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Home networks could be highly beneficial for flexible working

IT News |  30/04/2013
Home networks could be highly beneficial for flexible...Flexible working

The introduction of flexible working and homeworking policies has completely altered how businesses operate.

Instead of just being able to carry out duties on premises, staff can instead relocate to their own home to complete the same assignments, alleviating some of the pressure that comes with stressful commutes and their costs.

While some companies have found it difficult to adapt to flexible working, others have embraced it fully and, in the case of emergencies, the ability to use the cloud to work from home can be essential.

Computer networks often suffer power outages and, in the case of these, the capability to continue running a business from home will reduce downtime and enable firms to continue serving customers.

If systems are down for long periods of time, companies run the risk of leaving their customers unhappy, which could prompt them to turn to competitors for the same services.

Home working completely eliminates the risk of this and, by embracing the approach, organisations can open themselves up to a range of talented staff.

Many workers now exclusively make themselves available as home-based employees, so businesses will be opening up their talent pool by welcoming these individuals into their company.

When considering recruitment options, the chance to introduce home workers should not merely be dismissed, as the staff can prove to be more productive than office-based personnel.

The development of home networks

Internet technology has advanced in recent years to the point where many separate devices can be connected to Wi-Fi services, resulting in a broadband network that runs throughout a home.

Gartner has looked into how connected devices can operate to create a functional home network which can exist as an alternative to a mobile metered data plan.

Homeworkers can use an array of different devices to assist them while they operate from their own property.

Amanda Sabia, principal research analyst at Gartner, said: “Until three or four years ago, consumers primarily accessed the internet through PCs and laptops but at the beginning of 2013, the picture is very different.

“Consumers use multiple screens to perform various activities that require both fixed and mobile internet connectivity, from watching and sharing videos and photos, to playing games, to accessing social networks, to banking, and paying bills online. “

Ms Sabia described users as “screen-agnostic”, explaining that they will use whichever screen is convenient “as long as it is connected”.

Mobile devices in the home to increase?

Gartner has also estimated that global mobile devices per household will increase by more than eight per cent every year through to 2016, while 60 million Wi-Fi only devices will be added to households each year around the world.

As well as this, the group has suggested that the take-up rates of other video-specific internet-enabled devices will also grow as manufacturers continue to introduce connectivity as a standard feature.

The systems expected to increase in popularity include TVs, set-top boxes, digital video recorders, video players, game consoles and cameras.

“The increase in connected devices will require reliable broadband connectivity that is networked throughout the home. The fixed broadband connection enables the most reliable and robust online experience within the home that can be shared, via a home network, to multiple devices in the home,” Ms Sabia noted.

Internet services becoming even faster

Gartner believes that households are migrating to higher bandwidth-speed broadband packages, with providers upgrading their networks to increase throughput of bandwidth.

However, the group warned that any advancements in bandwidth throughput must be matched with the correct technology for home networking, highlighting that older Wi-Fi routers may have limited capabilities and therefore be unable to offer the required bandwidth.

With such advancements being made in the industry, homeworkers can now use connections that enable better efficiency and increased flexibility.

For example, if an employee’s laptop crashes, they can easily switch to their tablet and plug in a USB keyboard, allowing them to continue their tasks with ease.

Posted by Jon Aspinell

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