16 Mar 2012

The new technologies your business will consider in the next 12 months

Technology has shown time and again its capacity to change the way we work.

From smart devices and video conferencing to cloud-based infrastructures, technological change has allowed us to work more effectively and conveniently in more places and in more ways.

So what new technologies will your business consider in the next 12 months?

Here are a few to ponder:

4G mobility

We’re all aware of the revolution that mobile data networks have delivered for anywhere/anytime computing.

As you can probably guess, 4G (sometimes called 4G LTE) is the next evolution after 3G mobile networks (LTE in fact stands for Long Term Evolution).

As you’ll also guess, what it delivers is better speed – download rates of up to 40 Mbps, which for most will be about twice the speed of 3G. Latency has also been halved compared to 3G, making connections snappier.

What does that mean for business? It means faster connectivity on the go for everything from email to remote desktops, and more reliable connections when working remotely. 4G is now the best choice for mobile data, but you’ll only be able to use it with compatible hardware – either a USB dongle for your laptop or a 4G enabled smartphone or tablet.

For the moment, Telstra is Australia’s only 4G provider, with a network serving the capital cities, major airports and around 80 regional centres.

Windows 8

Windows 8 is likely to arrive later this year.

Tablet-friendly features such as the much-vaunted Metro interface will be a big plus for business tablet computing.

But, on the desktop, it could be that you evaluate Windows 8 only to decide that an upgrade is not worth it. At this stage, the new features on offer don’t appear to make a compelling case for businesses to reskill employees currently on Windows 7 or Vista. When purchasing new computers after Windows 8 arrives, be sure to take notice of the operating system for which you’ll be licensed.

Mobility management tools

A fast-increasing number of mobile and tablet devices are finding a home in businesses and organisations. The US Air Force announced this month, for example, that it would put 18,000 iPads in the hands of its pilots.

As their popularity soars, so are efforts to make these devices easier for businesses to manage.

Concerns about security and ease of deployment are leading to new tools such as VMware’s Mobile Virtualization Platform, which allows smartphones to be divided into work and personal partitions – letting staff use the phone of their choice while business data and applications remain protected.

Expect to be considering such a platform in the near future.

The NBN

After reports last week that the ‘full scale’ rollout of the NBN will now proceed following the ACCC acceptance of Telstra’s structural separation, many might be surprised to learn that a full scale rollout wasn’t already underway.

In any case, NBN Co says that it is now “looking forward to ramping up the rollout”, and, in the few spots where the NBN is currently available, an increasing number of providers have released their plans.

Businesses located within coverage areas should keep in mind however that the NBN has a way to go yet before it becomes a commercial-grade solution.

At the moment, the network still lacks hardened commercial features and it will be up to resellers to address features like guaranteed service levels and contention ratios, as well as traffic prioritisation, SIP trunking, fail over and levels of capacity and redundancy.

At least for the next 12 months, the NBN is unlikely to be the best solution for the majority of business needs.

Dave Stevens is MD, Brennan IT.

(This blog post was first published on the SmartCompany website on March 15 2012).

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