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Securing Access to the Network and Beyond

Often when I think about what mobile means, I picture sales people out in the field, inspectors on bridges, repair men high atop utility poles. But in reality, we are all mobile a lot closer to home. I’m mobile when I check email from my backyard. I’m even mobile when I’m in the office, accessing the network from my device from a meeting room or even from my desk. Mobile truly means working from anywhere.

As employees have become increasingly mobile, their needs have changed both while they are in the office and when they are remote. And network access control has had to mature to meet user needs. SAP has been a long time partner of Cisco when it comes to managing mobile devices and networks.

Cisco easily solves the problem of determining who is allowed onto a corporate network and, once there, what they can access. Getting the correct network rights and having the ability to change attributes over time is an important area for any network administrator to control. It is a natural extension to add Mobile Device Management (MDM) to the mix for full control over mobile deployments. That’s why SAP Afaria and Cisco ISE make a fantastic pair.

Companies who have both Afaria and Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) can configure ISE to only allow network access to devices that are managed by Afaria and are compliant. ISE can then route non-compliant devices to the Afaria Self Service Portal where users can enroll their device and get access to the corporate network. For an administrator, the combination of Afaria and Cisco ISE provides a single view into the compliance status of network identity across all regions with detailed visibility into all kinds of devices management information. The ability to add contextual awareness to your access control is interesting to ponder. For example, perhaps an employee is OK to access the company network when in the United States, but not when traveling abroad. You can have the added contact to allow or disallow access with very specific requirements. Administrators love the ability to gain immediate insight into non-compliant devices trying to connect to the network – and shut them down!

SAP’s expertise in mobile device management is only one aspect of a comprehensive system. The company’s expertise in real time data management and analytics also come in to play. Imagine the capabilities you would have with real time analysis of compliance across all of your global networks and devices. You’d have the ability to capture high volume of data from all sources and translate that into valuable reporting and dashboard capabilities via a great user experience. For example, you could gain insight into overall device adoption rates, network usage, BYOD compliance, track devices attempting to connect without the proper enrollment, etc. One example that is particularly interesting is tracking data roaming – being able to know at any point in time what devices are roaming without a data plan.

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Cisco’s Connected Mobile Experiences at Cisco Live Orlando 2013

Orlando 2013 being Cisco Live’s largest event yet with over 20000 delegates was where CMX was shown to be a very key part of Cisco’s strategic business solutions offering and was shown right throughout the show from Key note addresses to booth demos, to focussed presentations to whisper suites even to deep customer on to one discussions.

Cisco Chairman & CEO, John Chambers in his keynote address to all the assembled delegates both live and via video link, where he outlined the the vision for tomorrow  by exploring new opportunities and the amazing things that can happen when you connect the previously unconnected, demo’ed the key component that CMX plays in delivering enormous insights and business value to the retail industry.

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Taking things a little deeper and more specific in the Hospitality Industry, SVP Enterprise Networking Group, Rob Soderbery in his Keynote, demonstrated a very compelling scenario using CMX to deliver incredible guest experience in a hotel. He showed how CMX can recognize the customer on arrival, wake up the hotel app, offer virtual concierge services, enable automatic checkin, navigation to the room, keyless entry and highly targeted offers. Read More »

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[Cartoon Catalyst Blog Series] The New Age Textbook – Implications of BYOD on K12 Education

Today’s education landscape is rapidly changing. We’ve entered an era where technology dictates the way things get done and education is at the forefront of this shift. One might ask, “How will technology affect education?” Consider the schools of past, when the only educational resources offered to students were textbooks. What if we could positively impact the way we educate our future generations, while creating a more efficient way of learning that inspires fun and creativity?

Read More »

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[Cartoon Catalyst Blog Series] Why deploy Pervasive Wireless for K-12. Who’s doing it and how.

Is there anything more annoying than a frozen screen?  Imagine a teacher or student trying to utilize wireless technology on campus only to be let down by slow or spotty wireless coverage. School districts cannot leverage a wireless network with performance issues.  Hot spots are no longer good enough: there is a requirement for pervasive wireless access in today’s classrooms.  Only with pervasive wireless access can technology be fully utilized to help innovate the classroom, whether it’s through access to online teaching tools, real time communication or other student engagement vehicles.   Cisco BYOD Solutions for K12 Education offer flexible solutions that make a pervasive wireless network an affordable reality.

A pervasive wireless network opens up anytime, anywhere access to enhanced teaching and learning resources.  An overwhelming 94% of teachers say Google or other search engines tops the list of sources their students use for research*.

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Manufacturers Go Mobile

July 2, 2013 at 1:43 pm PST
Mary Ann Azevedo

Mary Ann Azevedo

Guest Blog by

Mary Ann Azevedo is an award-winning journalist based in Silicon Valley.  She has covered business and technology issues for Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, the San Francisco Business Times and the Houston Business Journal.

An excellent piece by Mary Ann Azevedo is now available on the “The Network” (originally published June 24 , 2013) which expands upon many of the themes we have discussed on this Cisco Manufacturing Blog site. Start reading here, and the ‘Read More’ link will take you to the full article:

Ten years ago, an employee at a manufacturing firm would have to use pen and paper to conduct a plant floor inspection or quality control check. With handwritten notes, there was the potential for mistakes. The time it would take for a discovered problem to be addressed would vary considering how long it took for someone to learn about it and find the resources to solve it.

But as mobile technology has advanced, those same workers now have the option to instead use a mobile device such as a tablet or an iPad to perform the same functions. And those that do are finding that they are saving time and money while reducing the risk for errors and increasing safety in the workplace.

Manufacturers may have been slow to adopt mobility in the workplace but that reluctance seems to be gradually fading as once more conservative manufacturers are viewing the use of mobile as a way to get a leg up on their competition, notes Heather Ashton, research Manager for IDC Manufacturing and Retail Insights.Manufacturing employees “are becoming the smart connected worker by taking the technology with them,” she notes. “They’re moving throughout their workday connected at all times, which is huge.”

Not only they are adopting the use of mobile more, they are actually developing their own applications.According to a spring 2012 IDC survey (see chart in main article ), nearly 40 percent of 373 surveyed manufacturers across a variety of sectors said they intended to develop half or more of their applications for mobile platforms in 2012.

Eaton Corp. is one example of a company that has developed its own mobile application to enhance operations. John Gercak, vice president of information technology for Eaton’s $4 billion vehicle group, said his team in the United States and India spent about seven months developing the “Powertrac.”

The mobile application, which went live last December, uses a global positioning system (GPS) on an iPad and a cellular network to track the company’s test vehicles for supporting its products.

“With this app, the driver takes the iPad with them in the vehicle while on the track and we’re able to see in real time on the Web exactly where the vehicle is at all times,” he said.  Gercak said this is particularly useful because “if there’s a safety issue, we’re able to tell and notify the drivers in advance so as to avoid any potential accidents. Before if a vehicle was broken down, we weren’t able to know right away and contact the other drivers so from a safety perspective, it’s very helpful,”  Read More >

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