We’re nearly at the end of February already and we’ll soon be in the cusp of Spring. 2019 is well underway and the everyday of work, life, sleep repeat has already taken it’s toll on some. Those resolutions we vowed to stick to on January 1st are long out the window and we’re all dying for the bank holidays to come rolling in.
But there’s no time to dwell. Claw yourself out of your slog and start thinking big. Your business isn’t going to grow itself and if you want 2019 to be “your year”, there’s some key technology trends emerging that you should know about. Because if you don’t, you’ll get left behind along with the 2018 technology trends that are so last year …
Fast 5G: By Matt Simpson
It’s been the talk of the town since this time last year, but with EE suggesting this could be available as early as the Autumn, it’s introduction to the UK market is creating a buzz, and no wonder. 5G is the latest in mobile networks, and it’s set to be so much faster than it’s previous generations that it’s been heralded as the doorway to a smarter, more connected world.
Current networks like 4G were a revelation when they were first introduced, allowing us to do much more with our hand-held devices. Things thought once impossible like browsing the internet with ease, video streaming and gaming are now regular features in our daily, mobile lives. But networks are evolving once more, and 5G is leading the way as cutting-edge technology that will really make a difference to our lives. So what are they?
Faster than ever
Download speeds are expected to overshadow the 300Mbit/s of 4G exponentially. 5G is promising to offer speeds in excess of 1Gb/s (1000Mbit/s), with many estimates placing it closer to 10Gb/s (10000Mbit/s). Tests carried out recently by EE have delivered consistent results of 2.8Gbps – and this is just the start. To put this into perspective, it would take around 10 minutes to download a full HD film using 4G. With 5G, this could take less than 10 seconds … that’s 100x faster, and that’s no joke.
This theory has recently been trialled right here in the West Midlands, with Worcester switching on the first 5G factory. This will allow us to see the effects that 5G could have on the manufacturing sector. Companies likes Bosch, Huawei, BT and O2 are all involved in the Worcester trial which is one of several government-backed initiatives to test productivity output using 5G to trial remote troubleshoot and the power of IoT.
Because 5G offers less latency, better capacity and unrivalled reliability, it offers great grounds to drive costs down. Network giant O2 has claimed that implementing 5G on consumer products within the retail sector, could save the UK billions each year. That’s huge. 5G could drive the creation of smart bins and intelligent lighting that would save councils vital funds. The NHS could benefit too, with 5G remote GP services freeing up over 1 million GP hours each year. Householders could also make big savings. The average home-owner is expected to save on fuel, council and food bills.
Cyber-Security: By Steve Shields
More scrutiny has been placed on this topic since new data protection laws were enforced in May 2018, but there are still a lot of people who aren’t clued up. It’s estimated that 11% of UK businesses are still not addressing the issue of cyber security and in doing so are putting the personal details of their customers in jeopardy.
Those that do take it seriously are unable to get even the basics right, it is certain that the attacks will become more serious and more frequent. So how can you protect yourself against the 3.6 billion hacking attempts that happen everyday?
Cyber Threat on Board Agendas
Cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated meaning you and your business are a constant moving target. Stay prepared and beat the criminals by taking the time to make it an agenda item in board meetings. In doing this, you can ensure you stay agile, by discussing the vital technology you are using. Technology like Cisco Umbrella that actively scans for and prevent attacks.
Train Your Staff
Amateurs hack hardware, but professionals hack people. It’s never been more important to make your staff aware of the potential catastrophic effects of a security breach. They also need regular security training so they know what to spot, how to be safe online and how to avoid a mis-hap. Naivety could cost you thousands, but investing in training could prevent this. A good resource is Cybsafe.
Cyber Criminals are getting Smarter
A spray and pray approach will no longer work. Since cyber security has been a focus for most businesses, cyber criminals are having to get smarter to catch you out. A new way they are targeting business is spear fishing; an email targeted at a specific individual or department within an organisation. It appears to be from a trusted source, but it’s actually cyber criminals attempting to steal confidential information. 91% of cyber-attacks begin with a “spear phishing” email but these could be stopped with high-tech such as Cisco Meraki.
Conferencing: By Jamie Lake
Video-conferencing is a tidy bit of kit. It offers features like screen-sharing and collaboration tools, to stay in touch with colleagues and clients at the click of a button. Technology has advanced so rapidly that with the introduction of HD and 4K video conference suites and collaboration systems, meetings can be held much more conveniently from literally anywhere.
