A business perspective on digital connectivity
Businesses of all sizes are under an interesting set of pressures. In the last few years they’ve seen an explosion in the amount of data they deal with from both an internal and external perspective. Phone systems, accounting, email and back office systems have all moved onto the internet and into the cloud.
Data itself has moved from on premise servers to cloud infrastructure, challenging conventional security protocols. We have also seen huge regulatory changes in the form of GDPR. How that data should be dealt with, given the potential outcomes for a breach of GDPR, are key issues for businesses throughout Europe. All this has occurred at the same time the work force has become more mobile, with employees wanting to work from anywhere and to use their own devices for work purposes. The majority of this change has taken place in the last five years. An incredibly compressed timescale, which is still accelerating!
The role of connectivity
One of the key answers to these issues is connectivity. Businesses are currently having to refocus IT spend and expertise away from servers and workstations and into networks, connectivity and the cloud. In basic terms it is imperative to have access to superfast and reliable networks and WiFi in offices, a superfast and reliable internet connection out of the office and superfast and reliable cloud services to connect to. You also need great digital connectivity everywhere so the workforce can securely access those cloud services from wherever they happen to be. In essence, connectivity is an issue that affects a business ability to run itself at all times.
This change has largely been driven by highly connected cities and campuses where innovation is not being held back by slow internet connections. This is a world where specialist teams can collaborate seamlessly across continents. Working live on huge data sets and pushing forward our knowledge and understanding at the precipice of technology in fields such as AI, IoT, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, climate and everything in between.
A time for investment
But what about everyone and everywhere else? What happens in the smaller cities, towns and villages that are still waiting for proper digital connectivity to arrive?
How do we improve their connectivity experience? How do we stimulate the innovation and productivity gains our businesses are capable of?
How do we offer the high speeds at super low prices that start-ups and micro businesses require? How do we support the fibre connectivity that large businesses (and increasingly smaller ones) require to link sites?
Investment in the networks is the natural conclusion to these questions. It is undoubtedly the answer to creating access for smaller businesses or businesses outside the major cities.
The public and private sectors should work together to deliver an investment strategy that creates an equality of opportunity for businesses to access the burgeoning opportunities superfast networks can provide.