Equipped with smartphones, tablets and laptops connected at average speeds of around 20Mbps – faster than many home broadband connections – the truly mobile office is now a reality for many British businesses.
So what exactly are the benefits of using 4G and where should you start? Mike Tomlinson, Director of Small Business at EE, shares his ten top tips on how companies can use 4G to innovate and beat the competition:
Get more done out of the office
An estimated 20 per cent of UK employees (over 6.5 million people) now work while out of the office, according to cyber security organisation, the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure. 4G download speeds are up to ten times faster than 3G, so small businesses can send and receive more data in less time from mobile devices.
A small photography company that took part in a recent 4G trial in Cumbria last year, for example, has slashed the time it takes to transfer an image to its clients from five hours to one and a half. This has transformed their business, vastly improving productivity and customer satisfaction.
Take advantage of the mobile cloud
The days of returning to the office to back up mobile devices are well and truly over. With 4G, small businesses can automatically back up their documents, images, settings and address book whenever and wherever they are. As a result, free cloud applications (such as Google Drive) are growing in popularity among small companies, as employees use 4G to instantly access their work while on the move
Enhance customer experiences
Small businesses can use 4G to provide a better service to their clients. For example, architects and surveyors can download 3D CAD plans while on site and review them instantly with their clients, rather than waiting to send them over a fixed line connection back at the office.
Set up a new business location instantly
Getting to market quickly is crucial for small businesses, yet many have to wait for a fixed line connection to be installed before they can begin trading properly. 4G lets new businesses set up instantly, rather than waiting a month or more for a telephone line and internet connectivity to be installed.
Give your marketing a boost
Videos and photos really improve online visibility and can help small companies bring the human element of their business to life. 4G’s superfast upload speeds mean small businesses can instantly upload videos to Twitter, Google+, Facebook and YouTube. For street food sellers, videos profiling their cooks and of food being prepared on the stall, all help to market the business more effectively.
Reinvent and innovate
Small businesses can use 4G to introduce new ways of working. For instance, service engineers on the road can instantly connect to office systems. This improves information to customers on fault fix times, which in turn improves quality of service and customer satisfaction.
Save time waiting for downloads
Downloading image-heavy attachments can cost businesses time and money. A 20MB document takes 8.3 seconds on average to download with 3G. Downloading the same attachment using 4G can reduce this waiting time to less than a second.
Take creativity to another level
Supercharge business ideas by organising brainstorms in unusual and inspiring locations, be it a park, castle, or riverboat. With a 4G mobile wi-fi device, your team will have instant access to online research and background information. At the end of the session, they can upload ideas and supporting documents to the cloud for use back at the office.
Foster a good work-life balance
One of the benefits of remote working is it allows employees to maximise time during the office commute or avoid these journeys altogether at times of travel disruption. With 4G, they are able to connect and work at a moment’s notice. This allows workers to organise their time in a way that suits them, rather than being governed by location or time.
Follow the four steps to 4G connectivity
Finally, there are four steps to getting up and running with 4G. First, check you are in a 4G coverage area explore.ee.co.uk/coverage-checker. Second, check you have a 4G-compatible device. If you do, then choose the 4G price plan that works best for you. Finally, obtain a 4G SIM card and enjoy all the benefits a superfast connection can bring small businesses.