Cisco: Mobility with customers is to expect the unexpected!

Cisco Mobility Blog

Ben Gibson
Ben Gibson - Senior Director of Cisco Mobility Solutions Marketing, reveals in the video Q & A below that Cisco thinks they've just scratched the surface in terms of the sheer diversity of mobile devices that can be mobilized. Cisco believes that the number one issue when it comes to mobility with customers is to expect the unexpected!

Read the video transcript:

Question: What is the IT challenge for extending mobility to employees and mobile users?
Answer: A challenge businesses and IT departments have to manage mobility applications over what is often separate networks. And what I mean by that is on site in an enterprise or business environment you can have a wireless LAN. As a user roams out into the public that then can obviously be a cellular network. The advent of WiMAX as an emerging broadband wireless technology can also come into the equation. And this can go vertical. You can be on a manufacturing floor that can be utilizing a proprietary wireless network, say one in 900 MHz for tracking different tag assets and devices across a manufacturing floor. So what I’m describing here is a lot of different networks that are wireless or could even be wired. You can consider Ethernet as one too. And then the IT challenge then is how can you increasingly manage and extend mobility applications and services over multiple networks. And from a user perspective it shouldn’t matter ultimately. But to get to that point is going to take some work. And we think a new approach to unify the mobility network that is truly more access agnostic but at the same time you get a same experience across these different networks.
Question: What and how should IT plan – both short- and long-term – for managing all the different type of networks?
Answer: The number one I think foundation and discussion about mobility with customers is to expect the unexpected, and to not only look to where they are today with mobility, but also anticipate the different request and requirements that are going to be coming are finding their way into their business or organization. Next generation of workforce comes in, and they’re going to come in with a whole host of new and different devices. Apple iPhone is a great example here. I have a lot of discussions with university customers that their challenge is they want to provide connectivity for these dual-mode devices – their cellular and Wi-Fi devices. But how they make sure that it is a secure experience for those devices as they come on – to this case s university network. So I think a key challenge is to look at – approach wise – architecturally, how you look at how you can deploy the network – an IP-based network, we firmly believe – can really be the centerpiece or foundation, the platform to be able to manage and extend mobility experiences and services out to this increasing number and diversity of mobile devices. Having that architecture in place, and converging more over an IP network from the start we think will help our customers scale and take on new mobility requirements that come over time.
Question: How is mobility evolving?
Answer: We certainly see mobility – business mobility – evolving very rapidly amongst customers of all different types. I think one thing that is fundamental across all industries of mobility is that today when you think of mobility, you think of mobile phones, and you think of laptop computers. Where we see this market moving towards is that – if you think just this year – the quantity of laptop computers and the increasing number of dual-mode devices of mobile phones, that certainly is a large population of mobile devices that can be networked, and we believe increasingly can be networked in the business environment across an IP-based network. What’s also exciting and can be a challenge for us in this industry is that we feel that we’ve just scratched the surface in terms of the sheer diversity of mobile devices that can be mobilized over – whether it be a mobile network or a cellular network or the like. So here I’m talking about not only getting into mobile devices, but the Internet of things. So any asset that is currently inventoried within a manufacturing plant, within a storage facility, potentially can be mobilized. So we get now into the realm of RFID technologies, both active and passive RFID tagging technologies that today typically aren’t networked or connected via an IP-based network, whether it be Wi-Fi o what have you. They tend to be networked via a proprietary wireless network that has been setup. What we see is, where things are moving is essentially is the potential of a huge wave of new devices, assets, actively tagged or passively tagged – that ultimately can be connected and converged over an IP-based network infrastructure. The benefit for IT and our customers is it is less silos you have to manage. You can track more and get a holistic view, for instance, of all these assets across a location, and know what’s going with those assets in many cases. And here’s where we’re doing a lot of exciting work in the area of telemetry. So where is that medical device, but also what is the temperature readings? What is the humidity levels? What is the power level? Is battery power up or down? If you think about taking that location information of all these different type of assets, and then get that context of what that asset is doing at that particular time, and the platform being the network to roll that up into a customer application that you can take advantage of this information... That’s a true business impacting applications that will make a big difference. That is mobility to us as well in our view. To summarize, how is mobility going to evolve? (1) We’re going to see a sharp increase in the workforce, in partners, in customers that expect to be mobile within the business environment. (2) The sheer number of – both in terms of quantity and diversity – of different mobile devices and assets are going to sharply increase over the next few years. So I think the challenge in the industry is there has to be a different approach to how these mobile networks can be managed and you can have seamless experiences across a private network, public network to personal network. And then ultimately how you can network a larger diversity of devices together to make a true business impact.

Do YOU agree with Cisco that by connecting more devices and assets to the network, along with mobile devices connecting to multiple networks – IT will need to look at an architecture shift to essentially everything that is a mobility network... Not just Wi-Fi, cellular, RFID or WiMAX, etc... But all?

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