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IDC’s Directions 14: Some Interesting Observations on Mobility – and Beyond

IDC’s annual Directions conference focused this year on the “Third Platform”, which has mobility at its core. But there’s a lot more to this concept, with huge implications for the future of IT overall.
Submitted by Craig Mathias on Thu, 04/17/14 - 9:16am.

I recently attended IDC's annual Directions conference in Boston, and this information-packed event is always worth a visit. IDC is, of course, the original analyst firm, today with over 1,000 analysts and always a fairly quantitative approach to the IT industry. I don't think it's possible to agree with every pronouncement that any analyst firm makes (including my own, by the way), but the reasoning behind and the discussion and debate surrounding these create an interesting educational opportunity at the very least.

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M2M, IoT – and Broadband

Most people think of M2M and IoT as being all about short, infrequent messages. But thinking about the end-to-end solution, there’s often a role for broadband as well.
Submitted by Craig Mathias on Mon, 04/14/14 - 7:03am.

I recent spoke with a senior executive from FreeWave a Boulder (CO)-based company that has been designing and building wireless products, using mostly proprietary radio designs, for two decades. The firm specializes in such industrial applications as oil and gas, utilities, defense, SCADA, mining, and a variety of others as well, with a very broad product line of mostly narrowband solutions.

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Enterprise WLANs 2014: A Few More Announcements

As I noted in my last post, announcements around 802.11ac continue at a furious pace, with significant advances and meaningful differentiation as well.
Submitted by Craig Mathias on Tue, 04/08/14 - 9:24am.

Who was it that said that anything in print is out of date? I think such may be true for anything published on the Web as well - as I received notice of two more announcements just after I posted my note on this subject last Friday.

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What’s Next for Enterprise Wireless LANs?

Recent announcements from WLAN industry leaders show that even in the face of playing-field-leveling developments like 802.11ac, there are still enormous opportunities for differentiation and customer-facing benefits.
Submitted by Craig Mathias on Fri, 04/04/14 - 10:33am.

I've had several interesting conversations with attendees at recent Network World Wireless Infrastructure events regarding the future of enterprise-class wireless LAN systems. I've been theorizing that the advent (really a landslide at this point) of 802.11ac represents the last "big" advance in 802.11 standards, and, almost by definition, this implies a slowing in the rate of underlying innovation - something that has kept the WLAN industry growing and diverse.

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RF Interference Like You’ve Never Seen Before

Submitted by Craig Mathias on Fri, 03/21/14 - 5:54pm.

OK, this one is so weird that you're likely not going to believe what follows. Notice, however, that this is not the April Fools column, and, in fact, the following is 100% true.

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5G Won’t Be What Most Are Expecting

Think 5G means gigabit throughput? Nope. 5G will be all about capacity, not throughput.
Submitted by Craig Mathias on Mon, 03/10/14 - 8:53am.

5G was a hot topic at the recent Mobile World Congress event, and while a formal definition of 5G is still pending, numbers like 1 Gbps are being tossed around. And, you know what? Such is indeed possible.

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Hot topics in wireless and mobile for 2014: Slides from my IEEE Talk

I recently gave a “what’s hot in wireless and mobile for 2014” talk for the Boston Section of the IEEE Communications Society. They’ve posted the slides, and they’re yours for the clicking.
Submitted by Craig Mathias on Mon, 02/24/14 - 7:55pm.

I'm a member of the IEEE and the IEEE Communications Society, and a member of the Executive Committee for the Boston Section of the Communications Society, and I urge anyone in the Boston area with a more than casual interest in communications systems and technologies to attend our monthly meetings, which are held at Verizon Labs in Waltham, MA. As a member of the ExecComm, I get to help in putting our annual program together, and, on occasion, I get to fill in at the last minute for a speaker who just can't make it.

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Wireless and Cars: My Initial Experiments with Telematics

I got a new car over the holidays, and it’s equipped with telematics. My initial experiments with this functionality have been somewhat disappointing, but the promise is clearly there.
Submitted by Craig Mathias on Mon, 02/17/14 - 9:14am.

So the end-of-the-year car sales and the expiration of my previous lease converged in late December, leading to my leasing a shiny new Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. Hyundai builds great vehicles, with equally great price/performance, and they have the best warranty anywhere. And they have all of the bells and whistles that appeal to gadget freaks like me - including telematics, which is loosely defined here as linking a motor vehicle to cloud-based services.

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Solving the Credit-Card Security Challenge

I don’t see why this is such a big problem. And I think there is a relatively easy solution.
Submitted by Craig Mathias on Mon, 02/10/14 - 7:59am.

One of the key items on my 2014 prayer list is security. While I continue to believe that we really can address security to a very great (but, of course, not absolute) degree, we simply do not. Maybe it's the fact that the cost of a breach can be easily shifted to the victim, or laziness or ignorance on the part of system designers, engineering managers, developers, and marketers, to say nothing of clueless senior managers. But none of this matters.

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Deploying 802.11ac – A New Webinar Next Week

If there’s any doubt remaining that the time to deploy 802.11ac is now, our next Webinar on this subject should finally put that to bed.
Submitted by Craig Mathias on Thu, 02/06/14 - 8:57am.

OK, so about two years ago I was a bit cautionary with respect to the deployment of 802.11ac. There weren't all that many products on the market, especially clients, and 802.11n was working just great for essentially everyone. But the landscape has certainly shifted over the past nine months, with my updated conclusion being that there's really no longer any reason to wait. I mean, what's the alternative? Deploy more .11n?

