In a recent blog we looked at the key business benefits that LTE can bring to a specific vertical industry, in this instance the mining sector. But the improvements and enhancements that LTE delivers to mining operations are also translatable to other verticals. Companies operating in particular vertical industries typically have defined business plans and naturally need to control costs – LTE can help them do this, and much more besides.
One of the most important things for enterprises operating in vertical markets is that they need to know their network will deliver no matter what. Their business models are often reliant on consistent, unlimited, high-speed connectivity – LTE gives them this assurance.
Empowering healthcare providers
No matter what vertical a company operates in, LTE delivers key business benefits. Further to the ways it can help mining operations, LTE is having a big impact on healthcare. Because LTE’s speed and reliability is powering the growth of machine-to-machine communications (M2M), new services are being developed and deployed all the time. Doctors are now able to carry out procedures remotely, meaning that heart patients can be monitored and treated at home for example. The heart specialist is connected to the patient by remote devices that enables the doctor to perform an EKG for example and to see how the patient is doing and to adjust their treatment as needed.
Doctors are also able to monitor essential data in real-time, while the M2M tool can alert them to any ad hoc problems and also report medical data automatically. The LTE network’s speed means improved M2M performance and far faster transmission and download of critical data files. So for companies in the healthcare sector, improving safety and quality of life of their patients is now easier than ever – meaning increased customer satisfaction.
Driving change in multiple LTE verticals
In addition to the healthcare sector, LTE is powering the transformation of service delivery in numerous other vertical industries. Transport companies such as bus and train operators are utilizing LTE to deliver in-journey Wi-Fi, with LTE providing the necessary robust connectivity – and possibly even to replace GSM-R in the long term. The automotive industry will be transformed thanks to high-speed LTE enabling the development and deployment of in-car apps, helping to take the connected car further into the mainstream. In the energy and utilities sector, smart grids and smart metering will both also be powered forward by LTE.
In the retail sector, where companies have to manage very tight margins while delivering great customer experience, LTE can be used to create competitive advantage through new and differentiating services. Increased mobility powered by LTE gives retailers a new marketing tool with which to attract and keep customers. Digital signage, in-store marketing direct to customers’ mobile devices, ‘pop-up’ stores connected remotely over mobile to the retailer’s corporate network – all of these are new services that have become a genuine reality thanks to LTE, and all have become new weapons in the retailer’s arsenal.
Similarly companies in the construction industry are finding that LTE allows them to set up temporary networks at a building site, letting them access key applications and tools on the corporate network quickly and easily – with no need to install hardwired cabling and other network infrastructure.
Enabling agility and flexibility
Put simply, LTE lets companies operating in vertical markets work more flexibly and with greater agility, making them leaner, more responsive providers. Thanks to LTE making genuine business mobility a reality, activities which were previously problematic are now the norm. Business applications like large file transfers, the ability to quickly and conveniently set up a new workplace or temporary network, sophisticated machine to machine and remote monitoring applications, mobile working tools like videoconferencing, telepresence and VoLTE, and of course remote access to core business applications are all available to companies in vertical sectors.
Research has shown that companies who take advantage of LTE fast get to reap the benefits more quickly. 47 percent of early LTE adopters say they have seen cost savings, while 39 percent said that they have experienced increased sales. These numbers make a compelling case for LTE and companies in vertical markets are definitely ready to take advantage of it.
David Swift is Senior Manager – Product Marketing for Wireless Networks, Marketing and Strategy at Alcatel-Lucent.