Page 34 - London Business Matters May 2020
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 34 Your business   May 2020 5G – what the future holds  Jerzy Drojecki looks at what 5G will give us, what it will take away; and how it will change the public internet infrastructure 5G is no longer a buzzword, and is becoming a technology used by an increasing range of de- vices, as well as becoming available in more and more locations. The results of 5G are generally known: a signif- icant increase in data transfer speed will provide higher quality multime- dia for everyone and will open new paths for the creators of applications. However, most often we focus on the benefits of 5G and not on what it will take away from us. What will 5G take away? In July 2016 the United Nations adopted a resolution according to which “Internet access is a human right”. That may cause concern from people who are excluded in this in- stance. Rightly so - they have the right to demand representation, to ensure their access to a highly effi- cient infrastructure. This applies not only to quickly developing coun- tries. For years even in many devel- oped countries, hotspots that give access to public wi-fi in city centres, public transportation and institu- tional buildings have been springing up everywhere. The popularisation of the LTE (long term evolution) standard strongly reduced the interest in the public internet infrastructure. It is only one of the issues _ another one is the dramatic level of security. It is no wonder that the public hotspots are the ones that are listed by net- work security experts as examples of untrusted and insecure connections. One should expect that 5G will speed up the trend of lowering the popular- ity of the public internet access even further. Soon it will be made clear that something that just a decade ago would make each city proud, will be- come a dangerous thing of the past. Does public infrastructure have a future? The history is interesting. Consider how a significant number of internet users have connected to the network for years. It is no exaggeration to say that many of them experienced their first contact with a browser in an Internet cafe. Nowadays, these plac- es are relics that at times operate in run-down tourist centres. Yet, at the beginning of the 21st century they were the centres of internet coun- ter-culture, a place of meetings for hours of online gaming marathons. But also, unique regarding the num- ber of available assets, and a source of information for countless numbers of people worldwide. The place that once could be re- garded as the temple of the inter- net, is now practically non-existent. Similarly the expensive investments in public infrastructure of inter- net access once the requirement of modern society and of answering to the needs of the zeitgeist are now disappearing, and are the centres of the man-in-the-middle attacks. Everything points to the fact that they too will soon vanish from our culture and the air will be freed from the overlapping radio waves emitted from restaurants, trains, malls, or public administration buildings. The New York twist of fate In concluding I must refer to a project once realized in the streets of New York which seems like an exception- ally mean and ironical twist of fate. It appears that the process being a caricature reflection of the aforemen- tioned expiry of the need to maintain an obsolete infrastructure, had al- ready taken place. However, within the context of communication of the previous generation. Obviously, we are talking about the phone booth! However, it is not simply about the elimination of maintaining a system of phone booths, as a result of the popularisation of the mobile phone. In New York a LinkNYC program was created, involving the systemic replacement of the traditional phone booth with modern hotspots. Mod- ernising them so that they could serve as a wi-fi signal booster. Prob- ably a few years back few would real- ise that the project which at the time was considered as an absolute cut- ting-edge solution regarding public infrastructure, would just a while lat- er - by means of the LTE revolution and soon 5G – would become a thing of the past. Used mostly by thieves of login data for banking services fraud. Jerzy Drojecki is the chief executive of Eversoft    “Sorry I lost signal” – tips for successful conference calling by Sarah Kauter The pandemic has changed a lot of things about business but one of the biggest chang- es is how we communicate day-to- day. You can’t just congregate in the board room or chat to the colleague on the desk behind you. You have to call them or set up a digital meeting. Whilst it’s great that technology enables people to stay in touch, it also comes with its own challenges. With signal dropouts, video con- fusion and incessant background noise, conference calling can be problematic and may get in the way of important matters. Here are my top things to consider when confer- ence calling. Decide on the right platform Firstly, when my company intro- duced home working, we toyed with a few different platforms for our calls. Each have their own strengths and differences. For ex- ample, WhatsApp has group call limitations whereas Zoom has time limitations. Make a note of your key needs and choose the one that will work best for you and your team. Make an agenda With so much going on right now it can be easy to get off-topic. We’ve been working from home and it’s easy to be distracted with colleague catch-ups. Prior to the call, write up all of the points you want to cover and make sure you stick to them, this way you won’t forget any im- portant matters. Decide on the video feature Most group calling platforms have video capabilities, but it’s not always clear when to use them. Of course, it may be nice at this time to see a friendly face on the other side of the screen, however, be sure to make it clear to all parties when arranging the call whether it will be a video call or just audio. Have a system Every morning we have a team con- ference call to give client updates. With over 10 of us in the team, this can get complicated. Find a system that works for you and make sure everyone has their say. We give our updates in the order that we log into the call, this way no one is missed out and everyone knows the order we’ll run in. Keep your focus It’s important to treat a conference call just like any other face-to-face meeting. Although you’re on your screen and it can be distracting if an email pops up, your attention should remain on the call. This is especially true when talking to a client, make sure they know your attention is with them and refrain from looking at your phone or elsewhere. Minimise background noise Working from home can bring a lot of unexpected background noises if you share the home with other people who may not be working. To minimise this, let everyone know you’re about to go on a call and they will likely be more aware of noise, or move your workspace to a quieter area of the house if possible. Some- times noise is unavoidable, if this is the case, be sure to mute your mi- crophone when you’re not contrib- uting to the conversation. Dress the part Just because you’re working from home, it doesn’t mean the same level of professionalism shouldn’t still apply. Whilst it can be tempt- ing to work in your pyjamas whilst at home, make sure you are dressed appropriately for video calls. This rule can even apply on days when you’re aren’t expecting to video call clients or colleagues, it helps get you in to ‘work mode’. Sarah Kauter is the managing director of Verriberri, an Essex based marketing firm who have adjusted to working from home.  

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