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A new kind of connectivity

We’re excited. Not only is 2020 set to become an important year in the journey of 5G in the UK, we’re proud to be the first UK operator to announce the roll-out of an LTE-M (Long Term Evolution, category M1) network.

LTE-M is a low-power, wide area network (LPWAN) that allows businesses to share small amounts of data between devices. It saves on battery life so these devices can operate for up to 10 years on a single charge.

This will radically alter the entry costs for organisations looking to implement new ideas. Whether that’s asset tracking in logistics, auto-testing smoke detectors or temperature sensors in assisted living accommodation.

This milestone builds on our strong history of success in the IoT space. We’ve already launched O2 Smart Vehicle, transforming fleet safety and efficiency. And we’ve created secure, convenient networks for businesses with O2 Cellular WAN.

Our investment in the LTE-M network reflects our focus on IoT as a key growth area for O2 Business. It’s our biggest step towards deploying long-range IoT communication on a vast scale. And we’re looking forward to building more partnerships with UK businesses to bring new use cases to life.

And with 5G, what began in a handful of cities in 2019 is soon to become a nationwide boost to mobile connectivity that dwarves the impact of previous advances. It’ll bring a huge uplift in data capacity, low latency and vastly improved speeds. But 5G is more than just an upgrade on 4G – as this introduction explains. For individuals, it means no more buffering on the move. But for organisations, there are endless opportunities to transform the way we work.

5G will also usher in new levels of productivity. With powerful edge computing available to anyone in any place, there’s no longer any reason to hold back. It could mean that a fully automated car plant would be able to switch production remotely to match demand. Or a warehouse could be filled with tagged items that are easy to track and prove traceability.

It’s not just about individuals or organisations either. Whole cities are set to be transformed by the ability to connect smart devices over the 5G network. We’ll continue to roll out O2 5G in more and more places in the UK, we’re seeing previous plans for the technology come to fruition.

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality experiences can help train remote workers on critical activities. Sensors in utilities infrastructure can notify central control when there is a problem so issues can be sorted before they affect householders. While real-time monitoring can help advance the concept of e-health and cut the cost of hospital care.

Our “Smart Ambulance” trial to revolutionise patient treatment and reduce hospital numbers is just one of the use cases we’re trialling with 5G. Led by Visonable, and funded by the UK’s innovation agency Innovate UK, we’re providing the devices and connectivity for a trial involving ambulances at the East of England Ambulance Trust.

Many of these use cases are built on the capabilities of the Internet of Things (IoT) – as this explainer shows. The insights and results from other trials with Worcester Bosch and Mazak will help develop a better understanding of the operational efficiencies gained by 5G and IoT.

At the same time, the speed of connectivity is supporting wider transformation efforts. SD-WAN has been called one of the most disruptive networking technologies of the last two decades. It offers organisations more control over network capacity, performance and experiences. And this leads to more flexibility, control and resilience in IT. Plus the ability to push through digital transformation, make the shift to cloud applications and enable a fully mobile workforce. It may or may not be right for you right now, but our toolkit will help you decide.

With so much happening in the world of connectivity, there are obvious questions about managing all these new capabilities. If you’re into the technical detail, here’s our CTO guide to the 5G network.

We also get that for many people focused on day-to-day activities the number one thing about connectivity is that it should just work. So whether it’s your fixed lines, mobile or wifi, we can integrate them all on a single platform – O2 Gateway. You can choose from multiple services, future-ready foundations and scalable, cost-effective communications – all on one contract. Meanwhile, your users get full access to your corporate network from anywhere. On any device. Securely. Our guide will help you see how O2 Gateway can help to digitally transform your organisation.

If you’re on O2, you can rely on our network, including 16,000 O2 Wifi hotspots in the UK. We’ve been voted the Best Network for Coverage for the past three years by Uswitch. And while we’re rolling out 5G coverage across the country, we’re also investing £2 million a day to transform coverage for individuals, organisations and communities.

 

As the demand for faster connectivity keeps on growing, you can talk to us about all your networking needs. Contact us today.

 

Here’s a list of the supporting content mentioned in this blog:



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