by Jason Wells, VP and GM EMEA at Cradlepoint
It’s easy to assume that wireless internet connectivity is reaching saturation point. With nearly nine billion wireless connections already in place around the world, many countries have gone way beyond the stage of simply having more than one mobile device per person.
But for the future of work, this is only a chapter in the story. Wireless internet connectivity is extending to vehicles, remote sites and a whole range of new devices that make up the internet of things (IoT).
The impact of this will be enormous. Gartner forecasts that 14.2 billion connected “things” will be in use this year, and that that total will further increase to 25 billion by 2021.
As diverse as these applications are, what many of them have in common is that they will need to use the wireless internet. So, for every business, this massive new wave of wireless connectivity raises an important question: what more can wireless do for me?
Better, faster, stronger
The answer is much more. Wireless connectivity technology – in the form of 4G LTE – has developed rapidly in recent years. Gigabit LTE now offers speeds far exceeding those provided by wired connections, and this will continue to improve as we move along the pathway to 5G.
Carriers are constantly upgrading their networks to deliver faster speeds and even greater reliability. 4G LTE networks are more resilient than ever, and even in the most extreme situations, as in cases of natural disaster, they are the best option for creating flexible, immediate connectivity.
But, for evidence of our wireless working future, we only need look at the retail, healthcare and public sectors, where the proliferation of wireless connectivity and IoT is helping organisations collect and leverage data more effectively, streamline operations, reduce cost and improve customer service.
Cities around the world are leading the charge on wireless connectivity and IoT, with smart city initiatives using 4G LTE to improve the efficiency of many city functions, including emergency services, traffic management, energy conservation, utility monitoring and security. This drive towards increased connectivity is providing a better quality of life for citizens while reducing the cost of city services and infrastructure.
Pathway to 5G
The arrival of 5G is poised to accelerate the development and adoption of many new technologies. As we move further down the pathway to 5G – and wireless connectivity continues to improve – more organisations will find new and innovative ways of bringing people and data together.
Many will create entirely new business models beyond our current thinking. Consider this – in 2006, before the birth of 4G LTE, how many of us had imagined Uber or Snapchat? We are on the verge of a similar – and likely more revolutionary – jump in wireless technology applications.
It’s not simply about faster connectivity speeds or better reliability – it’s the potential 5G offers for transporting intelligence. The real question is what can the wireless internet do for me? For a technology that is already shaping our lives – those who can answer this question will be the architects of the future.