Business demand for up-to-date information is skyrocketing, so the faster you can access and share data, the more competitive and responsive you’ll be.
The internet and the services it supports can be massively useful for business, but if you and your team can’t quickly access the data you need, going online can become a time thief.
The challenge is managing your data so that it’s up to date and available. Get that right and you have a big competitive advantage.
Many modern workspaces are well geared up with fixed line broadband for data access and now there is rising demand for similarly fast access outside traditional offices, because millions of workers don’t have desk-based roles.
Portable computers and mobile communications freed some of us from desktops years ago, but until recently the missing link was rapid internet access to data stored elsewhere.
The faster and more reliable your connection, the sooner you can access the data you need – via smartphone, tablet, laptop or other portable computer – to get on with the task at hand.
Now the new 4G technologies are closing the speed gap between fixed and mobile broadband.
Telstra’s own 4G offers high-speed mobile broadband for even bandwidth-hungry applications, and improved performance for common tasks such as navigating internet pages, exchanging email and working in cloud-based applications such as the Microsoft Office 365 suite. You can access the 4G network on 4G-compatible smartphones and other mobile broadband devices. Some businesses are finding 4G access is also a handy back-up to their existing fixed line broadband, as well as a flexible alternative for mobile workers.
4G speeds are now available in capital city CBDs, associated airports and selected regional locations. If 4G is unavailable, you are switched to the fastest available 3G speeds on the Next G® network.
Terra Firma: faster strategic moves
Nicholas Bartels gets a buzz out of being faster and more decisive than his competitors, whether it’s racing his Terra Firma yacht in the Sydney to Hobart or skippering his Melbourne-based national business consulting firm of the same name.
The strong sense of team, strategy and tactics learned in yacht racing help Bartels every day he’s on land: he believes the keys to great collaboration are speedy exchange of accurate information and a sense of always feeling connected to your team members.
Bartels says Terra Firma has always been an early adopter of technology, and he has often found that the cost of upgrading is soon offset by a boost in performance.
“The business environment we play in now is fast, so we rely on fast technology to be competitive. Many of our staff sit with our clients at their sites, looking after project teams to identify and deliver their business outcomes.
“Where we have an edge is that we’ve invested in reliable and fast communication. We go with the strongest, most reliable providers for our technology, and those we feel won’t let our clients down. For communications, that’s meant we’ve been with Telstra since we started [16 years ago].”
Until a few years ago, Terra Firma’s mobile workers loaded high-end laptops with masses of data and all the software applications they needed before heading out from the office to work directly with clients. According to Ashleigh Watt, IT manager at Terra Firma, in those days the speed of the machine was a crucial factor in whether workers were effective or otherwise.
The speed equation has since been adjusted to account for the increased use of cloud applications accessed through the internet. That means the power of the broadband connection is now equally, if not more, important than the device accessing the cloud.
“Although our clients might not notice we’re working in the cloud, they notice the benefit. We can do more, more quickly, in more places,” notes Bartels. “The benefit for us in using cloud applications is a lower operational cost – and to get that benefit we need to have a fast, reliable connection to match the experience of working in an office, connected to a server.” Watt adds that cloud computing and other forms of remote data access have helped the company cut the risk associated with portable devices containing sensitive data being lost.
“Our staff now log into a remote desktop on a secure connection, so all the data they’re working with is actually in the cloud or on our secured servers, not on their laptop or phone,” Watt explains. “We removed quite a bit of the risk of all that hardware moving around.”
Four years ago Terra Firma began testing mobile broadband devices, with the aim of giving offsite staff a viable alternative to relying on their clients’ internet connections. Initially the company tested another telco’s service because it offered cheaper prices for the devices and connectivity.
“We tried a competitor, but the performance was sub-standard – nothing like we expected and it was costing us money having people sitting around waiting for downloads to happen, waiting for emails,” he recalls. “They’re getting paid to get a job done, not to wait for data. So we went back to Telstra and never looked back.”
