How Will the IoT Be Shaped by 5G Connectivity?

network digital hologram and internet of things on city background.5G network wireless systems.

If there’s any technology that has received hype in recent months, 5G connectivity has to at least be a contender for the most anticipated. The fifth generation of wireless connectivity is staged to benefit society and businesses alike through improved automation—particularly with the concurrent growth of the Internet of Things helping to develop the next iteration of the economy. Let’s consider how 5G is shaping up, and the impacts that it will likely have in the future.

How 5G Began the Year

While we’ve been hearing about the purported miracles that 5G will be capable of for some time now, it wasn’t until 2020 that we saw actual action taken by telecom providers. These 5G connections offered a few impactful benefits:

  1. Lower latency – 5G connectivity promises to basically eliminate the latency issues people have with their wireless cellular applications.
  2. Increased rates – With a 5G connection, faster wireless speeds allow data to be transmitted, providing users with content quicker.
  3. Enhanced capacity – As 5G grows in popularity, more devices will be able to be connected, meaning more can be done.

Of course, as with every other upgrade made to as significant an infrastructure as that which supports our cellular networks, things won’t change overnight. There will need to be some time spent, both on assembling the new infrastructures necessary and introducing devices that support 5G connectivity.

How Will 5G Connectivity Impact the Internet of Things?

Along with the development of 5G, the Internet of Things has seen stupendous growth, with an estimated 26 billion IoT devices existing in 2020. Once the aforementioned improvements made with 5G connectivity become fully mainstream, businesses will have the option to do so much more involving the IoT. Let’s consider a few ways the IoT will likely see expanded usage:

  1. Manufacturing – Perhaps no other industry will see gains of the same significance that manufacturers will. A low-latency, high-speed connection means that business can happen in virtual real time, with massive amounts of data processed and rendered to make decision-making simpler and a more dynamic process and making quality control, procurement, distribution, and customer relationship management all far better as smart technology actively tracks and reports data at remarkable speed.
  2. Supply chain – Traditionally, supply chain management has required a lot of oversight. IoT has been slowly deployed to make this process more efficient, something that 5G connectivity and issue reporting capabilities that today’s smart devices have will use to improve businesses’ ability to manage their supply chain effectively.
  3. Municipal – Municipal services are seeing greater amounts of automation thanks to the implementation of 5G. It is becoming more likely that we will begin to see “smart cities” developed where essential utilities such as water, sewer, traffic, and electricity are all managed through the use of IoT devices that modulate the need for changes to these systems with very little human oversight, potentially saving taxpayers considerable capital.
  4. Autonomous vehicles – Self-driving cars and trucks are one of the more pronounced benefits that the IoT could offer via 5G connectivity. While a process like this takes a lot of data to implement safely, 5G and its high speeds and low latencies could finally make it practicable.
  5. Healthcare – Finally, it’s been predicted that 5G will make healthcare far more efficient by better handling the enormous amount of data that is sent and received. Once the speeds attainable by this network are utilized en masse, patient data will be more readily available to the medical professionals who need it.

The intersection of 5G and the Internet of Things certainly seems to hold great promise, but time will only tell what ultimately comes of it. Whatever the future may have in store, you could rest confidently knowing that 4 Corner IT is taking care of your business’ technology. Reach out to us at (954) 474-2204 to discuss how your operations could be optimized.

Automation Technology: Benefits and Concerns

Robotic hand pressing a keyboard on a laptop 3D rendering

With the advent of more advanced technology, many workers are understandably concerned about automation and the impact it could have on their jobs. Computers systems grow more advanced each and every year, leading to improvements in artificial intelligence that have unskilled workers in certain industries where automation is king. Let’s explore some of these concerns, including why some of them have merit while others may be a long way off yet.

How Do We Define Automation Technology?

Automation in its most simple context is anytime technology is used to fulfill tasks that would normally be performed by humans. The idea is that as human input is minimized; workflows can be made more predictable, repeatable, and efficient, reducing the risk of user error and other unforeseen issues getting in the way. Computing systems have been using automation for a long time, but recent innovations in artificial intelligence and machine learning have opened up the floodgates to a whole new realm of possibilities, leading many workers to question whether they will be replaced by technology in the near future.

Should Workers Be Worried?

The answer to this question is not as clear as you might think. Some people are worried when they really should not be, whereas others have much more cause for concern. About a quarter of today’s workforce feel that automation might come for their jobs within the next five years. Young people in particular are worried about the future of their jobs (about 37 percent), as they are generally more aware of how technology can influence businesses to work toward automation. There is a trend showcasing that the older a worker is, the less likely they feel they can be replaced by an automated system.

Age disparity and the income difference associated with it also play a part in this equation. 34 percent of workers that make less than $50,000 annually are fearful their job will be automated. From that point onward, the fear decreases exponentially as income increases. Since most jobs being replaced by automation are filled by unskilled workers, this trend is hardly surprising.

If you look at automation by industry, you will find that many human jobs have already been lost to it. In industries like automotive, business support and logistics, advertising and marketing, and retail, automation presents considerable risk to jobholders.

