Many employers are using a range of technologies such as smartphones, tablets and notebook computers to support flexible working arrangements and seize new business opportunities.
But the potential these devices hold is also prompting employers to adopt forms of technology that will support new styles of working as they evolve in future.
For example, businesses are increasingly taking advantage of mobile applications delivered from the cloud or the data centre, as well as the latest wireless technologies to facilitate easier transition for activity-based and flexible working. These changes have also prompted many to adopt new, proactive approaches to security in order to better manage and monitor the flow of information through their organisation.
Here is a more detailed view of a handful of technologies enabling new modes of work for businesses in Australia and around the world.
Thin client terminals
Businesses are now able to replace physical desktops and notebooks with thin client terminals, such as the VXL C series, that run virtual desktops delivered from the cloud. Compared to desktop PCs, thin client terminals typically operate with lower power consumption and less noise, and many take up less space on a user’s desk. In addition, because the desktops themselves reside in the data centre, they can be called up on any connected thin client terminal. Other benefits include faster login times and the ability to seamlessly swap a failed terminal for a new terminal without losing any data. Many hospitals are installing thin client terminals to enable doctors to access their desktops on the closest device available as they travel through wards, administration and other areas.
The cloud is a crucial enabler of mobility, and the quality of services available from vendors is improving rapidly. For example, Stoneware is delivering technologies that allow businesses to create a unified cloud that delivers private data centres, public-facing platforms and local device resources through a common web desktop online portal. The company’s software enables users to access files, applications and reports on their personal devices without having to use a VPN. This helps people work when and where they choose, allowing them to accommodate both personal and employer priorities.
Emerging wireless technologies and standards promise to increase the speed, range and performance of wireless networks and pave the way for machine-to-machine and Internet of Things communications. These technologies and standards include Wi-Fi standards 802.11ac and 802.11ad (which add more speed, stability and capacity) and Bluetooth Smart (which enables Bluetooth devices to operate more power-efficiently).
These and more established wireless technologies present tremendous opportunities for small to medium businesses. However, companies looking to improve their use of wireless should focus primarily on business requirements and outcomes rather than the technologies themselves. For example, a business may need to improve the way it tracks inventory on its premises to minimise loss and improve customer service. Implementing radio frequency identification can help reduce these losses and enable team members to find stock quickly.
Proactive security monitoring
Proactive security monitoring services enable businesses to take positive steps to protect equipment and information from potential breaches. Businesses can complement firewalls and other defensive technologies with third-party proactive monitoring of their systems. These services use experts and monitoring tools to identify and resolve customers’ security issues before they do too much damage. They may help minimise the risk presented by people accessing corporate data on personal devices and help businesses operating in sensitive areas, such as critical infrastructure, quickly isolate and deal with unauthorised intrusions into their systems.
Enterprise mobility management
These tools enable businesses to manage wireless networks and their employees’ mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets. The technologies available allow companies to monitor and control the security of devices and data, the applications running on the devices and the financial arrangements involved. Businesses should ensure the tool they select supports a range of devices and operating systems to minimise the number of users who are denied the ability to access corporate data on their devices.
Exploring the possibilities presented by new technologies is non-negotiable for small to medium businesses that want to remain competitive. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for SMBs in the current marketplace – each needs to evaluate leading products and services to see which one aligns with their specific requirements.
To find out more about the technologies that will shape the future of Australian work, download our free white paper.