On this episode of The DroidDevCast podcast, Esper Platform Evangelist Rin Oliver spoke with DataXoom founder & CEO Chris Hill on mobile-first enterprise solutions, the finer details of 5G in the enterprise, and attempted to cut through the fog of what 5G will and won’t be bringing to the telecommunications industry in the future. Later in the episode, they explore the benefits of using a platform such as DataXoom in the enterprise, and the benefits that telecommunications providers and businesses both can get from embracing purpose-built devices, and understanding the thresholds of not only today’s technology, but tomorrow’s.

Complexity, Efficiency, and Purpose-Built Devices

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DataXoom, at its core, is all about efficiency. Supporting LTE for purpose built deployment in the enterprise, in particular. DataXoom was founded, Hill explained, because its team saw a gap in how consumer models treated LTE, and how enterprise organizations were approaching LTE as a commodity. Where a consumer would primarily focus on solely LTE when working with a carrier, the needs of the enterprise were vastly different. LTE made up only a small component of what the purpose-built enterprise customer needed from its solution. “In the consumer world, LTE is everything, right? The carrier is your lead partner, does everything for you. In our world, the purpose-built world, LTE is just a small part, like a small part of the entire solution. And so we do that. We’re able to deliver that commodity to them,” said Hill. 

Purpose-built devices themselves have also undergone a transition over the years, seeing a drastic change in not only their form, but their functionality and use cases. What was considered a purpose built device 20 years ago may have been a package scanning device for a postal worker, or a telxon at a retail chain. Now, Hill went on to explain, purpose-built devices should take the word, ‘device,’ out of the equation. “Forget about the device, it’s how complex it is. So usually in an enterprise, if it’s purpose-built, there’s multiple stakeholders in multiple different departments, whether it be finance, dev-ops, operations, software development, security compliance, right? All these different stakeholders vested in this purpose built solution,” said Hill. 

The rise of purpose built solutions that are also cost-efficient has allowed for companies to invest in devices where they may not have otherwise had the opportunity, though Hill was quick to note that not every device needs the label of, ‘purpose built,’. “It’s really critical to understand that purpose-built is solving a very specific business problem. And, generally speaking, that cannot be done if you can just solve it with your cell phone, right? So, in other words, if you’re an enterprise and you just put an application on your cell phone, the user’s cellphone that solves all the problems, well fine, you don’t need a purpose-built solution. What we do and what our customers do, purpose-built really is there as a specific need that’s being solved, whether that’s healthcare, whether it’s transportation, whether it’s retail, all the things we talk about,” added Hill.

5G and the Enterprise

While 5G is a hot buzzword in the technology industry, Hill went on to tell listeners that it is a standard, rather than a solution. Like any solution, he went on to explain, there are certain limits and thresholds as to that solution’s overall effectiveness over time, harkening the concept of diminishing returns.

“I think it’s really, really important for anyone here to understand what 5G means. And again, I’m talking about this from a very specific perspective, the purpose-built perspective, not the consumer perspective. So I’m going to use something called the elevator principle. And the elevator principle was something that was told to me years and years ago by an executive of a large elevator company here in the US. And he was just telling us that, the elevator world has hit its pinnacle, there is no more innovation that can be done in elevators. And I just was puzzled, right? I’m like, “That’s ridiculous. How can you stop innovating?” And he said, “Well, here’s the issue. If we go too fast going upwards, people pass out. If it drops too slow, or drops too quickly, people throw up. So we are limited.” They’ve hit the technology threshold.”

Does such a threshold exist for network connectivity over LTE? Perhaps, if you look at it the right way. Hill went on to explain the concept of 3G, 4G, and 5G connectivity speeds as similar to travelling on a highway. While some cars may travel at greater speeds, often there’s not really a need to do so. Where 5G shines, is in the experience it provides consumers, and in turn, enterprises. 

“It’s about, okay, all this additional infrastructure that is being deployed because of 5G. And it really is where it’s going to be. And it’s all about coverage, right? The fact that if you’ve got a mission critical application, purpose-built, everywhere you go you should have coverage. And that’s what 5G, not now, but in several years is really going to produce because basically every router, right, every cable box that’s in everyone’s house, and every fixture that’s outside is going to have additional access points or routers. And that’s going to provide better coverage. Now, there’s all kinds of security issues around that. There’s all kinds of hurdles that have to be overcome, but we have to start somewhere. And we’ve started.”

In this Episode of The DroidDevCast: 

0:40 – What is DataXoom?
05:35 – What are some of the key benefits to utilizing single-purpose devices in the enterprise?
10:24 – What do you do differently that makes DataXoom unique?
17:31 – How do you see DataXoom positioning itself to meet the increased needs of those businesses (getting into 5G)?
24:15 – How do you see 5G impacting the industry?
28:13 – Where do you see the future of telecommunications going, and what do you think the world’s going to look like in 10 to 15 years?

You can read the full transcript of this interview on Simplecast. Next week, we’ll be taking a deep dive into kiosk-based Android payment solutions with Steve Kwon, Senior Global Project Sales Manager at POSBANK.