Connectivity is laying the foundations for one of the most significant shifts in society in generations. With the fourth industrial revolution in full flow, we’re seeing unprecedented opportunities for the creation of new business models, improved experiences and fundamental changes in the way we view work and life altogether. The long-anticipated introduction of 5G is now coming to fruition, with metropolitan areas like London, Amsterdam, Madrid, Stockholm and Milan all at least trialing roll-outs of this new level of cellular connectivity.
About the author
Eric Law, vice president of Enterprise for Europe, CommScope.
In addition to this wireless evolution, we’re on the cusp of Wi-Fi 6, the next generation of Wi-Fi services that are set to accelerate connectivity as we know it. Designed to allow for wireless data rates up to 10 Gbps and to operate in today’s increasingly congested radio environments, Wi-Fi 6’s principal applications will be felt in areas such as airports, stadiums, hotels, apartment and commercial buildings and entertainment venues.
With innovation up for grabs, how can organisations across a multitude of industries understand and harness these new opportunities enabled by connectivity? In education, retail, hospitality and healthcare we’re seeing a number of diverse use cases that are helping others put their own future connectivity plans in place.
For universities, the concept of the smart campus has grown tremendously over the last few years, evolving far beyond connecting individual buildings and ensuring high-speed wired, or wireless, connectivity inside lecture halls and libraries. Today, the connected campus features a ubiquitous hybrid network that encompasses the whole estate, coupling students and staff inside and out to the resources, applications and systems for life, work and learning.
With students expecting complete and easy access to information, data and applications whether they’re working on campus or at home, investing to ensure the connectivity and secure delivery of data across the network will be a critical next step for many universities competing to offer the best student experience.
Often considered a forward-thinking industry when it comes to technological advancements, many retail organisations today are committed to constantly innovating to improve their customer experience, much of which is underpinned by connectivity. One such example is Belgian shoe retailer, Torfs. With more than 80 stores across the country, it needed to be able to provide seamless and speedy access to Wi-Fi for customers in-store, but was hindered by the legacy technology’s requirement to configure each store’s connection individually.
Torfs deployed a cloud services solution that could manage connectivity across all outlets from one device, as well as enabling those in individual stores to refine and adjust their individual configurations using a simple mobile app.
The retailer is using wireless routers in order to provide connectivity for customers when in-store, as well as connecting scanners and IT infrastructure to enable store managers to track and manage inventories seamlessly using their ERP software. It has also future-proofed the stores as they consider deployments in tech such as the Internet of Things (IoT) to further enhance the customer experience for shoppers.
Creating the best guest experience
If hotel guests can’t get a strong, consistent wireless connection – for all their devices and multimedia applications, everywhere on the property – they won’t be coming back. Not surprisingly, the hospitality industry is going through a transformation that includes new opportunities to streamline operations and offer new services to guests. Here’s a quote from one of our partners:
“Some of the world’s most prominent five-star hotels have tapped into Ruckus Networks technology to enhance the experience for business users,” said Sami Mansi, regional managing director for Middle East, Africa and Turkey at InterTouch. “Seamless connectivity and the best network infrastructure is a baseline requirement for luxury hotels that cater to business guests while managing thousands of connections during peak periods.”
Efficient communication in a hospital literally saves lives. With a pressing need to connect doctors, nurses, patients and equipment as they move quickly throughout typically large and often convoluted facilities, hospitals have been pioneers in using wireless for connectivity. Initially, doctors used pagers to stay connected with nurses who needed them. Then came the use of smartphones for communication, underpinned by tech such as distributed antenna systems (DAS).
Today, with the developments of tech such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and the number of devices used within a hospital on the rise, hospitals will need more bandwidth than they can get out of legacy Wi-Fi and DAS infrastructure.
Digital technologies are replacing their older analogue counterparts in many areas of life - as we have discussed in multiple industries - and now digital DAS is making it possible for hospitals to meet their wireless infrastructure needs with systems that are cost-effective, easy to deploy and easily capable of migrating to 5G technology when it becomes more widely available.
Delivering efficient utilities
As well as having an impact on whole industries, connectivity benefits are also enabling improved efficiency within individual organisations. Frederiksberg Forsyning - a utility company providing water, heating and cooling, and gas for the 100,000+ citizens in the principality of Frederiksberg in Copenhagen - is a prime example of this.
The public-funded company relies on data to optimize its networks – yet was reliant on manually-inputted meter readings delivered either monthly or annually from customers. Due to the manual process, these readings were often prone to lateness or human-error. Frederiksberg Forsyning needed a solution that was connected from production to sub-stations and then the end-user - all the way across the municipality and including basement zones - to automate the process of delivering this data and enable smarter, faster decision-making.
The network - enabled by connected sensors across the area - has provided Frederiksberg Forsyning with literal visibility in their pipelines and real-time data collection in terms of the network performance, helping the firm to optimize energy consumption and reduce water loss, resulting in a more efficient and environmentally friendly organisation.
A connected future
Whether we’re at home, work or on the go, we expect connectivity to deliver. From 5G to Wi-Fi 6, we’re on the cusp of speeds, capacity and opportunities never previously available. From digital banks to streaming services disrupting traditional TV viewing models, we are in the era of disruption – and much of that positive change will continue to be underpinned by new-age connectivity.
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