Deepak Halan over at ConsultBenefIT has an informative article about 3G services and the role it will play in the enterprise sector. Service providers are surely seeing large companies and businesses as huge revenue sources with respect to 3G services. At a time when 4G launch rumours are doing the rounds on the internet in India, many companies are yet to make the jump to 3G services. This maybe because of initial apprehension, unavailability of capable handsets, high prices or the simple reason of a company not needing 3G. A study conducted by IMRB revealed that 85% of their sample audience was aware of 3G and nearly 75% felt that it would help their businesses.
Halan goes on to describe various situations under which a businesses might benefit from 3G services. For instance if a company’s workforce has to travel a lot or if they need to handle outstation clients, 3G, specifically video calling can come in handy. Apart from just video calling and conferencing the huge number of applications available on various smartphone and tablet platforms also assist in everyday business activities. Clearly Blackberry, the current leader in enterprise at least in India lags far behind in the variety of apps offered in the App World, hell it doesn’t even have a usable browser.
The playbook might have some scope in this space but the recently launched Cicso tablet (which I came to know of through Twitter’s promoted trends) has a lot more enterprise grade features (meaning words normal people can’t understand) than the RIM tablet. Getting back to the discussion on 3G it is obvious that currently only platforms with a sizable amount of quality apps will survive in the enterprise as well as the consumer market and will help users truly leverage the high speeds offered by third generation networks.
Video calling and VoIP are two features which would help companies and businesses save lots of money by eliminating the need of voice plans. Add to that collaboration on the go and you have a company which not only cuts on costs but also maximizes earnings by empowering employees to work from anywhere. Always-on internet connection also allow employers to monitor their workforce through Location based services, something which Tata Docomo has recently taken a shot at. Besides these a lot of other business activities like supply chain management, customer relationship management, account management, ERP can be done on the move using 3G. These apps, which are very critical for running businesses, are known as Line of Business Apps (LOBA) in the corporate world.
As companies have learnt, there are various barriers in the move towards 3G. First is the high cost of fully featured 3G phones which deter their entry into the world of 3G. Second is of course the high priced 3G data plans and the last one is limited 3G coverage. In fact complaining about the last reason got a Vodafone customer into legal trouble which was resolved later.
It will definitely take some time for businesses to hop on the 3G bandwagon. Will early adopters have an edge over their non-3G counterparts? Seems doubtful given that a lot of services work just fine on 2G networks.
So how long till 3G becomes the default data standard in India?