Hybrid workforces. Health and safety concerns. Large data transfers. Mobile applications being used en masse. The challenges facing business networks over the next few years are drastically different from those they faced in 2020.
Those that remain within a more ‘traditional’ workforce will be required to manage a more varied level of health and safety technology driven by data, AI and automation.
Many businesses have already started to prepare for more technologically driven workplaces and for many, it’s paying off.
According to our 2020 Future Ready Report, almost a third of companies (30%) that met the criteria of being a ‘future ready’ business reported increased profits compared to last year, despite COVID-19.
These are companies that have a positive attitude to change, are open to new technology, actively plan for their technological futures, set detailed strategies, keep up to date with emerging trends and are adaptable.
Another 44% said they’re seeing a positive impact on their innovations — which is helping them better deal with the events of this year while helping keep their employees healthy, happy and productive.
But what will networks of the future have to deal with?
A key part of employee wellness and productivity is providing them with the tools they need to do their jobs effectively — wherever they’re working.
Take VIP Taxis in Dublin. Its traditional two-way radio communications network meant drivers were losing connectivity regularly, supervisors had no idea where some of the fleet was located and the whole setup was proving to be expensive to manage monthly.
By moving to a world-class cloud network, VIP Taxis were able to set up a mobile, cloud-based application and replace traditional hardware with a secure system.
Drivers now receive instructions directly from the system and communicate using feature-rich smartphones. Also, dispatch managers now have a 24/7 view of drivers’ geographical locations, so they can always choose the best route for each trip.
This kind of connectivity is beneficial foyees “in the office” and those ine field — whether they are at customer sites or on the move.
Clarkson Safety Services install and maintain fire alarm systems in some of the UK’s biggest businesses, including Tesco and Sainsbury’s.
Because they’re dealing with essential safety equipment in large businesses, they must be able to do their jobs quickly and efficiently. If a fire alarm system malfunctions or stops working, it can be dangerous for staff and customers.
The nature of the work means that engineers have to spend time on-site with customers, but they also need to be able to monitor, confirm and edit jobs on the go, as well as stay in touch with colleagues and customers.
Any communication breakdown can lead to a loss of productivity.
To avoid this, they use unified communications to connect their fixed and mobile phone lines, ensuring calls to landlines are automatically redirected to the relevant engineer.
These kinds of automatic communication adjustments are crucial today in a mixed working environment.
For example, when the Cystic Fibrosis Trust wanted to reach more people to become better connected and allow staff to work remotely, they found their mobile connections weren’t up to the task.
By bringing in cloud-based mobile collaboration tools and more reliable mobile connections and communications, employees can reliably work from anywhere and improve their presence in the communities they work in.
These technologies also allow employees to be more flexible with how they work, meaning they can build a more positive culture.
Building more health and productivity-focused tools into a modern business will inevitably lead to more strain on the networks that will need to support their function.
It is critical that businesses fully understand the types of tools they’ll be required to use moving forward into the new way of working. This will allow them to build a robust and reliable network that can assist employees in remaining productive in the workplace.
Networks for the healthy and productive workplace also need to be built with security as standard.
Employees are now passing data and information over wireless networks, via multiple devices, and over various connections.
This means that monitoring and controlling access to information and networks is essential.
For example, using proactive threat detection, driven by machine learning that allows IT departments to identify and prevent threats in real-time. Or help identify suspicious activity or emails and reconfigure log sources for better security.
If you want to learn more about implementing the right technology to empower your future business and workforce, our guide can help.
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Gartner names Vodafone as a Leader in its 2020 Magic Quadrant for Network Services, Global.