Enterprise IT knows it’s coming: the tsunami of wireless data, video, and voice traffic. Cisco forecasts video to dominate IP traffic in the next few years. Today, companies are virtualizing data storage and moving as much of their business to IP as they can to help curtail the data deluge. On top of that, more employees work in a virtual or mobile environment, increasing the need for wireless communication. Enter 4G.
4G technology is indeed enterprise-ready, says Yankee Group. With its high speed and growing ubiquitous presence, 4G is the technology best positioned to handle the wireless voice, video, and data tsunami. Yet given all the debate surrounding 4G technologies (WiMAX and LTE), the technology itself is not the driving force behind the adoption of 4G – it is the applications and communications enabled by 4G.
In the Frost & Sullivan view, two of the main drivers for 4G technology among consumers are applications and massive data consumption via smartphones and other wireless communication devices. In fact, in one survey by Yankee Group, 83 percent of respondents said application selection most influenced their selection of device (over brand, hardware, or software).
For 4G to really take hold within enterprises, Yankee Group believes that 4G solutions will need to address industry-specific challenges. This is where 4G gets interesting – enabling enterprise applications.
Here are some of the 4G enterprise applications of the not-so-distant future:
Automobile: Videoconferencing, voice-enabled technology, and safety applications (i.e. sleepy-eye recognition, upcoming road hazard alert). In an interview with the CEO of Telemetria at wired.com, the car of the future will look more like a mobile office, but with integrated safety features. 4G makes this possible, with very positive implications for employees on the road or who are part of company fleets.
Transportation and security: Shipping and vehicle tracking, route tracking, digital signage and digital surveillance.
Healthcare: Remote patient monitoring and telemedicine, remote diagnostics and telemetry.
Retail: Remote store inspection and mobile check-out/customer service centers. Apple stores, for example, are considering doing away with traditional check-out centers, and instead empowering employees anywhere in the store with a single mobile device that can check out customers, accept payments, update inventory, capture customer data, and initiate service requests. All this could be done on the sales floor in a private area with the customer.
Commercial real estate: Using Android-based mobile phones, property inspectors can conduct site assessments, take photos and videos as needed, then transmit the information to the corporate real estate department, cutting inspection time in half.
Enterprise Networking: 4G technologies such as WiMAX are best addressing machine-to-machine (M2M) services and fixed-mobile broadband technology. Also, more enterprises are leveraging 4G technology to handle their mission-critical wireless data traffic, as well as backup services, redundancy during peak usage, and mobile workforce connectivity.
4G has indeed arrived.