In less than a decade, network speeds have increased exponentially, kicking open the doors of opportunity for small- and mid-sized businesses willing and able to harness the power of increased bandwidth.
Less than 10 years ago, most small- and medium-sized businesses only had access to bandwidth of about one megabit-per-second.
Today, those same businesses can access Internet service at speeds that are 150 times—and the pace of innovation doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
Increased bandwidth speeds alone wouldn’t represent a fundamentally groundbreaking opportunity for small businesses. But when it is coupled with falling prices, it becomes a powerful weapon for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)—a tool that is changing everything from the way businesses connect with consumers, manage their information, and collect and analyze consumer data.
And the fact is that even as demand for faster Internet has increased, prices have fallen. This means that businesses of all sizes can now access the same powerful tools that were once the exclusive province of the Fortune 500. If the Internet is the Information Super Highway, bandwidth is the super-charged fuel that makes it possible for every business to compete in the race.
Of course, simply having access to increased bandwidth won’t help SMBs compete with much larger businesses. To be truly competitive, businesses need to leverage the available technology to:
• Connect with consumers anywhere, anytime
• Create efficiencies that save money
• Learn more about their consumers to refine their operations.
Connecting with consumers anywhere, any time
The use of mobile devices has exploded in recent years, providing businesses with the opportunity to connect with consumers anywhere, at any time.
Mobile devices are nearly ubiquitous, and their use is expected to triple worldwide by 2017. Businesses will have the opportunity to expand their markets, reaching people who were previously unreachable—but only if they have the ability to maintain their websites and keep information flowing.
Luckily, Internet service providers are making more bandwidth available and offering customized packages that allow organizations to access just the right amount of bandwidth at just the right time—and to access it at affordable prices.
Perhaps one of the most important benefits of increased bandwidth at affordable prices is the efficiencies it affords SMBs, specifically through cloud-based applications.
Cloud-based applications make it possible for companies to use digital tools to improve their business operations without having to invest significant capital in servers to hold and run the tools. Accessing cloud-based applications, however, requires a significant amount of bandwidth.
Learning more about consumers
Website analytics provide a significant amount of data about consumers, including preferences, buying habits, personal and professional interests, and even demographics. This information, in and of itself, is valuable. But when it’s integrated into the more traditional data that businesses collect—point-of-sale information, profit and loss information, and macro-financial trends—the bit becomes something more powerful, it becomes big data.
Big data allows businesses to analyze massive amounts of data to know with precision whether or not their business strategies are working. It gives them deeper insight into how and why customers make the decisions they make. It allows SMBs to more strategically target their resources in ways that allow them to compete with much larger companies.
Bandwidth has given small- and mid-sized companies the power to connect with consumers in ways that were never before possible. But in order to maximize their potential, businesses need to be ready to harness the power of bandwidth.