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Moving Beyond BYOD: Connecting the ‘Anytime, Anywhere’ Workforce

With more than seven billion souls set to tote 10 billion mobile-connected devices by 2016, mobility has not just arrived, it’s taken over our schools, businesses and personal lives.

Just ask Mitch Davis, the CIO of Bowdoin College, a private liberal arts college in Maine. Before BYOD ever became a global IT trend, according to Mitch, the vast majority of college students were already bringing their personal devices into the campus environment.

These co-eds expected Bowdoin to fully embrace personal mobility, and, upon graduation, these same post-grads expect that their employers will do the same (this year’s Connected World Technology Report findings back this up, with more than 40 percent of recent college graduates/Gen Y employees choosing BYOD flexibility over higher pay).

Bottom line, the rules of the game are changing, and companies must move beyond basic BYOD connectivity to meet employee demands today and tomorrow. To help companies meet these demands, we’ve introduced a comprehensive approach that unifies policy, supports a better user experience and simplifies management to deliver an uncompromised user experience in any workspace. After all, Cisco wants to empower IT managers to allow employees to have their devices and use them too. That means delivering:

  1. A unified security policy across the whole organization – wired, wireless, VPN and now MDM – helping companies set and enforce policies;
  2. An uncompromised user experience over the entire wired/wireless network, across any type of device; and,
  3. Simplified operations and network management to understand application performance from a user’s perspective, accelerating troubleshooting and lowering operating costs.

Like Ray-Ban aviators, BYOD is here to stay. And done the right way, BYOD demands a comprehensive approach to allow current and future employees to work how they want, when and where they want, and on the devices they want – while still allowing IT the control and visibility to sleep at night.

Learn more about our announcement and new technologies here.

By the way, whether you’re a college student or have been working for 30 years, you’re eligible to take the BYOD Challenge and win a trip to 2012 London Olympics – good luck!

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Finally! Great Wi-Fi at Big Events

Today, you may be able to walk into in a convention hall, or university classroom, or baseball park and connect your mobile device.  Maybe.  But you’re likely competing for that connection with all the people around you.   Can you join an online conversation while attending  a large class at school?  Can you view a live stream of the keynote address while sitting in a convention hall, or see the homerun hit while in line at the beer stand?

Today, chances are the answer is no.  But that’s changing.

The reason that the answer is no, today, is that you’re sharing a finite cellular or Wi-Fi connection with all your fellow consumers in that train, convention or stadium.  If you’ve got 50,000 fans, and off-the-shelf access points with “floodlight-like” unidirectional coverage areas, you’re likely sharing your one AP with 1000 other people!  And if you simply put more of those APs in, the overlapping airwaves would all be competing for the same limited number of Wi-Fi channels.  And when that happens, performance gets much, much worse.

But luckily, Cisco is announcing a brand new solution that addresses this issue, called Cisco Connected Stadium Wi-Fi, and it’s debuting in the Sporting Kansas City stadium.  We’ve got the new Aironet 3500p access point with a very special antenna with a directional, “spotlight-like” coverage pattern.  This means each AP has minimal interference with the AP next to it, and is shared by fewer fans.  Everyone gets a bigger piece of the pie – and therefore more predictable levels of performance to run cool new video apps.  Translation:  twice as much video-viewing, iPad-carrying  performance for you and me!

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