A recent event has inspired me to write this blog. It’s something I’ve written about before, but I feel the need to go over it again. Let me tell you a story…
I was at one of my favourite restaurants last weekend with my family; the usual spread of delicious food was weighing down our table, and as we munched, crunched and generally just enjoyed wolfing it all down, I couldn’t help but notice the steady stream of people leaving their tables, exiting the restaurant, only to return a few minutes later. I later realised that the fixed line service that the restaurant’s POS ran off had gone down. They couldn’t accept any card payments so were having to ask people to pay cash. But as most of us don’t carry much cash around with us these days, people were having to trek out into the cold night air to get some money out of the ATM over the road.
Now, as I’ve said, this was a favourite haunt of ours, so it certainly won’t put me off going back, but if I was new to the restaurant and this was my first experience of eating there, then I don’t think I’d go back. That’s not good for business.
This is just one small example of a business not taking every opportunity to minimise the risk of connectivity issues. There was no valid reason why the business owners hadn’t looked in to putting failsafe measures in place before; they just didn’t understand them, they assumed it would be expensive, and they assumed it would be complicated. No one had ever spent any time advising them of what’s available and just how easy it could be. But while I was there, I explained what they could do to prevent the issue happening again and how it would help them protect their business.
How many of your customers are in the same vulnerable position?
The solution I spoke to them about was simple. Using revolutionary M2M (machine-to-machine) technology, the 4G and 3G ‘cut the wire’ connectivity solutions that Zest4 provide, gives businesses continuous connectivity wherever they are and whenever they need it. So, it’s the perfect solution for businesses that operate from varying locations or for occasions where fixed line connectivity just simply isn’t available or viable.
It’s the perfect solution to have as a back-up for fixed line services. There’s a minimal monthly service fee for the cellular connection but unless the failover service kicks in, there are no data charges whatsoever. So, for less than the price of a meal for one, a business can have the peace of mind that should their current service fail, there will be no risk to their operations.
This isn’t just a service that will benefit the restaurant trade though. Look at any business that requires a fixed line to operate. What happens if the fixed line goes down in your office? The opportunities for selling a ‘cut the wire’ cellular failover service into customers already taking your services are endless.
Then there are the new installations. Instead of failover think about instant connectivity. This is critical for customers that want a pop-up office solution, and particularly for businesses moving premises.
Many of us know, from bitter experience, that huge delays usually occur when waiting for BT Openreach to install fixed Ethernet lines. This leaves organisations without permanent connectivity for long periods of time which can have a hugely detrimental impact on their business. But, thanks to Zest4’s ‘cut the wire’ connectivity technology, there is now a solution. With specially developed Enterprise Grade Routers incorporating any number of SIMs from a mix of UK and roaming networks, organisations can enjoy constant connectivity using the 4G and 3G. Not only is this the ideal solution while you’re waiting for a fixed line to be installed, but you can then keep it in place as a back-up in case of fixed line faults in the future.
Now, here’s a recap of another story that I’ve shared before, but which is great example of how M2M technology can help…
A key partner of Zest4 was working with a customer in the North East that was soon to be moving to new premises. They were aware of delays in their fixed Ethernet line being installed so were looking for an alternative solution. Our partner was already aware of M2M and knew that it could be the answer, but the set-up was a little complex, so the partner turned to Zest4 for some help.
The customer used three different data-hungry systems and wanted them to be segregated so they would operate at maximum efficiency even through the mobile networks:
- The first was a SIP solution which the customer needed to ensure would run without interference or interruption from their other services.
- The second was a CCTV system which is particularly data-hungry.
- The third was their day-to-day office system which they use to browse the web, send emails and so on.
To ensure all three systems could operate independently and to maximum efficiency, we recommended they used three different SIMs in the same router which would give them the separation they need. Using three separate SIMs wouldn’t normally be a cost-effective option but our links with the mobile network providers meant that we were able to combine them into one 300GB account to give them a very competitive tariff.
The customer used this service to run their business for almost two months with no issues. But even now that the fixed line service is in place, the customer has kept the router and uses it as a failover service.
This type of temporary mobile connectivity scenario has sparked lots of interest amongst our partners, but it has also been noted as a potential additional revenue stream. Partners have been speaking to us about the possibility of offering a ‘router rental service’. Partners would buy our Enterprise Grade Routers for themselves and then offer them to customers as part of a rental scheme. This would work not only for businesses moving premises but also for festival organisers and other event companies who only need mobile connectivity on a few occasions during the year.
The latest offer we are working on for this service is also something that can be used in the consumer space. We are about to go live with ‘Internet in a Box’. This comprises of a fully configured 4G router that can take over 60 different Wi-Fi connections at any one time, a UK network SIM with a pre-defined data bundle all rolled in to one monthly subscription. This opens the market up even more, think about providing Wi-Fi in holiday homes, offices and homes in rural locations that can’t get a decent broadband service. Pop up shops, taxis and coaches and much, much more.
As well as the positive interest, of course we’ve also had some conversations surrounding concerns. The main concern has been about the quality of the mobile network and what happens if the network goes down. This is always a possibility but it’s something that we’ve planned for by including several SIM slots in our routers. All our Enterprise Grade Routers come with two SIM slots as standard, meaning customers can connect to two different networks if required. We can also offer a completely non-steered roaming SIM which will connect to all the UK networks. Each time a connection is needed it looks for the strongest network. Should that network go down it would simply re-boot and find the next available network, making this back-up service virtually failsafe.
This ‘cut the wire’ technology really does offer customers connectivity capabilities that they never thought they could have. I am incredibly excited for the future of our 4G and 3G solutions and for working with our partners to help their customers and their businesses succeed.
Find out more about our Cut the Wire Connectivity Solutions from Zest4 by calling 0161 956 3355 or visit http://www.zest4.com/m2m/pre-ethernet.php.