Nicholas Bartels was also one of the first to test the 4G USB mobile broadband device in the field.
“I downloaded RIP files, which contain data about wind, currents and what the weather patterns will be, for my Terra Firma yacht,” says Bartels. “It was interesting testing how it would work in the field and the speed increase and lower latency were certainly noticeable.”
Watt recounts another scenario: “One of our staff members was piloting the Citrix environment for us, and we gave him the 4G device to test.” Citrix gives teams remote access via virtual desktops to their office network, software and files, similar to working at an office desktop. “He said it was like he was in the office. He was just blown away, to the point we had to remind three or four times, ‘George, you have to bring the card back, thanks’.”
Bartels also notices the 4G speed boost when doing client presentations or updating financial reports: “I find the upload speed is what really makes the difference. Now it takes seconds rather than minutes. It’s an easy choice.”
WATCH OUR VIDEO INTERVIEWS: with Terra Firma (VIC) and Qscan (QLD) to see 4G broadband in action.
How 4G helps business
Mike Wright, executive director of Network Access and Technologies at Telstra, explains more about the benefits of Telstra’s 4G mobile broadband network.
Australia’s largest 4G mobile network
“Telstra’s high-speed 4G network means working on the move within 4G coverage areas is no obstacle to productivity. Our customers are retrieving and sharing larger files such as videos and images more easily, giving them greater flexibility over when and how they work.”
“Real-time access to cloud-based applications and business software away from the office means our customers have the up-to-date information they need to make decisions on the go at their fingertips. Telstra’s ever-faster mobile broadband speeds mean less waiting time when it really counts.”
“Telstra’s increased capacity on 4G ensures
high-speed mobile connections can handle constant data flow so customers can do more things at the same time, such as video conferencing while also downloading large files. The faster network makes high definition video conferencing on the move a reality with a clearer and more reliable experience. Our video customers are collaborating more efficiently, making more informed decisions and understanding their colleagues better — the building blocks of a strong team.”
Your 4G toolkit
HTC Velocity (Android)
HTC Velocity was the first 4G smartphone off the rank, boasting super-speedy downloads, uploads and web surfing across the new network. How fast? Typical download speeds range from 2Mbps to 40Mbps when in 4G coverage areas, up to twice as fast as 3G phones.
Samsung Galaxy S II 4G (Android)
Samsung’s new Galaxy S II 4G, with 1.5GHz dual core processor, delivers your data fast.
HTC Titan 4G (Windows Phone)
This is the 4G phone for Windows lovers — and that probably means most business people! It runs on Windows Phone 7.5 (Windows Mango), which integrates with Microsoft Exchange so your email, calendar and office tools work together seamlessly. Its big 4.7-inch screen and 1.5GHz processor make it a pleasure to use.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 4G Tablet (Android)
Australia’s first 4G tablet device, this runs super-fast. It handles Flash, so you can view websites just as you would on your PC, and it weighs a tiny 470g.
Telstra USB 4G
Plug the Telstra USB 4G into your laptop for high-speed mobile broadband access in Telstra 4G coverage areas. It offers greater capacity to do more things on the network at the same time — like uploading or downloading large video or document files while browsing the web and managing email.
THE WI-FI HUB
Telstra Mobile Wi-Fi 4G
You and your colleagues can work full throttle in 4G coverage areas when your devices are connected through this Wi-Fi hub. You can share a 4G mobile connection with up to five Wi-Fi compatible devices, such as a laptop, smartphone, PC and tablet.
Business Mobile Maximiser plans offer you great value, benefits and choices. Choose from a selection of monthly voice and data allowances. Business Mobile Advantage plans are integrated plans for calling, messaging, emailing or mobile internet. You can share your data allowance across other Business Mobile Advantage plans on the same account so there is no unused data wastage. Plans also offer low call and SMS rates which decrease as you add eligible services.
Telstra Cloud Services Portal
Telstra’s Cloud Services can help businesses be more mobile by providing secure and easy access to a range of resources.