With a great deal of the 4G buzz emphasising the consumer, the benefits to businesses can sometimes get overlooked. So ahead of our summer launch, I wanted to share my views on what 4G means for business.

One coverage commitment

Now the spectrum sale is behind us, we’re putting the pieces in place to ensure we meet our legal obligation to provide 4G services to 98% of the population by the end of 2017. Our wise investment means we’re aiming to deliver up to two years early. In fact we’re going one better, integrating O2 Wifi, improving 3G speeds and adding 4G to create a seamless high performance experience for our customers. You might not even be aware that the work is already happening around you – I’m now seeing cellular technology  appearing in all kinds of everyday objects, like lighting columns and street signs.

Business on the move

One thing I frequently hear from businesses is the need for greater collaboration – which 4G will excel at. Whether it’s video conferencing, file sharing or Lync.

From my own experience working out on the road, I know that staying in touch with colleagues back in the office is critical.

4G technology will also help to eliminate slow downloads and uploads – and frozen screen buffering – which will also make my life easier when I’m out and about.

Money, money, money

The improved connectivity of 4G allows your people to collaborate even more on a local and global level. More than that, it could also save your business cash as you can now roll out a virtual desktop on personally-owned devices, as well as equipment owned by your organisation. This helps you reduce the number of licenses needed for individual machines. There will be security benefits too, as there will be less need to save files onto individual devices. So there’s no excuse for data to reside outside the network anymore.

And, with 4G-enabled smart devices, people will be more likely to use their own technology at work, giving them a better connection with colleagues and customers.

Seeing is believing

I’m also confident that because information can be shared in real-time, its accuracy will improve. 4G opens up the prospect of giving everyone access to ‘remote experts’. For example, householders can send videos of a faulty boiler direct to an expert. They can tell what needs to be done before an engineer is sent out. The cost of customer service will fall, while the quality of the response will improve.

Next steps

Thanks to our partnership with Vodafone, we’ll be able to roll out our 4G network faster than we’ve ever been able to roll out services in the past. While we’re rolling out, it’s worth starting to prepare your business for 4G. I’d recommend developing a two to three year 4G strategy – including plans for how your people will work remotely and whether they will use their own kit.

To find out what 4G could do for your business, visit http://www.o2.co.uk/business/why-o2/network/4g

The 4G service will be available in areas with 4G coverage when we launch it. 4G speed will vary depending on location and number of people using the service. Potential speed claim based on Ofcom: consumers.ofcom.org.uk/what-is-4g

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