5th February 2021Back To News
Mobile phones have come a long way since the days of the Nokia 3310, when having a choice of ringtones and the ability to play ‘Snake’ were impressive technological features.Having access to the internet on our phones isn’t a luxury anymore. It is vital, especially for business. Mobile technology has evolved a lot over the last 20 years and the development of 5G is going to have a significant impact on business communications, both internally with employees and externally with existing and potential clientele. You may be forgiven for thinking that the only benefit of 5G is faster download speeds. The reality is this new technology has the potential to completely change the digital infrastructure of the UK by allowing more advanced communication options and helping to further develop state-of-the-art innovations like virtual reality.
As technology has advanced, businesses have had to invest more time and money in their digital communication in order to effectively stay connected with their customers, liaise with employees and promote their business. With more businesses becoming digital, it is important to be informed about emerging technology like 5G and how to use it to your advantage. So, let’s discover what 5G is and how it could transform your business communication.
In the 2000s, the development of 3G (Third Generation) technology allowed the mobile phone to become more than just a vehicle for voice and text message communication. The ability to browse the internet and receive online communication, whilst on the go, was revolutionary. It made technology that was usually shackled to the PC, portable and more accessible.
4G (Fourth Generation) technology was developed in the 2010s and has transformed how we use our mobile phones. Most of the marketing we encounter is digital through the rise in social media, email marketing and video advertising, which has all been made possible through 4G technology. We have so many channels to utilise for communication from video chat to online messaging. In the past, the only options customers had in order to contact a company were phone calls, emails or letters. Now, it isn’t unusual for a customer to contact businesses through direct messages or comments on social media. Thanks to faster download speeds, the rise in mobile applications has been a monumental asset to businesses. As well as providing opportunities for communication, social media and mobile applications also allow businesses to gather analytics data which can help to improve further communication with customers. At this point in time, you may think that there isn’t much left that we are unable to do from our mobile phones and you would probably be right if 5G (Fifth Generation) technology hadn’t arrived.
The potential of this technology is far greater than any other generation. 5G is capable of creating peak speeds of over 1 gigabyte per second. It provides more reliable connections which will decrease latency and greatly improve user experience. It can allow greater capacity which will accommodate large amounts of devices (we’re talking thousands) to be simultaneously connected without compromising speed or connectivity. This increased connectivity holds the potential for innovation in sectors such as healthcare, agriculture and industry. 5G can be used to create more technologically advanced workspaces and communication pathways in retail which could see the use of cutting-edge technologies like virtual and augmented reality being used more frequently.
As you can tell, 5G is a pretty big deal, but how is it different from its predecessor? It is better to think of 5G, as a completely new digital innovation rather than simply an upgrade from 4G. When mobile technology advanced from 3G to 4G, the main improvements were access to the internet and speed was improved from 2 megabytes per second to 100 megabytes per second. These sound like massive steps and they are, but when we compare the step up from 4G to 5G, it leaves these improvements in the dust. 5G is capable of connecting entire sectors, industries and cities and could provide the basis for brand new innovations, such as allowing junior surgeons to practise operating procedures via virtual reality. To summarise, 5G means faster internet speeds, larger capacity, low-latency responsiveness and better capability for the ‘Internet of Things’ compared with 4G.
What is the ‘Internet of Things’?
Simply put, it is a system of ‘things’ that are connected to the internet in order to send and receive information. The more things connected to the internet means more information that can be sent and received.
Confused? Let’s look at an example.
You can access pretty much any song in the world via your smartphone. Back in the day, before mobile internet connection was an accessible facility, we would have to rely on manually buying CDs and downloading them onto a device, such as a mobile phone or MP3 player. Now, all we need to do is install a music-streaming app and millions of songs are at our fingertips. This is great for us because we get access to music and it’s great for the business that developed the app because they can get real-time data on their product via the internet. Being connected in this way is incredibly important for business communication as it is a direct link between you and your customer and with 5G, this connection is made stronger, more reliable and more people will be connected to it in the future. Better and plentiful connections will help to create better digital capacity throughout society. This could result in the creation of smart cities, smart healthcare, smart transport and smart agriculture which will use digital technology to develop more effective processes, such as traffic control, medical treatments and farming equipment.
