The following post first appeared on Field Technologies Online, as is excerpted here with permission.
Like kids during the holidays, businesses are clamoring for the newest technology to hit the market. Carriers are doing their best to deliver by offering wireless connections that speed up processes, reduce paperwork, and connect people and physical assets securely so that enterprises can operate more efficiently. Such goodies are wrapped up in the form of 4G technology and data-sharing opportunities.
4G And LTE For On-The-Go Jobs
The most notable advancement in cellular connectivity this year has been the build-out of 4G and 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology. While LTE is called 4G, the former promises zippier speeds and improved performance in the future. Soon, all 4G will be LTE. These fast networks, combined with increasingly powerful mobile devices, enabling platforms, and enterprise applications, allow employees to work almost anywhere and make decisions much faster, resulting in significant productivity improvements. 4G networks offer companies — particularly those managing a team of mobile workers, like field techs — a way to tap into super-high-speed networks. And those high-speed wireless networks have the potential to be game-changers for field service operations. The ability to access streaming or live video opens up all sorts of opportunities for repair or installation jobs. A technician could call up a how-to video from a tablet to tackle a tough or unusual repair or use video conference to diagnose and fix a problem from afar.
“The mobile solutions used by businesses now extend well beyond email and calendars and offer access to corporate data and processes in a secure mobile environment,” says Mobeen Khan, executive director, advanced mobility solutions marketing, AT&T Business Solutions. “With 4G-enabled applications running on a smartphone or tablet, workers can accomplish all of the tasks they could on a PC — editing documents, sharing files, capturing signatures, processing payments, and securely accessing the company intranet.” LTE, the latest generation of mobile network technology, promises to revolutionize the use of data services on the move. According to analysts at research group Ovum, LTE delivers wireless data connectivity that can compete with fixed-line broadband services provided by DSL or cable. LTE’s primary objective is to enable operators to better and more cost-effectively transport the rapidly growing volume of mobile IP data traffic on their networks; 109 million LTE connections are expected worldwide by 2014.
“A strong, robust wireless network is increasingly important as wireless users want to access email quickly, upload multimedia, and collaborate with colleagues and customers — all on their smartphones,” says Todd Strohl, manager, business acquisition marketing, Sprint. “As carriers build out 4G LTE networks, the wireless experience will include expanded coverage, faster data speeds, better voice quality, and improved network reliability.”