Truck drivers are the perfect example of those who might be concerned about these developments in automation technology. Self-driving trucks are not just a developing technology; they are already here. With the signing of legislation and a bit of further refinement, truck drivers could very well be at risk of losing their jobs. The biggest concern here is that these workers may not have other skill sets that could land them employment elsewhere—at least not with the same financial stability as with their current profession.

The long and short of it is that most workers know if their jobs are in any danger of being replaced by automation, and while they might not be ecstatic about switching careers, the truth of the matter is that automation takes away opportunities and replaces them with new ones.

Can Automation Technology Help Workers?

While many workers worry about their jobs due to automation, much more are using it to make their jobs easier and more manageable. People have specific skill sets that allow them to succeed in any given role, but it is a fact that much of managing a business involves small repetitive tasks. Technology can be used to make these tasks easier to accomplish, allowing employees to refocus their efforts and skillsets on larger tasks that would otherwise be mired underneath everyday operations. When skilled employees are allowed to flourish in this fashion and utilize their skills to the best of their abilities, productivity can soar. If automation is used to this end, businesses have much to gain from it.

Through automation, companies can save money, work smarter (not harder), and fully leverage their available resources. When businesses are operating as efficiently as possible, the quality of their products/services and demand for them can increase, leading to the creation of more jobs and opportunities for workers. Does this scenario sound likely to you? What are your thoughts on automation in the workplace? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments and check our blog regularly for technology-related content.

Protect Your Business by Updating Your Software

render of hardware with band aids on it. Computer Processor Bug Patch Concept

Software is a critical part of your business. Without it, you would have to do everything manually. In fact, most businesses couldn’t do what they do without their software. That’s why it is so surprising that many businesses don’t actively patch their software. Let’s take a look at our patch management service and why it’s such a huge benefit.

A decade or so ago, keeping your software updated wasn’t as important as it is today. You might get some new features every so often, but that was usually it. Today, things are so much different. It is now one of the most important services that we provide to our clients. This is because threats have become much more prevalent and dangerous to a business.

How Patch Management Works

Basically, your software gets a fair amount of updates. Developers are constantly adding features and patching would-be vulnerabilities. If you don’t have a process in place to patch your version of the software, you can be operating with holes in your network. These holes are exploited by opportunistic hackers and then you have much bigger problems. Companies like ours and in-house IT departments need to consistently patch software to ensure those holes are filled.

Using our remote monitoring and management software we can not only keep tabs on all of your hardware and all of your network resources, we can also use it to quickly update your software. This software needs to be patched as well. In fact, there have been stories of companies that manage other companies’ networks and patch management getting hacked because they didn’t actively patch their RMM tool. Not only is this just embarrassing, it illustrates just how critical the entire process is.

2021 Challenges

When dealing with technology, if you want it to work for your business, you need to realize it’s not simple. Consider for a second all the changes that had to be incorporated over the past year:

  • The need to support remote work
  • New and expanded cloud capabilities to facilitate this remote work
  • Software management needs
  • Frequent updates to these software solutions

Every line item there has a litany of tasks associated with it. It also comes with some downtime. Software patches often require system reboots, which can lead to interrupted productivity.

Easy Patch Management Tips

At 4Corner IT, our technicians can help keep the downtime associated with patches and updates from impacting your staff’s productivity by scheduling these patches to be applied when there’s little-to-no traffic. It’s an easy solution to what could be a major problem.

If you insist on handling this issue yourself, however, here are a couple tips:

  • Know What You’re Using – You need to keep track of the software solutions that you use, just so you can be sure that all of them are maintained appropriately.
  • Respect The Need For Updates – While an individual can maybe get away with missing a software update for a little while, a business doesn’t have that luxury.
  • Maintenance Needs To Be Prompt – Once official software updates are released, they should be tested on a sample group and implemented across your network.

If you would like to get some professional perspective about your business’ software and how to manage and maintain systems that run it, give our experts a call at (954) 474-2204 today.

5 Reasons Remote Monitoring and Maintenance is Essential

Smart Home Security System concept background. Protection software of IOT or internet of things. Cyber security of house devices. 3D isometric home of lights digits protected shield

While reliable technology support has always been important, the sudden and widespread adoption of remote work by so many businesses has made it an essential component for an organization’s success. However, for your team members to have technology that continues to serve them as they do so, it is important that they are able to receive the same support as they would in the office. To accomplish this, remote monitoring and maintenance has proven to be a critical resource, providing a litany of benefits. Let’s go into what these benefits are, and how they take shape through the implementation of this method of receiving support.

What is Remote Monitoring and Maintenance (RMM)?

As a managed service provider, a considerable portion of our responsibility is to be sure that our clients’ technology is operating as it should. To do so, a methodology known as remote monitoring and maintenance is employed.

RMM solutions give our team the capability to keep track of our clients’ technology solutions from a distance, thereby enabling us to diagnose, mitigate, and resolve many IT issues that would otherwise cause operational headaches (or worse). As such, we can deliver considerable value to those we serve. With our real-time monitoring tools, many issues can be detected before their impacts become noticeable.

