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Partner with IT to Build the Workplace of the Future

I’m a huge advocate for flexible work practices including the ability to work from wherever and whenever you want, and think those who attempt to run businesses the ‘old fashioned’ way will fall behind if they fail to recognize the effects of mobility in both their workforce and their bottom lines.

The impact of mobility became clear to us when we discovered that space utilization of our own 22.5Mft2 global property was just at 50 percent. And it’s not just happening at Cisco. According to a CoreNet study, nearly 60 percent of a company’s desks are vacant at any given time and the growing mobility trend is a major reason why. Taking all of this into consideration, I think the question that corporate real estate and facilities leaders need to focus on is, “why aren’t we working with IT leaders to build the workplace of the future?”

Mobility and the Changing Landscape

Most employees can now work from anywhere on any device and have access to most content.  We’re seeing this “wherever you are is your office” trend actually increases productivity and I would even argue that employees who don’t commute actually work more hours on company business. With mobility and bring your own device (BYOD) taking such a strong hold within the workplace, data collection has been accelerating at an exponential rate – so much so that by 2018, Read More »

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Mobile Public Safety: Connections on the Job

Public safety agencies continually strive to improve their effectiveness and responsiveness to incidents in their jurisdictions. With increased attention on homeland security programs, these agencies demand better interdepartmental and interagency communications with important personnel, including police officers and first responders in the field.

Mobile applications supporting police, fire, and medical response units have transitioned from simple text and voice to rich multimedia applications. Real-time video, maps with satellite imagery, Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking, and global database searches are now available in handheld devices that first responders carry with them in the field. In today’s technological sphere, public safety agencies are leveraging these new capabilities and extending their existing applications in order to enhance the efficiency and delivery of high-quality services. Read More »

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What do predictions about 5G mean for the Future of Mobility?

With the recent exponential growth of mobile devices, it is hard not to look ahead for the next big thing that will transform technology as we know it.

One current hot topic is 5G. While most industry experts agree it is a ways off, there are obvious reasons for excitement — including how it will impact the future of mobility, the Internet of Things, and ultimately the Internet of Everything.

If 5G is all that it’s speculated to be, the mobility landscape will be in for a dramatic change , especially as businesses and organizations embrace all that 5G stands to offer such as ultra-fast network speeds and an increase in capacity.

However, while the industry grapples with understanding “just what is 5G” many experts, such as Read More »

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Dimension Data Series #4- The Opportunities and Risk of Secure Mobility from the Top Down

Mobile security is a top concern for IT and business leaders. This blog series with Dimension Data explores how organizational leaders can work together to mitigate concern and implement clearly defined policies and mobility goals. This blog will address the opportunities and risk of secure mobility from the top down. The first blog in this series discussing how concerns outweigh actions when it comes to mobility security can be found here. The second blog in this series highlighting how IT and business leaders can work together to develop secure mobility policies can be found here. The third blog in this series discussing how to close the gap between vision and real-world implementation can be found here.

Throughout this blog series, we’ve discussed several key aspects of implementing secure mobility policies and programs to ensure organizations can reap the benefits of mobility now and in the future. It’s clear that mobility is a top priority for IT and business leaders and most have a clear vision of the role mobility can and will play in their organization. Overall, they see both the risks and the rewards.

That said, responses gathered in the recent Dimension Data Secure Mobility Global Survey point to a gap between that overall vision and the likely real-world outcomes organizations will face – given that a number of crucial initial steps can ultimately save time, reduce costs, and, most importantly, ensure appropriate security controls are in place.

In this post, I’ll highlight the real opportunities and risk regarding mobility and security – and how business leaders can address the disparity between vision and actual deployment now and for years to come.

Understanding the Opportunity and the Real Risk

The threat to an organization’s proprietary information is certainly foremost in the minds of IT and security leaders. Interestingly, 71% of respondents of the recent Dimension Data survey indicated that their business leaders view employee utilization of personal mobile devices as potentially dangerous, costly and not business critical.

IT concerns about secure enterprise mobility risk are many. These include the introduction of malware into the environment from largely unmanaged devices or devices that organizations have little to no control over and the data leakage challenges by allowing users to have various parts of data outside of the network. In addition, many IT leaders ask:

  • “How are we actually going to deploy mobility security?”
  • “How are we going to support the users?”
  • “Will our IT help desk be able to meet the around-the-clock requests that today’s users demand?”

Read More »

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The 2014 Automation Conference – IoE and Beer

The 2014 Automation Conference (TAC) was held March 20-21, 2014 in sunny Chicago (Yes, sunny Chicago!! I made sure to pack some California sunshine for the Windy City) attracted a diverse group of automation and manufacturing thought leaders and subject matter experts from leading machine builders, system integrators, manufacturing end users, standards bodies and educational institutions. The focus and objective of the conference was to have peer to peer discussions and dialogue around the technologies and next generation automation strategies that are enabling and driving the Internet of Everything (IoE).

“This conference is designed not only to make you think about the application of automation, but also to help you take action” -- David Greenfield, Automation World, editor in chief and TAC event director

The conference achieved this goal and more.  The framework of the sessions encouraged audience collaboration and dialogue around the challenges and practical steps and strategies being designed and deployed to achieve an integrated and scalable IoE architecture that drives value across the entire manufacturing value chain, as depicted in the video below:

I can “wax poetic” around all the great individual sessions held at the conference around Big Data, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), mobility, virtualization, cloud computing, cyber-physical security, network switching, CPwE (Converged Plantwide Ethernet), safety systems, workforce retention and optimization, but I think its more fun and interesting to summarize the highlights of the conference through the  context of a use case that was shared at the conference.

What better way to meet that objective than to leverage a manufacturing use case around beer!!!!

Automating Brewing Operations from Two Different Perspectives

I attended this session where Highland Brewing, Sierra Nevada and Vicinity Manufacturing gave an interesting perspective around the challenges and strategies in deploying their next generation manufacturing operation.

Highland Brewing is a regional brewer of craft beers based in the Southeast and Sierra Nevada is a larger brewer with more of national brand.  The interesting contrast between the two is that Highland Brewing is designing more automation into their operational facility and Sierra Nevada is scaling their automation and IoE strategies across all their facilities.   Both perspectives and approaches have the same objective.  How do I effectively integrate all the various technologies into an intelligent, flexible and scalable system/architecture to meet the following business outcomes:

  1. Increase Customer Loyalty
  2. Supply Chain Optimization
  3. Operational Excellence
  4. Energy Sustainability
  5. Disruptive Innovation

To paraphase Kevin Wheeler, Director of Operations, Highland Brewing Co,“Our core competency is crafting great beer. We have an opportunity to drive efficiency into our operation by an integrating IoT/IoE platform … the challenge is figuring out the best approach.”

Like Highland Brewing, manufacturers must begin to transform existing business processes and fundamentally rethink how they create, operate, and service smart, connected products in the IoE. For those that get it right, the future represents a huge opportunity to create product and service advantages.

Are you having challenges putting together the “IoE technology puzzle?”  Is security the main barrier to IoE adoption?

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