LTE + Cloud Computing + X = The Internet of Things

In late November, Cradlepoint product manager David Rush blogged (“Is LTE the Winner? Follow the Money” and “Whatever Happened to WiMax?”) about how LTE appears to have won the race for the “wireless technology of the future.” LTE and two other changes in technology have combined to make wireless connectivity the intelligent choice for secure, reliable network access at distributed enterprise locations. The two other factors are:

  1. The movement to the cloud of business-critical applications and services.
  2. The rise of mobility as a key to gaining competitive advantage.

In this blog post, I'll expand on Factor #1. I'll address Factor #2 in a subsequent  post.

The Shift from Local Storage to the Cloud
Back in the 1980s, when local area networks were first being developed, the question on the minds of many technologists was how soon LANs would catch on—when the “Year of the LAN” would arrive. A few years later, these same people looked around and realized, “Hey, everything’s connected! I guess LANs have caught on.”

Fast forward to the early 2000s when people were buzzing about “The Cloud! The Cloud!” As in the 80s, everyone wondered if this new technology would ever make it “across the chasm” and become a mainstream solution. Here we are a decade later, and cloud computing has clearly arrived.

According to PC Connection's 2013 Outlook on Technology: Cloud Computing Survey, “nearly 70 percent of companies have either adopted the cloud or are currently in the process.” Very few companies have locally connected file servers anymore. Servers need to be maintained. They need to be cooled. You need to add more of them as your business grows. They break down. They burn up in fires. And we’ve seen in the news where they’ve even been stolen.

So as companies realize that they could put networks, servers, storage, applications, and services off- premise, they are jumping at the chance to lower capital expenses and use their resources to become more nimble – and at the same time – much more secure.

But as the importance of the cloud grows, so too does the need for reliable Internet and network connections. After all, if you’re a retail branch location and lose the ability to process credit card processing, you’ll lose money and, potentially, customers too. (After Amazon went down this past August, Forbes Magazine calculated that it cost the company $66,240.00 per minute in lost sales.) Plus, let’s not underestimate the impact to one’s Brand when this kind of outage happens.

For years, businesses have relied on DSL, cable connections, or T1 lines to provide uptime. Wireless connectivity for the Enterprise was too unreliable, they said, with too little bandwidth or too much latency. But that all changed with the advent of LTE. Now that major carriers are investing heavily in LTE infrastructure, businesses have gained the confidence to use LTE for failover—and, increasingly, as their primary connection. As recent weather disasters have demonstrated, it takes much less time and expense to reestablish wireless connections than it does to patch an underground cable network.

Whether you’re running credit card transactions, digital signage, guest WiFi or back-office accounting apps, Cradlepoint 4G LTE-enabled wireless technology gives you the bandwidth, the reliability, and the latency you need to support your shift to cloud services and applications.

In my next post, I’ll talk about how companies are using mobility in interesting new ways to gain competitive advantage.