Though many industries have adopted a distributed workforce, organizations are also concerned that remote employees could be distracted, less productive and less engaged with coworkers. The historic limitations of collaboration technologies, dependency on older wired networks and the insufficient bandwidth of wireless 3G and 4G networks resulted in a notable difference in the feel and performance between the distributed and onsite workforces, some managers have found.
Of the historical limitations that demand resolution in order to create a productive workspace, the most significant are the limitations of 3G/4G and the reliance on inflexible wired networks that prevent real-time collaboration in today's distributed, digital workforce. After all, wireless 3G/4G networks do not have the capacity to cope with all the demands and performance requirements of the modern digital workplace. And without high-speed broadband, the most sophisticated applications cannot even judder along.
With the pending arrival of 5G network capabilities, organizations and employees will immediately feel the freedom these technologies unlock for the distributed workforce. The resulting changes to applications, services and workplace design will subsequently fall like dominoes, creating a workforce renaissance that results in true production parity, agnostic of location.
This renaissance will lead to a revolution where workplace production parity becomes table stakes for industry leaders looking to attract and retain top talent. Those who remain tethered to the wired world will sharply feel the shackles of increasingly expensive office space, a retiring legacy workforce and a stagnation of innovation within their very confining walls. Forget hiring millennials or top graduates. They won't even consider joining a firm with such antiquated practices.
No one will deny collaboration among a dispersed workforce is inherently slower than live interaction. But the limitations to creativity and performance of scheduled, time bound collaboration today’s distributed workforce requires won't be part of a 5G digital workplace. What would be the difference between physically knocking on an office door or rapping via virtual reality if the person on the other side of the door has the same experience? Will doors even exist in the future digital workplace?
New use cases
5G capabilities will power new collaboration use cases for technologies that will unlock real-time collaboration between people and machines. This will result in advancements in augmented reality and VR and achieve the full potential of the digital workplace. Together, this will empower distributed workers to become fully immersed members of their teams, allowing them to interact with teammates, uninhibited by lagging video communications or slow Internet speed. A virtual presence will be as meaningful and significant as a physical presence.
The arrival of 5G and high-speed broadband will empower collaboration between colleagues anywhere, on any device, at any time and put pressure on those organizations that force employees to work traditional hours on-site. (Source: Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash)
Eventually, remote employees will be able to view and interact with a virtual image of a boardroom, break room or other collaborative space, making every setting a fully functioning digital work environment. Regardless of whether they are in a café or home office, as long as a 5G-enabled network is available they will work as though they were physically onsite. They'll have spontaneous, organic, creative interactions as well as traditional scheduled interactions. Like the monumental beating of the Turing Test by artificial intelligence, the digital workspace of the near future will create true parity between employee production from both physical and virtual employees. The new race will be to see which companies can shed their physical skins fastest and reap the full benefits of the digital workplace.
Like the Wizard of Oz, behind the proverbial red curtain is the network performance of 5G networks. Compare downloading an HD movie: it could take over an hour on a 3G network and several minutes on a 4G network; on a 5G network, it would take fractions of a second. With a network that can upload and download data at that rate, latency issues become an outdated concept and technologies like AR/VR will be fully realized in a brand new way.
It is important to note that while 5G capabilities will arrive at your doorstep, it is up to industry leaders to ensure these benefits are fully realized for individual employees. Reskilling and transforming your internal workforce must occur now. Selecting vendors that have both an understanding of the vision for 5G inside your walls and the technical expertise to help accelerate your transformation is key. Developing clear use cases for partners will be essential to unlocking the full potential of 5G and your digital workplace. It is also important to note that significant changes in regulation and privacy must occur in order to create an ecosystem for applications to thrive and grow.
Without a doubt, 5G will be end the non-productive workspace and sound the arrival of the true digital workplace. Organizations that plan for the wave of change 5G will bring will find themselves in the driver's seat of tomorrow’s digital workplace.
On Jan. 23, Broadband World News hosts a Calix-sponsored webinar that explores several ways CSPs can enhance customer experience and find new business opportunities to avoid devolving into a speed race where nobody wins, not even the customer.
The lack of an accurate broadband map means states and counties are tackling this issue themselves – and sometimes finding big disparities in the data – before spending their residents' money on deploying infrastructure.
Next year many operators must decide whether to invest more in HFC or go all-in to fiber, pick their PON and choose their managed-WiFi path, writes analyst Dan Grossman, who also recommends providers bundle managed WiFi and analytics to best serve residential subscribers -- and operators' own businesses.
Public-private partnerships, investor interest, self-help in rural areas and incumbents' return set the scene for a busy year of broadband deployment in the US countryside in 2020, writes Analyst Dan Grossman.
It wasn't long ago that TV was ranked by subscribers as the most important service in the bundle provided by their communications service provider (CSP). Recent research indicates that for nearly three quarters of subscribers, broadband is now the most important service. Broadcast TV is the most important service to only 15% of North American consumers, replaced by OTT video streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+. In addition, many different competitors are moving aggressively to stake a claim in consumers' homes.
In 2020, CSPs need to fight back by transforming their business models, which are becoming more reliant on a single source of revenue: fixed broadband services.
This webinar will focus on helping CSPs transform their business models by placing a firm focus on delivering a sensational subscriber experience and by offering compelling new services that generate value for subscribers. These actions will reinforce the CSP's strategic position in the home network and position themselves for growth in the next decade.
Key topics include:
Being the first to market with WiFi 6 technology, in response to consumer purchases of new devices over the holidays;
Having the insights needed to proactively resolve issues, often before your subscribers even know that there are issues;
Providing help desk agents with the visibility they need to resolve common subscriber issues more quickly;
Delivering a mobile app, in response to consumer demands for the ability to do some things themselves, rather than having to call technical support; and
Addressing consumer concerns around device security, privacy and control with enhanced security and parental controls.
In this insightful Light Reading radio show, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will outline the key service provider challenges, deployment considerations, next-gen Gigabit technologies, and service models to win market share in the rapidly growing MDU market.