Dec 19, 2019

Enterprise mobility is changing - is your network ready?

The enterprise mobility world has evolved beyond the point of simple widespread mobile device use. Mobility strategies are becoming a foundational part of business models, with organizations building customer-facing and operational solutions to better meet the demands of mobile users. The result is an industry environment in which iterative innovation is becoming critical. As businesses continue to deepen their use of mobile solutions, they need to improve their networks, development capabilities and data center strategies to better meet the needs of mobile users.

Mobile operations have become the new normal in the workplace. Deloitte reported that approximately 70 percent of workers operate in roles that don't involve being tethered to a desk most of the time, and mobile devices are gaining momentum in empowering those employees to be more productive. Mobile devices are dominating people's personal lives, and the trend is starting to gain steam in the workplace as people use devices for a wide range of purposes. As this trend emerges, more workers are embracing work styles that are entirely mobile in nature, moving away from typical methods for getting the job done. As this development unfolds, technologies supporting mobility strategies are happening quickly.

While advances in enterprise mobility are happening in a variety of areas, a few standout places where innovation is occurring include:

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The rise of edge computing

Artificial intelligence has been gaining prominence as the ability to gather and analyze large quantities of data is becoming easier for business. With mobile devices functioning as data gathering tools for organizations, companies can easily feed AI systems large quantities of information to fuel machine learning platforms. In many cases, the strongest use cases for AI and machine learning are in applications that directly interact with end-users. As more enterprise employees embrace mobile devices and the varied operational strategies they allow for, the increased use of AI creates significant networking complexity.

Many AI and machine learning solutions depend heavily on near real-time communication. Data needs to be fed to the analytics application almost immediately so the AI system can analyze it and give end-users actionable takeaways they can use to work more efficiently. In some settings, such as human interactions with robots, data needs to get to AI systems in mobile apps in real-time. As more apps process and analyze data in the cloud, the amount of distance information has to travel to be used is problematic. Edge computing resolves this situation by putting small data centers closer to end-user work locations to better support work taking place in unconventional locations.

Edge computing represents a key evolution in the mobile computing space. In essence, the apps and services being delivered to mobile devices are so powerful that localized wireless networks are needed to support operations. This is leading to growth in enterprise mobile network deployments. 

This is leading to growth in enterprise mobile network deployments. A Tangoe study found that edge computing is gaining momentum quickly in response to these needs.

The move to 5G

The growing move toward enterprise mobility is putting a strain on mobile network models, leading to a rapid move toward 5G connectivity options. The Tangoe study mentioned that, among Fortune 1000 business leaders, approximately two-thirds think consistent access to 5G connections will become an employee expectation as soon as 2020. The move to 5G is not only underway, it is accelerating. This is particularly evident as businesses work to expand connectivity into rural regions. On top of all this, organizations are also expected to embrace network-as-a-service models as 5G mobile networks become a key part of the enterprise connectivity toolset.

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The emergence of mobile-first businesses

Mobile devices are becoming such a normal part of the workplace that more individuals are getting the job done primarily from their smartphones. As a result, more businesses are embracing a mobile-first approach to operations. According to a ClearBridge Mobile study, businesses are changing work norms by taking on mobile-first operations that create a flexible, adaptable workforce. This comes in response to changing attitudes about the role of mobile devices in the office and the ability to work from any location.

A mobile-first approach to work changes network topologies and transforms how businesses move data between users. Instead of designing networks to gather data from the WAN into the office-based LAN and, in most cases, Wi-Fi, organizations need to move data to a wide range of sources. A distributed workforce makes ensuring quality app performance for mission-critical systems particularly challenging, and businesses often have to rethink how they design their networks to fully empower the mobile user.

Get more value from your network

Responding to mobile device use isn't as simple as building a giant mobile network. That isn't realistic. Instead, it's a matter of taking a purposeful, strategic approach to connectivity in which you blend network solutions depending on the operational challenges you are grappling with. Ventus can help you address network pain points through a variety of connectivity options that empower your teams to work more effectively when they go mobile.