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Extreme’s Purview Tool – Network Analytics That Change More Games Than One

Extreme Networks has introduced a tool that takes traffic information obtained directly from their hardware and translates this data into actionable, application-specific insight of value across end-user organizations. With analytics further differentiating management-system offerings going forward, this announcement actually redefines what networks really bring to their owners.
Submitted by Craig Mathias on Tue, 02/04/14 - 8:10am.

Extreme Networks today announced a new analytics tool, Purview, which takes a unique approach to providing analytics and thus insight with respect to what's really happening on networks today. Yes, it is all about the apps, but what apps are consuming the most resources? What load does each place on the network?

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BoxTone’s Mobility TCO Tool – Food for Thought

Mobility management leader BoxTone has introduced a free Web-based tool to calculate the total cost of ownership for mobility implementations. This is a interesting approach, and will bring new insight to mobility plans and operations.
Submitted by Craig Mathias on Fri, 01/31/14 - 9:14am.

It's a question we've been debating for years: just exactly what does mobility cost? While I've often boiled this argument down to one of cash flow (can the required dollars be found?) and productivity (the real ROI), absolute cost is always a point of concern, especially for financial types, but also for anyone with budgetary constraints to satisfy - so I guess that's every IT manager everywhere, then.

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Lenovo Buys Google’s Handset Business – What Took So Long?

It’s official: Google is out of the handset business. And this is actually a very good deal for both Google and Lenovo.
Submitted by Craig Mathias on Thu, 01/30/14 - 5:48am.

Google has now officially announced that they are selling the Motorola brand and the Motorola Mobility business to Lenovo, who, of course, are a major manufacturer already in handsets but perhaps best known for acquiring IBM's PC business in 2005. Lenovo is a respected brand in the market, and, as a manufacturing-oriented Asian company, is well-suited to the low-margin, rough-and-tumble world of handsets.

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Mobility Management: The Rollup Gains Momentum

Aerohive’s announcement today of the increased integration of several aspects of mobility management into what used to be called a wireless-LAN system is yet another indication that functional consolidation, essential to the future of mobility management, and clearly, more than a few vendor business plans, is now well underway.
Submitted by Craig Mathias on Tue, 01/28/14 - 3:25pm.

Wireless LAN leader Aerohive today announced their Mobility Suite product line, designed to address the upsurge in mobile devices appearing on enterprise wireless LANs.

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Does Cellular Replace Wi-Fi?

Seriously – this is a question I recently explored with a seasoned mobile professional. And he made a pretty good case as to why cellular could obviate the need for Wi-Fi – today. But the landscape is changing rapidly, and my long-time contention that the ultimate success of cellular in fact depends upon Wi-Fi remains. Nonetheless, an interesting discussion – but you be the judge.
Submitted by Craig Mathias on Tue, 01/21/14 - 10:32am.

So I had a very interesting conversation recently with a senior executive of a mobility products company who just happened to mention that he thought cellular would eventually replace Wi-Fi. While I obviously don't agree with that thesis, he did make some pretty good points:

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Wearables – I’m Not So Sure…

The big deal at CES this year was wearable computing and communications devices – smartwatches and such. The next billion-dollar market? Maybe, but big questions remain.
Submitted by Craig Mathias on Tue, 01/14/14 - 10:36am.

I have heard from many people over the past two or three years how they no longer wear a wristwatch. The reason? Why bother - their smartphone does it all, and their smartphone goes with them everywhere. It's a little hard to argue with this logic - the user interfaces, richness of the information and the experience, and fundamental connectivity of the smartphone easily encompass the primary function of a wristwatch - telling the time - along with adjuncts like alarms and reminder beeps. Well, all functions except one, anyway.

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A Prayer for 2014

A new year brings reflection, forecasts, and seldom-kept resolutions. But given the long-standing nature of so many challenges facing the evolution of mobility, perhaps a prayer or two is more in order today.
Submitted by Craig Mathias on Tue, 01/07/14 - 6:23am.

This is the time of year when analysts like to present their key predictions for the coming year. Last year, my big theme was sufficiency - the fact that we had achieved sufficient throughput- and capacity-related capabilities in mobile and wireless (subscriber devices, 802.11ac, LTE, LTE-A, etc.) at Layers 1-3 that attention across the food chain shifted up the protocol stack, all the way to Layer 7. It's (almost) always all about the apps - that's where the bulk of the action will be, therefore, in the coming years, including this one.

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Wireless: Is Radical Innovation Still Possible?

Great leaps forward (CDMA, OFDM, and MIMO come to mind) are rare, and many assume we’re at the end of the road. But with significant innovations continuing to appear, are we really?
Submitted by Craig Mathias on Wed, 12/18/13 - 5:44pm.

I spoke this week with a senior executive of wireless technology startup MagnaCom a company that made some pretty impressive claims with their announcement of Wave Modulation, or WAM. Among those claims are that WAM offers an additional 10 dB of processing gain over 4096QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation), a high-end version (802.11ac, for example, uses only 256QAM) of the current standard of modulation used in many wireless systems.

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Looking for Access? Try the iPass Hotspot Finder

Submitted by Craig Mathias on Tue, 12/17/13 - 10:37am.

I've been playing with Hotspot Finder from iPass, which, as you might already be guessing, helps users find iPass' APs, which the company bills as the world's largest commercial Wi-Fi network.

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Farpoint Group Stock Ownership Policy Change

Of necessity, a change, which may be temporary, in our policy with respect the ownership of equities in firms that are discussed in this blog.
Submitted by Craig Mathias on Fri, 12/13/13 - 1:41pm.

Hey - do you have a company pension plan? I thought not. With longer life expectancies and rapidly-rising healthcare costs, you get to save for your own retirement. And many of us actually end up managing these investments as well, making key decisions as to what to buy, hold, and sell.

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