The debate over whether enterprises need to equip employees with mobile devices that have reliable, sustained wireless Internet connectivity has been long settled: boardrooms across the world have answered that question with a resounding “yes.” But how they should do so is still an open debate.
While some companies have turned to smartphone tethering, others have turned to external 4G adapters or mobile hotspots. And some, often ones that overlook the need for a stringent connectivity policy, force employees to rely on public Wi-Fi by default. These solutions enable connectivity, but they lack comprehensiveness and infrequently satisfy the needs of everyone in the company. External 4G adapters can be broken, lost or stolen, creating inventory churn and management costs—and while smartphone tethering provides a good temporary solution, it can be cumbersome to configure and drains the phone battery. Public Wi-Fi can be convenient and affordable, but introduces instability and a security risk that could end up costing much more than the total savings.
But with broader access to fast 4G networks worldwide and more flexible 4G data plans, many companies are choosing to purchase laptops, 2-in-1s, and tablets with embedded 4G LTE technology. Qualcomm Snapdragon LTE modems can be found in many of the latest Windows 10 tablets and 2-in-1s, including the recently announced HP Elite x2 1012, a device that offers the productivity of a full notebook and the mobility of a 4G tablet—all built for business.
With this new 4G tablet, the mobile professional can take the Internet with them wherever they go without needing to search for the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot—a remarkably appealing way to heighten workforce productivity.
The most obvious benefit of built-in 4G LTE is the increase in employee productivity. Just as packet loss in live streaming over Wi-Fi can cause consumers to give up on watching a movie or live event, an unstable and unreliable connection for business can cause off-site employees to close their laptops in frustration and give up on work until they’re home or back at the office. This lack of connectivity when and where you need it results not only in lower productivity but a poor work-life balance, as many find themselves adjusting their personal schedules to facilitate when and where they might be able to connect to get their work done.
4G LTE changes the work flow completely and delivers unparalleled performance wherever employees may be, allowing them to be productive and get work done in the moment, when the ideas are still fresh and deadlines imminent—at the airport, on the bus, in a cab, at the hotel, or even right at the customer site.
This new wireless freedom increases productivity on the job while enhancing time away from the office with family and friends.
Historically, the challenge with mobile broadband, especially when compared to public Wi-Fi, has been its fixed monthly subscription. In contrast, Wi-Fi service has always been available on an ad hoc, as needed basis. This has resulted in businesses often deploying mobile broadband to only the elite few who are considered road warriors within their company, leaving everyone else to rely on public Wi-Fi when they need it, which is typically only occasionally, perhaps when they travel to a conference, customer meeting, or tradeshow.
Recently, this approach has changed dramatically with many 4G LTE service providers offering new flexible data plans for business users. For the occasional traveler, businesses can offer pay-as-you-go plans, similar to Wi-Fi, but available on fast 4G LTE networks. Or they can share a 4G data plan across smartphones, tablets, and laptops to maximize the return on mobile data investment. With some sponsored data plans, a company can even restrict 4G access to specific business-critical applications, which lowers the monthly data cost on corporate liable laptops and tablets—allowing companies to pay only for the data needed to keep the business up and running.
Consequently, always-on mobile broadband connectivity is no longer exclusive to road warriors. Virtually every employee can now take advantage of fast built-in 4G connectivity in laptops, 2-in-1s, and tablets in a cost-effective manner.
The HP Elite x2 with built-in Snapdragon X5 LTE technology is expected to start shipping in the United States in January 2016, through the HP online shopping portal and its retail partners, accepting pre-orders now.
Qualcomm Snapdragon is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.