Whether that’s from the comfort of your workplace, at home, the local coffee shop – it doesn’t matter. That means less time spent travelling and more time spent doing business. The list of companies offering sophisticated video conference and collaboration suites is growing by the day, so it’s easier than ever to get on board. Here’s 3 of the best we’ve found so far …
Zoom is the leader in modern enterprise video communications. It’s an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing as well as collaboration across a variety of devices. It allows users to share their screens simultaneously and co-annotate for a more interactive meeting. Plus it’s super secure, with end-to-end encryption for all meetings, role-based user security and password protection.
Cisco WebEx Teams
Cisco Webex Teams brings everyone and everything together in one simple-to-use, secure space. Moving work forward has never been easier. Webex Teams adapts to fit your work style and gives you full office capabilities wherever and however you want to get work done. It also integrates with essential business tools, so you can easily connect to the apps you already use every day.
If you want a more affordable solution, We’ve launched our own way to collaborate more effectively. We’ve layered Zoom technology onto our Unified Communication Anywhere (UCA) app which not only allows the same experience Zoom alone gives you, but it brings together cloud telephony and mobile in one application.
SD-Wan: By Nick Matthews
Software defined WAN, known as SD-WAN is the new approach to networking. It reduces operational costs and allows network administrators to manage their networks to achieve the best performance possible. Without SD-Wan, your network administrators will have to spend their time manually configuring networks, visiting sites to manually connect to the appliance or work over a remote connection.
Day to day network configuration and troubleshooting can be a time-consuming job. And as we all know, one of the biggest costs to a business is time. With SD-WAN, most of the day to day, time-consuming jobs are eliminated. Labelled the new kid on the WAN-block, it boasts better capabilities at a better cost for those brave enough to get up to speed. But what is it and why should you make the most of it?
With cloud managed products, network administrators can manage, troubleshoot and deploy new networks from their desk. They will be able to see all their networks through a single dashboard. When it comes to deployments, users can build new networks on their dashboards and simply arrange for the new equipment to be delivered for a plug and play deployment.
Transport independence gives network admins the ability to manage their network to apply bandwidth limitations, create security and routing polices across their WAN connections. Admins will be also be able to set up rules to prioritise the VoIP traffic on the network to ensure it is not affected by bandwidth hungry applications and services.
Network administrators can prioritise applications and optimise traffic for specific business needs. For example, admins will be able to shape the traffic and restrict bandwidth for applications such as YouTube to ensure that users streaming video on their lunch break do not compromise VoIP (voice over IP), that is also using the same network.
Most SD-WAN capable devices are dual WAN, to allow the use of multiple WAN connections. This gives businesses the assurance of back up connections should their main connection fault. Some devices also have the third option of 3/4G cellular backup. With intelligent path selection, network admins can build dynamic or static routing polices on their networks so business critical applications use the best path for performance and reliability.
Secure site to site VPN (virtual private network) has never been simpler. Cloud managed VPN’s are secured with industry standards and are easy for network admins to setup and manage. This ensures secure connections between sites, whether that’s data transfer between offices or data-centres when using direct internet access. Detailed analytics are also available for troubleshooting purposes and patch determination.
Mobiles: By Matt Simpson
The rise of the mobile user has overtaken the desktop user as the largest source of online traffic. As a result, businesses are turning to mobile-first technology in order to better meet customer requirements. Using our mobile phones in the business arena is now an everyday need rather than a useful gimmick.
Faster data speeds like 4G and the emergence of 5G in late 2019, mean we often use our mobiles instead of the traditional PC in the workplace and as a total replacement of the laptop at home for ease. The fact is, our mobile devices deliver everything a PC does – but on the go.We can now do what is required whilst travelling, socialising or in meetings, making the mobile the most vital business tool of this generation. So why is it so important to invest in business mobiles in 2019?
Work From Anywhere
Wherever you go, your mobile goes, right? That means business mobiles now allow many of us to work truly remotely from absolutely anywhere; UK or worldwide. This saves businesses money and time by enabling our workforce to be more productive and flexible.
Do Business Quicker
The mobile phones that we use today also allow us to speed up the business process. We can now return emails, documents and more to customers and suppliers at the touch of a button. So you can beat those deadlines whilst grabbing a coffee.
An increasing number of businesses are now using and developing their own bespoke mobile applications in order to carry out their work. This includes combining chat, presence and video conferencing to collaborate more effectively and meet the needs of their customers.