This, in turn, translates to considerable benefits. Let’s go over these benefits now, to demonstrate how RMM supplements a business’ operations:

Proactive Maintenance, and All That Comes With It

Our services as an MSP are all about embracing proactivity whenever the opportunity arises, and remote monitoring and maintenance is the perfect vehicle to this very outcome. Our solutions will keep an eye on your infrastructure, alerting our team at the first sign of an issue and enabling us to solve it—often before you or your team members realize that an issue is present.

In addition to active issue resolution, this proactive maintenance means that we’ll also keep track of any updates that are available for your solutions and apply them appropriately.

Minimized Downtime

As any business owner knows, “downtime” is technically a four-letter word in the workplace. Depending on the severity of the event, even a brief instance can incur significant financial costs. Thanks to the inherent proactivity of RMM, most downtime events can be avoided (and their financial repercussions sidestepped) so that your business processes are effectively untouched by any issues.

Improved Security

RMM can also help you to keep your business better protected against threats. One of the primary reasons that cyberattacks can get to be so severe is that many are not detected until long after the fact.

However, with remote monitoring in place, our team of professionals can be alerted of even the smallest sign of a potential breach. This puts us in place to resolve the underlying problem and keep your business safe.

Ensured Productivity

Let’s jump back to the impacts of minimizing downtime for a moment. One of the most important, and most prioritized, aspects in any business is the level of productivity that can be maintained. Eliminating your downtime is one of the few ways to do so that can have a 100 percent impact on your productivity. The fewer issues your employees encounter, the more they will be able to accomplish—something that our proactive maintenance facilitates.

Streamlined Cost of Ownership

Everyone likes to save money, right? Unfortunately, a lot of the technology that a business relies on can swiftly cause costs to rise expeditiously. A lot of this is due to the combination of maintenance needs after the fact, and the downtime that is incurred in the meantime.

However, by avoiding this by means of proactive maintenance through a predictable and budgeted service, these costs can be reduced significantly, helping your business that much more.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the benefits that remote monitoring and maintenance provide—or you’d like to experience them for yourself—give 4Corner IT a call at (954) 474-2204.

Why Your Business Should Undergo a Digital Transformation

it service management

While most companies recognize they should at least have a web presence online, there is so much more technology available to help them become more efficient and provide improved customer service, as well as offering something they may not have even realized, this being better decision-making. With companies getting more and more competitive, it’s becoming more important than ever to take advantage of any and all opportunities to remain in the forefront of the pack.

Why a Digital Transformation? 

In order to determine why a company would want to undergo a digital transformation, it must be defined. A digital transformation involves the integration of technology into all aspects of running a business, developing a new digital foundation that influences every facet of operation, as well as how a business delivers value to their customers. The reason why many companies decide to take on this type of transformation is because the results typically show measurable and impressive improvements in key areas of business operations.

Improved Employee Efficiency

Digitizing manual processes and tasks that employees routinely perform make take some time up front to develop but once manual tasks become automated, it frees up employees to focus their time and effort elsewhere. Traditional functions involving payroll, accounting, and finance often center around repetitive tasks that are fairly easily automated. Once employees can break away from manual processing, they can focus on other projects that require a more hands-on focus.

Improving the Customer Experience

Customers always appreciate streamlined, thoughtful improvements in their experience with a business. Automating customer interaction processes reduces wait times, and providing a 24/7 customer outreach mechanism allows customers to reach out with questions or comments when it’s most convenient for them. By using a CRM (customer relationship management) application, employees can view a customer’s question, find out all the necessary information, and provide an immediate full response, as well as additional information they think is helpful. By going the extra mile, customers feel appreciated and customer representatives have an opportunity to expand a sale and/or provide extra goodwill.

Improved Security

Digitizing corporate data is one of the foundational ways in which a company can protect such a vital asset. Manually stored data is vulnerable to theft, loss, and natural disasters such as a flood or fire. By automating all data including pertinent information such as customer and vendor contacts, payroll information, employee profile data, sales orders, etc., companies have protected their most vital resource — corporate data that allows them to function on a daily basis. By developing a comprehensive backup and restoration plan, companies can easily restore their data in the event they experience a catastrophic failure.

Better Decision-Making

Not only is it a good idea to digitally transform corporate data for security reasons, it is also helpful to have detailed information in order to facilitate better decision-making. By digitizing corporate data, companies can capture, store, and analyze large volumes of data that can almost effortlessly be pulled together by specific applications. A variety of software applications are available that can incorporate and formulate large amounts of complex data, giving business owners key insights into how well their business is functioning (or not), and suggestions on where to focus their efforts in order to make improvements.

It Takes Some Time

As with any other project, digitally transforming a company’s operations does take some initial time and effort. However, once transformed most businesses begin to reap the benefits of their transformation right away. Improved data security, an improved customer experience, and greater insight into the overall functions of the business, even down to a very fine level, are all typical gains that business owners enjoy after undergoing their transformation.

If you would like more information on how to digitally transform your business, please contact us!