Bandwidth: The Real Collaboration Killer

In an age when users expect instantaneous access to information and real-time collaboration, investing in tools that enable this type of seamless communication and transmission of data may be running companies into the ground. It’s not because the technologies are too expensive, and it’s not because users are struggling with adoption – it’s often because innovative collaboration tools require more bandwidth than you currently have.

What’s Eating Your Bandwidth

We’ve all read about the explosion of IoT and how the upcoming release of 5G devices should make high-definition media more accessible to the masses, but how do these trends impact your business’ network?

It’s projected that as we enter 2017, business bandwidth requirements will hit 1Mbps per user. This may not seem like much, but those numbers add up fast for companies with massive workforces or for cash-strapped SMBs with remote employees. Video and web conferencing tools like GoToMeeting, Google Hangout and Skype eat some 8Mbps of bandwidth by themselves. Beyond that, non-business related applications like YouTube take another 5Mbps. Bandwidth goes fast when all these disparate technologies are working at the same time, especially when companies (particularly larger ones) have little visibility and control over which applications their employees are using at any given time.

The Cloud: Why SMBs Should Care

A survey conducted by Cisco recently found that some 86% of small businesses are considering investments in cloud communications. These tools are at the forefront of the IoT paradigm, enabling workforces to communicate, access data and share files from any device anywhere in the world. The good news is cloud suites like Office 365 have made real-time collaboration more accessible and affordable for SMBs. The bad news is these applications eat network bandwidth, causing network performance to drop and applications to fail. As a result, workplace efficiency is obstructed, user adoption for new technologies often decreases, and employees may choose to counteract application failure by “self-medicating” with an individual solution that may take up even more network bandwidth.

Don’t Put the Cart Before the Horse

Staying lean, flexible and cost-efficient is a priority for many SMBs, even as new collaboration technologies become more accessible. The key to optimizing investments and aligning technologies with business goals is considering the right factors early in the process – like network bandwidth. Before investing in collaboration solutions like cloud phone systems and unified communications, SMBs should first assess their network requirements and limitations in order to make better use of the time and money spent on implementing a solution and onboarding users.

If cloud collaboration and unified communications are on the horizon for your business in 2017 and you’d like a second opinion on your network specifications, read about Select Communications’ network service suite.