For all enterprises, understanding how wireless technology factors into their digital transformation strategies is critical. Wireless communication also disrupts IoT, RPA and Machine Learning technologies as AI continues to influence business processes.
Deloitte state that 70% of respondents to their Tech Trends report state that disruptive growth is critical for their company’s success. Still, only 13% were confident that their company could deliver on this strategic priority.
To understand how wireless has become a business imperative, Silicon UK spoke with Adam Toop, Founder of Code Technology, an independent telecoms and security supplier. Toop is a telecommunications veteran with over three decades of experience providing mobile and security services to the finance, banking and high-net-worth sectors.
The shift to remote working has transformed how workforces are organised. Do businesses have a clear IT strategy – including support for wireless – as they evolve their business processes and manage their workers?
“When the pandemic hit, businesses had no option but to swiftly transition to remote working and rely on employees’ home broadband connections. However, high contention ratios – a more significant number of users trying to use available bandwidth at any one time – swiftly exposed just how far away performance could be in real life from what was initially advertised. As a result, many organisations adopted wireless technology as a backup, where contention was no longer an issue, and wireless presented much higher levels of reliability than fixed.
“Now, companies are increasingly embracing wireless as their primary means of connecting home workers. This is because, with intelligent wireless connectivity, you can support and swiftly remedy problems remotely, with real real-time control over SIMs – problems that would take days and weeks with fixed line alternatives. As there is never any need to send engineers to the site, new wireless installations can also be deployed within a day.
“Smart wireless connectivity delivers improved reliability, speed, flexibility, and reduced costs with no reliance on elderly exchanges, street cabinets, ducts or cabling liable to failure or damage.
“The advent of eSIMs has also accelerated this shift to wireless. While standard SIM cards are delicate, tied to a specific network and cannot be re-configured, eSIMs are more secure, embedded in hardware, network agnostic and highly configurable over the air. While this enables routine updates to be easily applied, the ‘untied’ aspect of eSIMs also means that the mobile carrier can be instantly changed if required.
“For users where high availability is paramount, unsteered eSIMs are proving popular. Unlike a ‘steered’ alternative, in this case, the eSIM is not configured to default to a particular network even if the signal isn’t the best – a home network or perhaps one with the lowest cost. Instead, it allows the device to identify the strongest signal and remain connected to it without bias.
“In both ‘steered’ and ‘unsteered’ examples, tariffs can include unlimited, unthrottled data when used as primary connectivity, or self-optimise based upon data usage (with a usefully lower minimum line rental) when used as a backup. Data aggregation packages (shared across various devices) also reduce costs. SIMs can be configured with specific APNs and fixed IP addresses, for example.
“Contractually, wireless is also the clear winner with rolling 30–day wireless agreements now possible, whereas consumer broadband contracts are typically of 18-24 months duration for fixed line services.”
Security is a topic that is never very far from discussing digital channels. But, do businesses clearly understand the security risk across the wireless channels they are using and do they have an integrated plan to secure these communications?
“Fixed-line connectivity has always been the star of the cybersecurity show, leaving wireless behind with basic options that include DNS filtering.
“While businesses have many advanced tools to secure devices and network endpoints, mobile content filtering services are now available at the network level. They leverage intelligent AI to move a step beyond industry lists of known malicious websites by constantly scanning and categorising billions of URLs. Harmful URLs are automatically blocked, securing devices, networks, and data. Users can also create policies to control access by user, groups, or time of day and configure lists of URLs, keywords, and file extensions to allow or block. All controls and data are available in real time.
“The litmus test is that sectors such as education, healthcare and government, where strict regulation applies, are increasingly able to adopt wireless connectivity given the tools available to secure these deployments.”
For businesses, what do you think the future of wireless looks like?
“From initially supporting simple voice-only services, modern wireless networks have evolved to deliver impressive data speeds, reliably and cost-effectively, overleaping the ‘copper and cobwebs’ infrastructure in dated exchanges.
“With same or next day deployment, real time access to management and support tools, remotely configurable eSIMs and filtering, the case for wireless is already undeniably strong. The clear advantage of rolling 30-day contract terms over 18 or 24 months simply cements the argument. Control is firmly back into the hands of customers, rather than providers given that a vendor will always work harder to retain an unentangled client that has the option to easily leave if not entirely satisfied.”