How times have changed. As we embraced the festive season the presents under the tree have also changed. The Christmas tree present pile has evolved from an abundance of socks and badly fitting jumpers, through basic electronic toys and items (that ate batteries as if they were free), through to mobile communications devices that started as phones and soon became lifestyle accessories to now where just about everything requires network connectivity to something else. And that’s “something else” more often than not is the Internet or a mobile communications network.
From ages 6 to 66 (people do exist outside of that range but the alliteration reads well) we tore open our Christmas presents, plugged in a charging cable (as the era of disposable batteries seems long gone) and in a matter of minutes felt the real joy of Christmas when the electronic widget took its first digital breath. If raises the question, “what was the most important household element this Christmas”? Was it food, TV repeats, a well earned rest – potentially. But more likely for many households (especially with children) it was NONE of the above – can I suggest it could have been “the wireless network”.
As you ponder whether I remain in a post Christmas state of madness I am basing my view in part on the following:
No “wireless network (and that includes WIFI and mobile communications networks)” equals
- No Facebook
- No Twitter
- No Instagram
- No wireless console games (xbox, playstation)
- No mobile phone communications.
- No wireless music streaming
- No wireless TV streaming
- No digital tablets connected to online resources
- No cordless landlines
- No Internet access.
I could go on.
But even with the loose validity of the examples highlighted many of you will state, a cabled network connection will also connect many of the devices to the internet and with it all would be well. My, challenge – “where will that cable plug into” on a smartphone, tablet, handheld games console, cordless landline phone and so on.
I hope this blog spawns your own “eureka” moment as you start to consider the impact and fundamental importance wireless networks now have on our everyday lives – where in reality “no wireless network” is no longer an option.
With that, my closing words point back to you for a final thought – “imagine your Christmas day, Boxing Day but with the wireless network failed (no WIFI and mobile phone networks)”. Its only technology but would it really feel like Christmas? Interesting thought.
Hope you had a great Christmas and let’s all have a wonderful 2014.
Until next year
I was fortunate last week to visit one of our enterprise customers for an executive strategy session.
The customer invited a room of senior stakeholders to discuss and debate future ways of working and connecting next generation end user workspaces. Many questions were posed – what are the needs of tomorrows employee, what does tomorrows customer look like, who will the competitors be – how many of today’s major players will remain? Most importantly what changes are required, personal, cultural, professional, operational, technological and so on to take everything that makes the organisation great today and recalibrate it to ensure they are great tomorrow.
It is a pleasure to interface directly with business stakeholders discussing how their organisation needs to evolve to realise business success in the future. And you know it’s a mutually rewarding session when discussions pose new and radical questions that encourage all to rethink even the most robust personal viewpoints.
Understanding the “future way of working” or “tomorrows workplace”, spawned by evolving employee and customer behaviour seems to be top of the agenda of many organisations serious about winning in the corporate landscape of tomorrow. But where do you start, is the current BYOD euphoria a sneak preview of tomorrows mobile orientated, information rich, always on world or the late arrival of an activity organisations should have undertaken years ago.
And the wire “free” wireless network environment both public and private highlighted by many as one of the silver bullets of “next generation workspace” is also raising a few concerns. The consensus seems to be whilst performing admirably most of the time, many legacy wireless LANs are seriously compromised all too many times. Which positions a wireless LAN upgrade as the first “upgrade it now” post it note on the fridge of any thought leading CTO or CIO.
And who can forget end user devices, or is it operating systems or is it applications or even “apps”, and so on. Do we understand the end user behaviour enabled by this new mobile device wave that unlocks and enables different business outcomes – can the organisation harness it, maximise it, capitalise on it?
But now appears a real dilemma, “to be ready for the workspace tomorrow”, “where do you start today”. Is it wireless, is it devices, users, apps, BYOD – is it security, is it process / workflow change, is it all of the above and more ….. Or is it quite simply to “just start”.
Change starts with change and one of the hardest elements to embrace for even the most successful of the worlds species is the ode that the “skills and capabilities have got you here may not be enough to get you there”.
Future blogs will examine this topic further but organisations may want to consider the following as a minimum to ensure they obtain a connected environment essential to achieving “future workspace” success.
- Local area access switch functionality and effectiveness (poe, onboard WLC,etc).
- Device independent applications (HTML5 for example).
- Wireless LAN coverage, reliability and performance.
- End user wireless access and authentication, remediation.
- Mobile device and application management (MDaAM)
- Data loss prevention (DLP)
- Wireless to core round trip optimisation (and internet back haul)
Getting today’s workplace centric organisation ready for tomorrow’s workspace centric ideal will be fun but hard. With that in mind senior level sponsorship and acknowledgement that change is not only essential but also now, is as good a place to start – and will ensure that you actually “start”.
Until next time
It looks like the BYOD term has been knocked off its perch (well for a short period at least) as the hottest term around – the big story is now “the Wireless LAN”.
In recent years every mobility or BYOD discussion resulted in a “to MDM or not MDM” debate with the consensus MDM was a must have technology (whether it delivered all of the outcomes originally promised is the discussion of a future blog). However as we fast forward through the start of 2013 the BYOD topic now starts and ends with a debate about “wireless networking effectiveness”. In the time before the “mobility wave” the wireless LAN most commonly experienced by the corporate end user was a home based network of convenience deployed with simplicity in mind but often lacking in reliability.
But how things have changed, what was a useful add-on to the physical RJ45 cable based corporate LAN environment has now become the talk of the CIO agenda and potentially the bane of many CIOs lives. That same wireless network used by guests, learned end users (who knew how to sneak the secret passwords) and the handful of approved laptop users is fast becoming the defacto connectivity environment for most end users. Where is the RJ45 port on a tablet computer, or modern Smartphone – does anyone care? Why embrace the inflexibility of laptop use tethered via the physical RJ45 network port when it becomes free and supremely flexible when connected via a high performing wireless network environment. The behaviour of many of us in both personal and professional arenas toward wireless connectivity has changed. In previous years, the IT aware individual within a household configured and used the home wireless network due to awareness of it at work – now the generation Y/Z digital natives not only own the home wireless network for social, education and entertainment ideals, but equally expect it to exist all the time everywhere.
Searching for a wireless hotspot is a teenage norm and second nature to all due to the ubiquitous use of smart phones, tablets, hand held games consoles and all fundamental to a digital native personal or social existence. But it doesn’t stop there, the behaviour outlined previously synonymous with a generation Y/Z persona now exists within us all, from the seven year old expecting the ipad to connect to download the latest update to “Temple Run”, to the corporate professional checking into a hotel on business uttering those now all too common words at reception “what is the key for the wireless network”. Do you ever remember the physical network deemed so fundamental to our work/home existence as the wireless network is today – it actually was, but in our minds it “wasn’t” and their lies the hypnotic magic of the wireless or WIFI network. This blog homes in on WIFI wireless networks but the ever reducing blur between WIFI and service provider 3G/4G networks forces us to summarise it all as “THE WIRELESS NETWORK” (not technically correct, but you get the picture).
The wireless network underpins and enables the new world order, one where the end user can have the best connected experience of “ME” but at the swipe of a hand can choose to be part of a worldwide “WE”. That only works if the nothing stops connectively and no rules exist for connection (i.e. “it’s not available or limited to times, zones, locations”). The wireless network is already the primary network and with “gigabit wireless” coming soon destined to be so woven into the fabric of our personal and professional existence we face a “world wide stall” at times of wireless network failure. Some would say it makes the task of maintaining and securing these wireless networks far more important than we think. Uuummm, I think I can feel another blog coming on.
Until next time