By Martin Stiven Friday, 26 October 2012

Ten Top Tips: What 4G can do for SMEs

With speeds expected to be five times faster than 3G today, Martin Stiven talks us through how small businesses will be able to benefit from new superfast 4G.

EE has just announced pricing for its new superfast 4G service for consumers and businesses across the UK. The 4G network will bring numerous benefits to small firms, enabling them to become more productive, efficient and flexible. Here are 10 ways that small businesses can get 4G and use it to drive their firm forward:

1. Check you can get 4G

You’ll need a compatible device and to check www.ee.co.uk/coverage to see if you can get coverage. Second, ensure you have a 4G compatible device. Third, pick a 4G price plan. Finally, request a 4G SIM card from EE.

2. Get more done on the move

4G will help accelerate the current remote working trend, enabling small business owners and their employees to become more mobile than ever before. To cut down on unnecessary trips to the office, firms can use 4G devices to hold HD video calls with clients or virtual teams. 

3. Back up devices on the go

The days of coming back into the office and backing up your device are well and truly over. With 4G, small businesses can automatically back-up all their documents, images, settings and address books whenever and wherever they are. 

4. Work from anywhere

Small firms will now be able to send large attachments, download files, enabling them to work from anywhere. For architects and surveyors this means they can quickly download 3D CAD plans - rather than waiting to send them from the office’s fixed line connection.

5. Use 4G to get instant connectivity

Getting to market as quickly as possible is crucial for small businesses. Unfortunately many can’t begin trading until they have an internet connection. 4G gives those firms the ability to set up instantly, rather than wait 40 days for a fixed line to be installed.

6. Give your marketing a boost

An effective way to market a small business is to create online videos. They improve online visibility and help firms capture the human element behind their company. 4G’s superfast upload speeds mean small firms, like street food sellers, can instantly upload videos to Facebook, YouTube or Twitter of new recipes being tested, food being cooked or the stall being set up. 

7. Introduce new ways of working

Small businesses can use 4G to innovate by introducing new ways of working. For instance, installation engineers travelling to fix machinery can instantly connect to office systems from the road. Letting customers know when machines can be fixed will increase customer satisfaction and boost efficiencies.

8. Stop waiting for email attachments to download

Downloading an image heavy attachment can cost businesses time. A 20MB document, for instance, will take on average 8.3 seconds to download with 3G. Downloading the same attachment using 4G will reduce this wait to less than a second on average. 

9. Unleash your creative side by brainstorming in the park

Inspire staff to create new business ideas by getting out of the office and brainstorming in interesting locations. For example, hold a brainstorm in a park – with a 4G mobile wifi device staff will have instant access to the internet to research ideas. They can then upload documents to the cloud at the end of the session.

10. Foster a good work life balance culture

The potential to work remotely can help increase employees’ work-life balance, helping them avoid traffic or long commutes into the office. Instant connectivity to the work network means staff will always have the access they need to crucial documents at a moment’s notice. 4G can help increase productivity and may lead to a happier workforce.

Martin Stiven is vice president of Business at EE.

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