The dawn of super-fast mobile internet is upon us. With Telstra's Gigabit LTE mobile data network – capable of up to 1Gbps download speeds – launching in March, the way we work and play just got a lot faster, less congested and infinitely more productive.
For the future of business, the Gigabit LTE network will allow applications of which we've previously only dreamed. Imagine holding a live conference in 360-degree video that staff in the field can attend using a VR headset or accessing cloud data and CRM services faster than if it were actually stored on your mobile device. All this and more is possible over Gigabit LTE.
For all the staggering technology that has gone into creating a mobile network capable of freeing workers from their desktop device, the ultimate aim for business users is as simple as ever.
"It has always been about productivity," said Peter Carson, from Qualcomm Technologies. "There's a benefit to the employee, there's a benefit to the enterprise, and that is the flexibility that pervasive connectivity gives you; the ability to take care of your family and multiplex in the work as it occurs."
Australia leads the way
Indeed, the promise of the mobile office has been dangled before us for decades. Despite the range of devices currently available that enable us to work remotely – from home, from the field or from the air – the one component lacking that has prevented many enterprises from completely freeing employees from their desktop computer is high-speed connectivity. That is, a fast, reliable and comprehensive mobile data network.
The result of a partnership between Qualcomm, Ericsson, Netgear and Telstra, the Gigabit LTE network is an upgrade to the latter's 4GX mobile data network, and serves as a stepping stone to the next evolution of mobile data, 5G. Telstra is also the first network in the world to offer Gigabit speeds via 4G LTE; rolled out first in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane CBDs, then the rest of Australia.
Free as a bird
The benefits for enterprise are manifold. Tasks formerly the domain of desktop computers are now possible remotely on the Gigabit LTE network.
"CRM is very obvious; you have to be connected all the time," said Mr Carson. "What's not so obvious is the trend towards remote work everywhere in the world. With the value that we're placing in the cloud – whether it's content, or applications or security – accessing your desktop from your smartphone or your tablet over a Gigabit LTE connection will really unlock that value of the future for all workers, not just the mobile workforce, but all workers anywhere they are."
The reality of such a future-forward mobile data network, is that the many devices and apps that will benefit your business are yet to be built; some, not even thought of. The nature of mobile data innovation is a kind of catch-22: need dictates innovation and vice versa.
A connected future
Regardless of the speed of progress, the ultimate outcome is that many areas of enterprise will become more flexible with the addition of hardware and software that takes greater advantage of Gigabit LTE speeds, growing into 5G in the near future.
"We have a vision of 5G taking off across entire ranges of devices," said Mr Parsons. "We know mobile broadband evolution: medical devices, industrial sensors, automotive connectivity - that's where the millions of 5G devices will come from.
"If you think of device management, software updates, features upgrades; you're going to see a lot of new applications: imagine a device that has a battery with a 15-year lifespan - that will need management through software, [over 5G]."
The right tool for the right job
To ensure your mobile fleet can take advantage of Gigabit LTE speeds, you will need the appropriate equipment. That is, smartphones or mobile data routers capable of Gigabit data transfer speeds.
Qualcomm has built two new chips to handle this exact job; the new Snapdragon 835 mobile processor and the X16 LTE modem. The chip of choice for many smartphone manufacturers, the Snapdragon line of processors is fast and energy efficient, making it ideal for employees on the go.
Launching locally in March, the new Netgear Nighthawk M1 mobile router will allow users to connect up to 20 Wi-Fi devices to the Gigabit LTE network, as well as share attached media.
Using the new X16 LTE modem, the Nighthawk M1 can deliver realworld speeds up to 900Mbps for downloads, and around 90Mbps for upstream data. For some context, speeds like this will give you the capability to access cloud data faster than content stored locally on your device or present a 360-degree live-stream video in 4K high-definition. In anyone's book, that's a huge leap in connectivity and productivity.
We will also see a number of smartphones announced this year that will feature the new Qualcomm technology, possibly within the next month or so.
What are your thoughts on the new updates to Australia digital network? Tell us in the comments section below.