Always on, always connected

So what options do users have when looking at mobile connectivity?

May 20, 2013

Being connected has become such a part of our daily routine that it is unheard of to not check email, send a social network update, or edit a document in the cloud wherever we find ourselves. And given the increase in Wi-Fi hotspots, one could live ‘always on’ without too much effort.

“Companies see improvements in productivity when employees are able to work remotely and access the corporate network while travelling,” says Mike van Lier, Business Leader for IT Solutions at Samsung Electronics South Africa. “These employees can provide live feedback from the field to ensure that data is always relevant and all internal stakeholders know exactly what the latest developments are. What’s more, mobile data rates have become more competitive to provide business users and consumers with affordable options when it comes to the connected experience.”

However, some companies are still hesitant to provide all their employees with mobile modems as the potential associated costs can outweigh the benefits. Even if the devices are pooled, it still places an unnecessary logistical burden on the IT department to manage usage and rotation of devices and offering troubleshooting support to a user who might be on the other side of the country and not able to install the software properly.

Yet, few can argue against the convenience of utilising a Wi-Fi hotspot while having coffee in between meetings or spending the night at a hotel while away on business. Often, it is as easy as just looking for hotspots that are available, and connecting. But when access is not free, having to justify hotspot charges on the monthly expenses becomes a burden and not an advantage.

So what options do users have when looking at mobile connectivity?

“One of the ideal solutions is for the company to work with a device manufacturer that has a Wi-Fi partnership in place to provide that important last link in the connectivity chain,” adds van Lier. “Such a partnership means that Wi-Fi connectivity does not become an additional expense, but is instead a value-add on the more powerful mobile devices from the manufacturer such as notebooks, tablet PCs and even smartphones.”

Samsung SA’s recent partnership with AlwaysOn offers customers 1GB of free* Wi-Fi data for every Samsung device owned, every month for 12 months, using the country-wide network of more than 1 000 local AlwaysOn hotspots. Each user with a supported device will be in control of his or her own hotspot usage for the period. Quite often, the data provided is sufficient for all but the most resource-intensive users. And even then, these would be in the minority and they would have a good business justification for the higher usage. For these few, the company can allocate 3G modems or provide a hotspot expense account.

The mobile connectivity offered becomes a business enabler. Instead of employees having to battle with 3G modems that might not be installed properly, it now becomes as easy as using the built-in Wi-Fi functionality of the notebook, scanning for an available AlwaysOn hotspot, and logging in with your credentials. Unlike a 3G modem, each Samsung notebook or Samsung tablet PC will have their own separate data limit, when accessing the AlwaysOn network. Having hotspot connectivity also means that there is no need to continually move the dongle from one device to another.

“There are very few business reasons to not look at a manufacturer that has such a hotspot partnership in place. Not only will employee productivity increase, but operational expenses will also be greatly reduced. And that, in the ultra-competitive world of today, holds significant business value,” concludes van Lier.

To find the AlwaysOn hotspot location closest to them, Samsung customers can go to http://finder.alwayson.co.za.

*Samsung Wi-Fi enabled smart devices purchased after March 2010 qualify for this service.