Appification, big data, convergence: Fulfilling the 4G potential for business

We are at one of those infrequent but significant turning points in the mobile industry. A combination of widely available smart devices, new tariffs and the introduction of ultrafast mobile broadband is about to release huge opportunities for many businesses. The mobile industry today draws many parallels with the fixed-line market at around the turn of the century. Households were rapidly migrating from using dial-up connections to broadband. The movement unleashed a wave of new investments in websites and Internet services and usage exploded as consumers and enterprises embraced new opportunities.

Today 4G offers a similar change in behaviour. The strong growth of smartphones and seemingly insatiable demand for data is changing our behaviour at home and work once again. CCS Insight forecasts show that in the UK nearly three quarters of mobile phones will be smartphones by the end of this year and that in 2014 half of all phone shipments will be 4G-enabled.

This trend, combined with the explosion in demand for smartphones, will mean a massive increase in the activity and investment levels in apps on smart devices over the next few years. And this movement will require state-of-the-art networks to support it. In fact, we expect nearly everything to become an app: your TV service, your church, your dog (perhaps through a collar with GPS and sensors to read vital signs), your car, your coffee machine, your washing machine, your opticians, your golf clubs, your children’s school, your local builder, your favourite restaurants, that gift shop in Machu Picchu where you bought those delightful placemats and want to order some more. 4G is likely to play a catalytic role in the development and uptake of these new behaviours.

In fact, the potential for businesses from 4G is much greater than just the faster headline speeds that we have seen in some of the early advertising. True, 4G is typically five times quicker than legacy 3G networks.

To read more on the “The role of 4G in ‘the age of me'” then download the latest Perspective series report click here