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It’s been a busy time for proponents of 4G networks in the UK, but will 4G be revealed as a proverbial “naked Emperor” that creates nothing at all for great expense? Or could it have a significant impact on the way organizations and their employees do their jobs?
With the announcement of the country’s first mobile LTE network followed swiftly by the much-hyped iPhone 5 launch event, it’s clear that the prospect of widespread deployment and use of 4G networks has gone from a distant speck on the horizon to a clear and present consideration for many. However, despite the chatter volume being turned up to 11 on the topic of 4G, very few businesses have had the time to evaluate the virtues of adopting this new generation of mobile technology. It’s perhaps worth pausing for thought and asking what the real effect of broadband-speed mobile networks will be on British businesses.
The business use of these networks will be largely defined by the range of applications that are made available to users of 4G enabled devices. After all, even though mobile handsets can plug into the fastest networks available, without the necessary applications, any increase in speed is largely redundant. With this in mind, what business applications will we start to see more of, and how can they help to give organizations a competitive edge?
In my view, the greatest benefit for mobile 4G business applications will come from an increase in the number of video streaming applications. As a direct result of networks being able to handle greater quantities of information, we could see greater demand for the development of more data intensive applications, which could pave the way for video conferencing and live streaming of events on mobile devices becoming commonplace. Enterprises may soon be able to arm employees with handsets and data plans capable of allowing them to attend all-important meetings regardless of location.
The benefits that 4G enabled business applications offer could go beyond the use of extensive, data heavy applications. Indeed, where most businesses could see more tangible benefit is in the state of an interaction between the mobile application and the back-end of their business processes. However, these applications should, in an ideal world, build upon existing business application platforms – not replace those that are already in place. The watchword should be evolution, rather than the revolution of rip-and-replace, if costs are to be minimized.
This new breed of business applications will, undoubtedly, enable organizations to become more responsive and it will help them in their decision-making. Furthermore, applications designed to connect to business processes could significantly improve the time it takes for businesses to access data and make decisions as a result.
Nevertheless, it seems clear that 4G networks, along with a proliferation of the number of handsets that are capable of utilizing the technology could see significant changes to the way businesses operate in the coming years. It’s a future that will be driven not only by the speed of the networks but also how sophisticated the applications are that are built to support them and how quickly and efficiently they can be rolled out. It’s an exciting time to be involved in application development and a 4G network could prove itself to be an Emperor in a very sharp suit indeed.
Gary is responsible for developing go-to-market strategies, providing technical marketing support and developing best practice materials for the Rollbase aPaaS platform.
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