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Finding the Right Mix with Wi-Fi

Communications has been irrevocably changed by Wi-Fi. For a great example of how far we’ve come in just 10 short years, take a look at My Life B.W., Before Wi-Fi. But while Wi-Fi in mobile devices is becoming more and more commonplace, Wi-Fi infrastructure is not yet ubiquitous. Cellular networks have Wi-Fi beat today, despite 125,000 (and growing) public hotspots. So I’m puzzled over the target market for the Sony mylo (My Life On Line). It’s billed as a”personal communicator” but it’s only connectivity is Wi-Fi. Read More »

The Long Tail of Mobility: Connecting Trillions of People and Devices on the Human Network

In his book on changing economics of web commerce, The Long Tail, Chris Anderson illustrates how the Internet is changing the laws of distribution from digital products from entertainment (movies and CDs) to manufactured products Wireless networks are, too, growing a long tail, as billions, maybe even, trillions, of devices are being connected to an increasing pervasive and integrated array of wireless networks powering the mobility generation. Read More »

My Life Online

Last week I received my long awaited Sony mylo (which stands for My Life Online, and is NOT CAPITALIZED), a personal communicator that used Wi-Fi rather than Cellular technologies to support its communications capabilities. The mylo, according to Sony’s marketing spiel, allows you to put the “entire world under your thumbs” (take that, Mick Jagger), and allows you to “take the best part of your computer with you” wherever you go.http://www.learningcenter.sony.us/assets/itpd/mylo/prod/index.htmlWhile I will let Sony do the heavy lifting here in describing all the cool capabilities of the mylo-- and there is a lot going on in this device including email, music, video/photos, chat, etc. — what is interesting about this device it that it has not linkage to the cellular world and only uses Wi-Fi hotspots to gain connectivity to the Internet. Indeed, the PSP/Gameboy meets Sidekick meets Pager meets IPod’s primary communications tools are Instant Messenger and Voice Messaging from Google(talk), Yahoo and Skype.A true child of the Web 2.0 Revolution, the mylo assumes voice and text messaging will be free and that access to the Internet will also come from Hotspots, which could be free or for pay. It bundles a JWire application to help you find open hotspots by geography. Okay, the real world, today, does not work that way, but as Hemingway intoned at the end of The Sun Also Rises: “isn’t it pretty to think so.”Call this the first “crossover” device of the Mobility Generation, it’s an opening salvo in the shape of things to come for computing, communications and gaming. http://blogs.cisco.com/wireless/2006/06/mobility_generation_a_fathers.htmlImperfect and expensive, like all first generation miracles, it has the whiff of the inevitable. As the gamers and Mobility Generation enter the workforce, they will increasingly dictate not only how we communicate, but how we work, carrying the openness of youth into the mores of the work world. And, like the earlier generation, which brought PCs into the workforce, against the wishes of IT management, we will be under their thumb.

Green Day for Wi-Fi, For Cisco

I was walking up 8th Avenue in Manhattan yesterday, listening to Green Day on my IPod, as I wove my way through the pedestrian tango of Midtown. “Time grabs you by the wrist and directs you where to go”I grabbed Unstrung’s Dan Jones by his wrist and pulled him into the new Hearst Tower, which has been officially designated the first building to receive a Gold LEED certified rating for “core and shell and interiors” in New York City from the United States Green Building Council. Building on a series of “diagrid” traingles, reaching upwards, like a series of giant glass and metal slashes 46 stories into the sky, the Hearst Tower is a marvel of technology, ecology and architecture. And -this is where Dan comes in — it turns out Hearst has deployed a Unified Wireless LAN throughout the entire 856,000 square feet of the Tower, to help it meet both its mobility needs as well as support its green strategy. http://www.unstrung.com/document.asp?doc_id=104257&WT.svl=news2_1Rising out of the stone Art Deco shell of the earlier Hearst building, the 46 floor tower- Used 20% less steel to construct- Reycled 90% of the materials of the original building- Is furnished with bio-sustainable materials for the furniture and carpeting- Uses sensors (vs. light switches) to turn off the power in rooms when no one is in them- Uses RF shielding to keep the building cool (and, interesting, lowers the amount of RF signal bleed out of the building)- Collects rainwater from the room which is collected in a 16,000 gallon tank to provide a magnificent waterfall in the atrium and cooling for the lower floors. For more on the Tower: http://hearst.com/tower/Hearst deployed 260 Lightweight Access Points and 4 WLAN Controllers to provide pervasive mobility services to the more than 2000 employees and thousands of annual visitors working in the Tower. The WLAN connections are delivered through Mobile Access’s Distributed Antenna System (DAS), which also delivers cellular connectivity across the building from base stations from Cingular, Verizon, and T-Mobile.So can wireless be a green technology? Seven environmental drivers stand out how:- Seamlessly roaming around the building (including the magnificent atrium), increases productivity and more fully utilizes the available space- Providing guest networking features allows other users to access the network and avoid traveling back to their offices or to a hotspot- The DAS system reduces cabling: o Requiring less metal to be used o Fewer cables to be pulled and powered (e.g., POE). o Efficiently deliver multiple wireless signals to users while preserving the key features of the Unified system- Reducing costs and energy expended in moves/adds/changes as people change workspace- Supporting location-based services such as asset-tracking can save time and energy. -- Enabling real-time access to Web 2.0 types of info and systems can reduce both increase worker productivity and eliminate to print documents or carry CDs or DVDs for accessing relevant work media.. [Warning: Relevant Diversion Alert] The 400 CDs worth of music on my IPod, if they are all delivered digitally, eliminate the need to burn CDs, wrap them in plastic cases that will sit in garbage heaps for thousands of years.- Supporting, over time, additional environmental sensors Imagine using the technology we build to reduce strain on precious earth? Wow, my benchmark lesson came from a company in the printing and media business?Today our CEO John Chambers, speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, announced a signficant Carbon Reduction Initiative, as ever, showing Cisco’s focus on using our own technology to run our business more efficiently. Now we are using our technology to reduce carbon emissions. For more on this effort: http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/2006/ts_092106.html?CMP=ILC-001For me, it was a green day in New York. Or as Green Day said in their song”Are We the Waiting”:”Å“Starry nights, city lights coming down over meSkyscrapers, stargazers in my head.”You thought I was going to say Rosebud?

Enter the Era of Pervasive Mobility

Today closes my first week at Cisco. Starting a new job is always momentous, but this one is even more so. I’ve been in the wireless industry for 10 years -a virtual dinosaur -and for the bulk of that time, Cisco has been the networking force in wireless. The acquisition of Aironet in 1999 set the industry on a growth curve that hasn’t slowed since.And that brings to me why this job is so interesting. For 10 years, I’ve been with small companies fighting to gain mindshare in the shadow of Cisco. I’ve done a lot of interesting things and I’d like to think along the way helped a lot of customers, analysts and press understand the exciting new world of wireless and what possibilities it brings. But I sense that the opportunity is bigger now. Read More »