernet (PoE) was used to supply power to antennas, end devices and controllers. Numerous technical connections and separate cabling had to be integrated for security systems, access control and the numerous functions of digitized building automation.

Custom-made by R&M for Swiss Re Next: compact DDS outlets in the desks.

«The project went off smoothly implementing almost exclusively standard solutions from R&M for the structured cabling of office buildings,» says Thomas Läderach, project lead at installation partner AZ Elektro AG. The project partners selected the tried and tested combination of FO backbone and horizontal copper cabling. The video technology was connected to the FO infrastructure for two reasons: to provide the necessary transmission capacity and to take the pressure off the IT network. Swiss Re operates a state-of-theart TV studio in the new building and requires high bandwidths for moving image transmission and video streaming. The FO network can be extended to suit requirements.

Compact outlet developed

R&M is always open to improvements. The company takes the opinions of an installer seriously.

Thomas Läderach, project lead at AZ Elektro

«An important question was how many and which connectors we needed for the docking stations,» says Christian Zürrer from Swiss Re of a further challenge. The project lead for building technology reports: «The connection solution had to be as slim-line as possible and fit in the raceways in the desks.» But the connectors also had to be easy to operate. R&M quickly developed a customized compact desk distributor strip (DDS) outlet with six power and four LAN connectors.

From left to right: Christian Zürrer, project lead building technology, Swiss Re; Beat Stucki, R&M Switzerland, Thomas Läderach, project lead AZ Elektro AG

Christian Zürrer on his experience with R&M’s customizing: «We quickly approved the concept. We would never have been able to put anything else comparable into place as quickly.» Swiss Re values the partnership the company has enjoyed with R&M for years. As Christian Zürrer says: «Never change a winning partnership». Thomas Läderach agrees: «AZ Elektro has enjoyed excellent collaboration with R&M for years now. The range suits us. R&M is always open to improvements and the company takes the opinions of an installer seriously.» With the cabling system from R&M, Swiss Re has a stable, future-proof and cost-efficient infrastructure. Moreover, the R&M copper distributor VS Modular also proved its worth once more in the project. It enabled telecommunication on the construction site.

At the end, R&M verified that the FO cabling met all the standards. «The service was perfect for us and the customer. R&M documented the results of the OTDR measurements, confirmed the quality of our installation and then issued the 25-year system warranty,» says Thomas Läderach.

Christian Zürrer confirms: «The installation was a job well done. AZ Elektro sets great store by that and we really appreciate it».