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Mobile Devices Will Transform Your Business IT

There’s no question that more people around the world are connecting to wireless networks at home, work and play via mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. This rise in mobile device usage begs the question: How soon will it be (if not already) before these mobile devices dominate the mobile network, especially in the workplace?

Chris Spain - with header FINALJust recently, I read an article in Forbes, by Louis Columbus, that addresses the issue of increased mobile devices and unprepared network infrastructures. The article examines a study by IDC that predicts that 87% of sales for connected devices will be tablets and smartphones in next four years. As many employees prefer working from their own mobile devices, corporate networks, as they’re currently designed, will not be capable of successfully managing such a large volume of mobile data traffic generated by these mobile devices. With such expansive growth expected, the majority of businesses will either need to adapt an existing strategy to support this increase in mobile devices or adopt a new strategy.

Currently, there is a clear need for enterprises to better prepare and invest in their IT infrastructure. As more employees use their own devices at work for business and personal use, it’s imperative that business organizations require a secure mobile device and BYOD strategy to accommodate their business needs and employee preferences. However, the decision to adopt BYOD comes with a set of challenges for IT organizations.

Many of the benefits of BYOD, such as having the choice of device and anywhere, anytime access, are somewhat adverse to traditional IT requirements for security and support. In the past, IT pre-determined a list of approved workplace devices, typically a prescribed desktop, laptop, and perhaps even a small, standardized set of mobile phones and smartphones. Employees could choose among these devices, but generally were not permitted to stray from the approved devices list. With BYOD, IT has to approach the problem differently. Read More »

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Beyond Today’s Productivity and Efficiency: Enterprise Mobility Enables Long-Term Growth

One of the basic tenants of enterprise mobility is its direct influence on “now”.

When organizations implement mobile policies like BYOD and virtualized desktops, day-to-day operations can immediately improve. In most cases, the rate of return on seeing change is direct. However, the impact of enterprise mobility is not short-lived.sixsteps

Recently, we counted down the “Six Essential Steps for Unleashing the Power of Enterprise Mobility.”  Throughout the series, we provided a guide for enterprises to follow to implement broader mobility. We discussed how businesses could benefit now by untethering their global workforce and increasing productivity. The series highlighted a tactical approach to mobility, yet we would be amiss not to discuss the long-term transformational impact mobility can have on businesses. How can mobility be a catalyst for organizational growth and innovation?

Last week, I read an IT Web article by Johannesburg-based Lebo Mashiloane that discussed how BYOD and mobility are fueling enterprise growth. The article brought up a concept that is always important to keep top-of-mind: How today’s technology solutions are changing the landscape of tomorrow. Read More »

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Three Flavors of CMX Analytics: Onsite, Online & Social

Big data seems to be everywhere these days. Everywhere you look there are new companies and technologies that promise to crunch up enormous databases and instantly extract from them knowledge and understanding.  Although that sounds impressive, it raises the question – how can that help me and my business? How does fitting an N degree polynomial to a CRM database help me grow my business?

At Cisco, we’ve taken a very practical approach to big data. We started by asking our customers: what do they want to know? What information would help our customers’ better manage their sites, optimize their operations and grow their business? We took those questions and built Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) Analytics around them.

iStock retailWouldn’t a store manager want to know how many of his customers were new? Did that new marketing campaign launched last month really drive new visitors to the store? Or another example, let’s say the layout of the store was just changed, wouldn’t the manager want to know if it was effective? Did people spend more time in the store? How about better understanding your customer base?  Which web sites do my visitors visits? And of course retail isn’t the only segment that would like to know things. Wouldn’t an airport want to know how long people wait in the security line? Would a train station like to know how long before the train leaves people come into store?

Cisco’s CMX Analytics takes anonymous device location data gathered by the Cisco Mobility Services Engine (MSE), and leverages that data to provide clear, concise and relevant information.  In order to make the data easier to visualize, we have recently enhanced our user interface adding many features that help users immediately and intuitively grasp the data.  Our new dashboard enables every user to customize the views they wish to see and prioritize which data is meaningful to them. Our new Path engine enables customers to visualize how many people walk through the different paths in their venue. Our new reports can tell our customers everything from how many people are using their Wi-Fi to which floor people spend the most time in.  These are just a few examples of the many innovations pouring into out CMX Analytics platform. Read More »

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Advanced Wireless Functionality for a Fraction of the Price

Since launching Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) – Cisco’s innovative solution that turns the network into a platform for delivering location-aware, in-venue services – customers have been intrigued. However, CMX could not exist without the Cisco Mobility Services Engine (MSE), a location-aware network appliance to provide location-aware capabilities as well as deep wireless security.

Before I get into the new pricing details, here’s a quick recap of what the MSE can do:

The MSE is a network appliance that takes your wireless network and turns into a platform for delivering cool and innovative location-based services that provide unique business value through online, onsite and social analytics. For example, you can now leverage your wireless network to see how many customers are visiting your store? Are they new or repeat customers? Are long wait times at checkout hurting my business? With the MSE, organizations can even communicate directly with visitors in their venue through their mobile devices. You can now provide wayfinding (indoor GPS) and push relevant content such as offers or coupons directly to your visitors, which in turn can drive revenue gains for the venue.

The MSE does more than location based services – it also has a rich set of network security tools (known collectively as wIPS – wireless intrusion prevention system) that help protect the network from all kinds of attacks.  The MSE can not only tell you that there is an attack taking place, but it will tell you which type of attack (“honeypot”), where the attack is coming from, and will also enable the network fight back against the attack (“flood the attacking device with traffic making it impossible for him to do anything”).

We wanted to make this great functionality more accessible and affordable for our customers, so I am happy to announce that we are offering a new pricing promotion for MSE licenses starting now until April 2014.

Here are the basics of the promotion: Read More »

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As Mobile Social Usage and Constant Connectivity Increases, Security A Top Concern

Survey results from an IDC study recently revealed that people are relying more and more on their smart mobile device as their primary tool for communication and connecting.

The study, sponsored by Facebook, highlights some compelling insights about mobility including:

  • Half of the total US population uses smartphones
  • A “sense of being connected” is the strongest sentiment for driving mobile social usage
  • The most popular activities on smartphones are email (78%), Web browsing (73%) and Facebook (70%)

alwaysconnectedEveryday we are seamlessly integrating mobility features into our daily lives. We use mobile devices for tasks such as email, mobile shopping and making social connections. According to the IDC study, nearly 80 percent of us reach for our phone within 15 minutes of waking up for the day – I am part of this statistic!

It’s clear that mobility and the increasing use of social media creates new ways for us to interact and connect, but it’s also creating new security concerns. With the influx of personal data on our social media news feeds and our purchasing habits sitting in our smartphone’s browsing history, how can we make sure our personal information is secure? In addition, as the lines between personal and work devices blur, how can enterprises make sure employee-owned social networks aren’t opening the door for the latest network threat? An essential part of our mobile future will depend on enterprises and individuals developing a comprehensive approach to protecting sensitive data and privacy. Read More »

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