London businesses can enjoy Vodafone Ultrafast 4g from the 29th August this year, with a further 12 cities benefiting before the end of 2013: Newcastle, Nottingham, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Bradford and Sheffield. The move is backed by a £900m fixed and mobile network investment, following the telecoms giant's recent £802m expenditure acquiring the widest portfolio of mobile spectrum.
But CEO Guy Laurence said speed was just the start. Vodafone promise productivity benefits from greater connectivity. Nottingham-based communications expert NT Voice and Data has been looking into how a business might leverage the power of a lightening-fast connection speed to supercharge their operations.
Their first tip is for businesses to explore cloud computing. Cloud computing makes sense for SMEs - by keeping their applications in the cloud, their server and software outlay is reduced, and only the space that is used gets charged for. Perfect for the cash-strapped growing enterprise. But internet speed can throw a spanner in the works. Expert Kent Roberts notes:
“It can be extremely time-consuming to transfer a large amount of data into or out of a cloud environment. It’s also possible that latency [the amount of time it takes for your computer to interact with the servers in the cloud] could be a major issue with cloud computing.”
With Ultrafast broadband, these concerns may be a thing of the past and it is expected that users will be able to access and use their apps in the cloud faster than ever before. They will also be able to use more applications at the same time, without slowing down.
VoIP solutions operate on a company’s data network, allowing for converged solutions that integrate voice services with the data network. In practical terms, this means unified communications delivering an enhanced customer and employee experience, while driving down business costs significantly. But many businesses are concerned about switching to VOIP, and this concern is routed in connection speed. With slower speeds, performance can be affected.
With ultrafast broadband, these concerns are redundant and this opens up a world of possibilities to businesses. Systems like Avaya's IP Office and Mitel's MiVoice deliver powerful features that support new ways of working - driving up efficiency and driving down costs.
The speed of our existing business connection limits both the pace at which we work and our creativity. Ultrafast broadband strips away the restraints that we have become used to. Now we can share ideas and information in seconds, and send huge files in minutes - even HD videos - without having to split them up. Meetings through video conferencing are now seamless and crystal clear, no fuzz, freezing or lag. Businesses can talk more, without increasing travel time or costs.
Ultrafast broadband also provides better support for remote workers: both homeworkers and employees that are on-the-go. Remote workers can use the same files as their in-office colleagues, as if they are sat next to each other, and with a VOIP solution implemented, they can take advantage of the same telephone system functionality as their in-office colleagues too.
For businesses not already employing homeworkers, there has never been a better time to give serious consideration to the possibilities that Ultrafast creates for them. Homeworking means less office space and facilities are needed as businesses expand. It enables businesses to increase their operating hours by employing workers in different time zones. It is possible to monitor workers' performance without having to be in the same room: recording, archiving and replaying calls, and even viewing what a worker is doing on their screen. While this technology has been possible for some time, Ultrafast greatly enhances the quality of the whole experience.
A giant step
The potential benefits of 4g to businesses are clear and the possibilities endless. But with other telecoms giants offering 4g too, is there a compelling reason to choose Vodafone? NT think so.
"Vodafone’s investment into Ultrafast 4g to date is unrivalled. They have devoted an incredible 426,000 'engineer hours' in preparation for its launch, spent more than £900m on the technology,and a further £802m in acquiring the widest portfolio of mobile spectrum. The latter included securing the crucial lowfrequency spectrum ensuring that Ultrafast 4g signal will travel further into buildings. Vodafone have further secured the high frequency spectrum, adding vital capacity where businesses need it most - for example in densely populated urban areas, and they own more of its fibre backbone than any other operators, having acquired more than 20,500km of fibre through the acquisition of Cable & Wireless Worldwide. Vodafone is an easy choice for speed, performance and reliability."
Nottingham-based NT Voice and Data Solutions is a leader in providing innovative telecommunications solutions to small, medium and large businesses.
Established for over 27 years, their impressive portfolio includes an award-winning solution for technology implemented at Nottingham's Queen's Medical Centre and the world-famous Trent Bridge Cricket Ground, and an innovative multi-site solution British Midlands International Airport.
NT's Mark Beardsley and Ross Woodward are available for comment on all telecommunications technology issues.
Telephone: 0800 980 7400
Fax: 0844 811 8764