Posted by Jonathan Crossfield on 19 June 2013
Think the NBN is about doing the same things but faster? Think again.
Putting aside the debate over the best way to achieve improved internet speeds across Australia, it’s fair to say high-speed internet is coming. But what does that mean for business?
The NBN is not merely about making existing business or consumer activities faster. It will herald new business models, new technologies and new ways of doing just about anything.
Freedom from the office
Faster internet – combined with mobile devices, VPN and cloud technologies – makes telecommuting far more practical.
Video consultations make sense, reducing travel costs. Secure file sharing means authorised users can access, edit, share and collaborate on documents wherever they are. Telecommuting gives business greater flexibility in hiring skilled personnel, outsourcing projects or working with consultants without being limited to the pool of people within commuting distance.
If tasks are completed faster, productivity improves. This is particularly true for businesses outside metro areas that have endured slower, unreliable internet connections.
Some of these businesses, newly connected to the NBN, are reporting how high-speed internet is helping to increase customers by as much as 25 per cent – just by making routine tasks faster and more reliable.
The unknown factor
When most of us still carried a Walkman, the idea of the iPod would have seemed ludicrous – if it occurred to us at all. Portable hard drives were expensive, heavy and large, but better and smaller hard drives allowed smart thinkers to rethink portable music in a way we now take for granted.
So we probably can’t predict the biggest innovations that will be possible post-NBN. The increased speeds will be the starting gun for the smartest and brightest to spot opportunities and develop entirely new ways of achieving our business goals. In turn, these will inspire completely new business models.
The smartest businesses are likely to be those that adapt quickly and adopt early.