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How will 4G networks change business?


Benefits to the Bottom Line
4G phones could make laptoplike devices superfluous for some businesspeople.
4G phones could make laptoplike devices superfluous for some businesspeople.
Siri Stafford/Lifesize/Thinkstock

There are several ways a business could benefit from upgrading to 4G-friendly technology. With all its data being transmitted by VoIP -- that is, without any voice data still hitting the airwaves through a separate, dedicated transmission line -- the business could save money and benefit from enhanced security.

Just as important, the service will generally be quite a bit faster than what's available now. This improved performance and reliability will push cell phones more fully into the realm of mobile PCs like laptops in terms of overall capabilities. 3G got people part of the way there, but because the networks aren't 100 percent VoIP, they still get a little choppy when everyone's active on their phones at the same time; the goal for 4G networks is to increase the bandwidth and throughput capabilities so that more customers will feel secure trusting their cell phones to perform whenever necessary.

Having a phone that can fulfill every Internet role normally performed by a PC lets employees maximize their time without being chained to a computer, both at home and on the go. Plus, they can easily keep on top of work matters during all those little moments of downtime that are sprinkled throughout the average day, like time spent waiting in lines at grocery stores, sitting through advertisements before movie previews or riding in carpools during commutes.

One trend that's likely to become more common is phones designed to be ideal for videoconferencing. That way, colleagues working from remote locations can transmit streaming videos -- whether they're out sick or out on safari -- with just the cameras on their cells. (Although in the case of under-the-weather employees, they might want to still stick with simple teleconferencing depending on how they're looking.)

All in all, lots more applications and devices geared toward the business side of life are sure to become available as 4G moves from the planning stages into practical utilization. For more information on the fast-evolving world of mobile technology, explore the links on the next page.


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