It’s hard to find a bigger 4G supporter than Carlson, the Minneapolis-based hospitality company. Carlson’s IT manager for telecom, Phil McDonald actually jumped at the chance to start using 4G well before it was even rolled out at his company.
As he tells it, this is a big step toward building a leading-edge, wireless communications infrastructure for Carlson, which Sprint recently announced as a new customer.
Carlson will get 4G service later this year. But in advance of that rollout, the company took advantage of the opportunity to equip its traveling executives and others with HTC EVO 4G handsets so they can tap into 4G while traveling. Road warriors turn out to be perfect candidates for 4G.
Carlson is the company behind such well-known brands as Radisson, T.G.I. Friday’s, Country Inns & Suites, and Carlson Wagonlit Travel. It has operations in 150 countries, and more than 150,000 employees.
For now, the Carlson execs leverage 4G when they are traveling in one of the many U.S. markets where 4G is available. That list of markets keeps growing, on target to reach a population of 120 million by year’s end. But when 4G isn’t available, the phones are perfectly compatible with 3G, which as we all know is available pretty much everywhere.
McDonald anticipates smartphones becoming the default PCs for employees, cutting costs and improving productivity, and eventually allowing them to work anywhere. “Cutting the cord means we can cut a recurring charge for broadband from the phone company … if we want our folks to work remotely, we can provide an EVO or a mobile hotspot to let them work wirelessly and save the cost of installing a T1 or DSL line.”
McDonald also sees 4G as a backup to landline links at Carlson facilities; as soon as 4G is available at headquarters, he will put it to work, eliminating the need for wireless hotspots and wireline LANs. Eventually, he also sees the HTC EVO as a valuable tool for mobile videoconferencing and web conferencing among employees.
The EVO is definitely proving itself in the business world, as we talked about recently, and the reasons why are summed up quite nicely by McDonald: “The EVO lets our people run apps, talk at the same time in 4G or Wi-Fi coverage areas, and get things done in ways that previous wireless devices can’t match, and the one gig processor helps those apps run at speeds we’ve never seen before on a mobile phone.”