Wireless World Impacts Contractors Bottom Line

March 2013, Vol. 68 No. 3

There was a time in the mid-80s when business and other organizations began to discover that “cell” phones were more than a novelty -- they could be used to keep in touch with personnel in the field.

Utility providers and the contractors were quick to recognize the potential of wireless telephones, and soon crews, wherever they might be, could connect immediately with the home office and each other. Of course, there were areas where wireless devices wouldn’t work, and dropped calls were -- and at times still are -- a nuisance.

Nevertheless, wireless technology and advanced wireless mobile communication capabilities have changed the way the world works.

Telephone connectivity is only a part of today’s wireless network capabilities. Smart phones, many with push-to-talk capability for instant communication of workers around a work site, also can connect to the internet, send and receive e-mail and text messages and take photos and videos. Compact tablet computers also connect to the internet and allow instant change of plans and documents between the field and office.

Most of the buzz about an organization’s wireless capabilities center on mobile devices and applications. However, Michael Schaefer, executive director of Verizon Wireless national SMB marketing, points out that wireless communications begin with the network.

“The 3G or 4G LTE network is what makes a wireless system work,” Schaefer emphasized. “The network supports the mobile devices that fill the user’s needs. The network always is the starting point of a wireless communications system and as needs of the user grows, more bandwidth is necessary.”

Next, continued Schaefer, are the devices: wireless phones, smart phones, push-to-talk devices and tablets.

“On top of the devices,” said Schaefer, “are the applications that bring to life the functions that provide the customer with the needed tools to bring people together to talk, exchange information by texting and e-mails, take photos and real-time videos, provide GPS information and much more. Over the past couple of years, the applications base has become increasingly important.”

CTIA(The Wireless Association) estimates there are more than 1.5 million apps with more being introduced every day.