This article is sponsored by UScellular.
By necessity, 2020 was a year of innovation. Since the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic, almost every aspect of our lives has changed, including the way we work, and entire industries have had to change their practices to meet the demands of new global climate. While many businesses have struggled, new and innovative ideas are now helping industries adapt—and in many cases evolve—in response to this rapidly changing economy.
Probably the most visible technological innovations took place in telecommunications as workforces around the world worked from home. Platforms like Zoom, Go-To Meeting, Microsoft Teams, and Slack became household names over the year. But casual communication with coworkers is just the tip of the iceberg—bigger questions needed to be answered about running entire businesses remotely, such as translating in-person sales meetings into telecommunication and virtual equivalents, and the security of all these new networks.
UScellular™ worked with small businesses to develop custom solutions including dedicated business solutions experts, unlimited data price plans, 5G included at no extra cost for businesses on their reliable network, and Lookout™ Premium Plus to aid in identity theft protection. UScellular’s network was designed to withstand variations in bandwidth, and it’s constantly monitoring usage, including with artificial intelligence, to optimize and modify conditions. And its secure networks offer peace of mind so that organizations were able to pivot online without having to worry about cybersecurity. Many of those businesses might not have considered technology a priority before they were forced to deal with remote work, but now they’re poised to compete in a sophisticated hybrid economy.
Not only did businesses have to tackle the logistical questions of how coworkers communicate and adapt to new daily rhythms, many businesses lost important sources of revenue, like foot traffic and marketing opportunities. For example, one of the biggest shifts in the agriculture industry is the shift in how people buy their food. In September, the American Farm Bureau Federation reported that the number of households that eat 90 percent of their meals at home increased from 50 to 90 percent in 2020. While people eat more meals at home, they’re also increasingly buying food online through services like Instacart or DoorDash and direct-to-consumer meal kits. Small, independent grocers, for example, couldn’t rely entirely on foot traffic during a viral pandemic—but they also shouldn’t expect customers to return to in-person shopping to the same levels as 2019. In such a rapidly changing industry, operating a digital storefront of some sort is increasingly necessarily.
Other industries have been similarly altered by necessary technical innovation. Throughout the pandemic, the construction industry has been plagued with global supply chain issues. Although they’ve been around for about a decade, construction companies have increasingly adopted “digital twins,” which allow contractors to share key information with stakeholders across the supply chain, easing complicated logistics. Digital twins allow suppliers greater insight into the projects they’re providing materials for, and they can also be combined with internet-of-things devices to monitor construction sites in realtime and predict anomalies. With so many new devices and new technologies running on these networks, cutting-edge 5G connectivity is more important than ever—not only is 5G faster than 4G LTE, it allows business owners to maintain the connectivity they’ve come to rely on even when they’re away from their home network without sacrificing speed or connectivity.
Whether it’s reevaluating company infrastructures to accommodate remote work, building new and secure networks, or migrating community-centered small business to making sales online, new challenges have defined the year for many businesses. UScellular is committed to putting its business customers first—offering identity-theft protection, device security, and dedicated experts on-hand to review business’s needs, UScellular helps businesses keep up with even the most rapidly evolving industry.
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