Effective communication, both internally and externally, is the heartbeat of any successful company. Lack of communication within your business can lead to mistakes, low employee morale, insufficient productivity and poor performance. Ineffective external communication can cause a lack of trust, negative customer experiences and can reflect badly on your business’ image and reputation. So, we’ve agreed that poor communication is bad, the question is how can 5G improve your business communication?
In general, faster and more reliable internet connections will revolutionise how your business’ internal activities operate, from website development to sales order processing, so that is one big benefit from 5G technology compared with 4G. 5G is capable of delivering fast speeds to a large capacity of devices, so you can have a reliable internet connection throughout your premises. If you have business mobile contracts, 5G will ensure you are connected to your business wherever you are. Whether you need to reply to an urgent email whilst on a train to a meeting or you need to video call your HR manager whilst on a business trip on the other side of the country, 5G can make communication seamless.
5G will also transform your external communications, as more and more people become connected due to the advantages of this technology. 5G will facilitate the creation of apps that are even more technologically advanced to really show off your business. Reaching out to collaborate with other brands, freelancers and businesses will be easier and could open up doors to international partnerships, that may not have been previously possible. 5G could also make it easier for potential customers to find your business, through improved location services and fewer performance issues on your website or apps. If your business is based in a busy area, you may be used to slow internet connections. This will be eradicated by 5G and would make a huge impact on businesses that are based in large cities and urban areas.
5G and Remote Working
The introduction of 5G has arrived simultaneously with the rise of remote working which will become even more common in the not-so-distant future. Issues with communication and lack of technology have meant that remote working was previously for the few rather than the many. This was largely due to businesses not possessing the required technology to make remote working possible. Improved speeds and reliable connectivity provided by 5G will be able to transform communication through ensuring online calls, messaging and video meetings are not interrupted by a slow and lagging internet connection. When 5G is rolled-out around the country, more areas will have improved capacity, which means your business, its employees and clients will all, eventually, have a similar level of improved connectivity. 5G and remote working would also benefit recruitment and staff retention. Finding the perfect staff for your business can be difficult when you are restrained by distance and there is nothing worse than losing a successful employee due to relocation. 5G could help create stable communication facilities through MPNs (Mobile Private Networks) and improve upload and download times, which means optimum productivity. In the future, we could be able to hold conference calls via virtual reality, thanks to 5G which could completely reshape your business’ working environment. This could be economically beneficial if you no longer have to rent office spaces and could improve employee morale without compromising productivity.
First of all, you’re going to need a device that is compatible with 5G. You can check your device settings to find this out. The data plan for that device also has to be compatible for 5G mobile data. Three of the most well-known network providers who are currently offering plans and devices that include 5G are:
If you want to know if 5G is available in your area, all three of these providers have a 5G ‘Coverage Checker’ on their website. It is worth noting that the roll-out of 5G is still in its early stages, so coverage may not be comprehensive in your area at the moment. It is recommended to check whether 5G is available in your area and how much coverage is available to you before purchasing a 5G phone or plan.
In a nutshell, yes. It isn’t really possible to use modern smart devices today without 4G and this will be the case with 5G in the future. Devices will have advanced, which means they either won’t be compatible or will be unable to function effectively with 4G. Although it is going to be a while before comprehensive 5G coverage is available across the UK and beyond, it makes sense to prepare now, so you are clued up on how to implement this new technology within your business. Taking the time to read this information is a good first step, but it is important to use this information to plan how you are going to prepare for the move to 5G technology. The best way to prepare your business is to:
Continue your research – if your current network provider offers 5G, check out what kind of coverage they currently offer in your area and what plans/devices are available to you.
Find out how 5G can benefit your individual business – 5G can offer individual benefits to different sectors, so whether your sector is healthcare, retail, agriculture, construction or something else, it is important to find out how 5G will directly benefit your business.
Speak to an expert – Elite Group can offer a range of business communication solutions including Business Mobile options from Vodafone, EE and O2 which all offer 5G plans and devices and with 20 years experience in the communications and IT industry, they can help to find the best 5G Business Mobile solution for you and your business.
Elite Group is one of the UK’s leading unified communication providers, supplying reliable and professional IT and telecoms services to organisations seeking Business Mobile, Cloud, Networking, Connectivity, and Telephony solutions.
For more information on how Elite Group can power your unified communication solutions, call us or request a quote today.