This year marks the first of a new decade and I would be remiss if I didn’t reflect on the changing nature of connectivity during the last ten years. It has been interesting to witness the evolution of people and businesses’ relationship with data and connectivity – for example, the ongoing debate around privacy, security and access.
The issue with WiFi and traditional cellular connectivity
Traditionally, most enterprises have relied on WiFi to enable different mobile connectivity services and even Internet of Things (IoT) applications within the shop, warehouse, factory or office – but its shortcomings are evident.
“The main challenge is that WiFi lacks reliability and security.”
So, many enterprises are increasingly using traditional cellular networks to enable their mobile-first strategies. Yet, what enterprises gain in reliability and security with this approach, they sacrifice in terms of visibility and control. Cellular coverage can also be patchy: an enterprise may see poor performance in certain locations, as international connectivity is dependent on their mobile network operator’s roaming partners.
“I expect that, to overcome these limitations, more and more enterprises will turn to using private mobile networks, complemented by a global, virtual private mobile network.”
This powerful combination puts control back in the hands of enterprises, enabling them to capture, move and manage data seamlessly around the world, not just inside the organisation but between their customers and partners too. Crucially, as cyber-attacks grow in volume and complexity while more and more ‘things’ get connected, this combination ensures data security too.
Transforming air travel with global virtual private mobile networks
Increasingly all businesses rely on low-latency connectivity, but no more so than the airline industry. There are a lot of ‘things’ and people that need seamless connectivity at an airport, from luggage tracking to electronic flight bags. It’s also an environment that depends on punctuality, which is only possible through instant and continuous access to data. All of this puts pressure on public cellular and WiFi networks.
Through re-imagined mobile connectivity, airlines are able to gain real-time visibility over this critical infrastructure in real-time and overcome common network performance issues at airports. This ensures that cabin crew and pilots have more reliable connectivity, no matter where they’ll land.
“It gives them seamless access to crucial data such as passenger manifests, catering stock information, flight plans and fuel requirements, which makes ground handling more efficient and improves turn-around times.”
The additional challenge in airports is that any IT failure, loss of connectivity or a security breach can cause costly delays that lead to customer dissatisfaction and fines. We saw several examples of this in 2019, for example the British Airways IT failure that resulted in 500 flights being either cancelled or delayed in the high holiday season in August. Just two hours of unplanned aircraft maintenance can cost anything up to US$150,000, so in these types of scenarios, the high performance, reliability and security of a private mobile network with dedicated bandwidth can be hugely beneficial.
The airline industry is not the only form of travel enterprise to which reliable and secure connectivity is integral. In part two of this blog, I will explore how the combination of a private mobile network and a global virtual private mobile network can underpin a connected car ecosystem through borderless IoT connectivity, and how businesses can take back control of their infrastructure.
Read part 2 of this blog here.