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eWEEK Podcast: Saving Money with Wireless Networks

Happy new year! What, if any, IT resolutions did you make for 2009? If one resolution is to reduce costs or do more with the wireless network that you have, then listen to eWEEK’s Mike Vizard in a recent interview (“Saving Money with Wireless Networks”) with Cisco’s Ben Gibson on how wireless networks in the enterprise pose a cost savings opportunity for IT managers. The discussion covered many topics, including: – investing in wireless for saving money – performance and flexibility with 802.11n wireless networking- unified communication and asset tracking in healthcare – voice and video application enabled by the reliability that 802.11n offers – wireless security/wireless intrusion prevention system (wireless IPS) and WLAN management – mobile device ecosystem- voice over WLAN and call routing – presence and location applications – convergence of network management – deploying pervasive wireless for advanced mobility apps – financing options to fund wireless/mobility projectsRight click here to download and save the eWEEK podcast.

Mobility Trends in Retail

With the holiday season now in our rearview mirror, I scheduled a meeting over TelePresence to meet with our resident mobility expert, Chris Kozup, and Jon Stine, director of Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) focused on the retail market, to learn about some of the mobility trends in retail, specifically how retailers can evolve their mobility practice in their operations.Like many industries, retail is a market segment that is not immune to a difficult economy; and we’re seeing some new ways for retailers to use mobility to help them in the near-term, as well as position them for more long-term competitiveness after this we pass this challenging economic time. How can wireless and mobility help at a time like this? With labor as a major midline cost, increasing employee productivity is the goal – the greater number of mobile applications, the greater the potential for staff productivity. Mobility has shown to help increase productivity by 10 to 20 percent. When a consumer comes into a store and needs help, the first thing they’ll do is locate an associate. But at the same time, the associate should be able to answer questions at point of activity or the point of sale to help the consumer make a purchasing decision. This not only results in greater productivity, but higher retail performance, and it improves the consumer experience. Recently, Joseph De Avila at The Wall Street Journal published a piece titled “œPlease Hold, My Cellphone is Buying a Gift” that focused on retailers using mobile devices to reach out to shoppers. Retailers that we’ve spoken with confirm that this is a trend to begin planning around as consumers are coming to stores with their smartphones. This is an opportunity for retailers to connect with consumers through the mobile device, and essentially bring more of the store to the consumer.Cisco’s wireless and mobility solutions serve as a secure platform to help retailers do more with less or with what they already have. Sure, applications like inventory management and price look-up are expected today; but, mobile point of sale, selling using collaborative video, and product location services from the associate’s mobile device will soon be the norm. Take another leap forward, and then retailers can securely connect with the consumer’s mobile device as another channel to interact with consumers. This too will become the norm, and this is where the compelling value proposition for mobility really takes form.That is just one glimpse into the future, and I invite you to share your visions for what an evolved shopping experience will look like in the three to five years. For the near-term, are you open to retailers, alerting you about sales on your mobile device?Thanks for tuning in.

Approach for WLAN Site Survey and Planning

More businesses are realizing the benefits of 802.11n for delivering reliable and predictable wireless for mobility applications at their facility. As a result, we are often asked questions around conducting a site survey and planning for the number, location and density of access points required for the network.With these questions in mind, I interviewed Chris Kozup on the importance of wireless LAN site surveys, and planning for optimal coverage and performance when migrating to an 802.11n wireless network, as well as the general considerations, recommendations, and best practices and tools for conducting a successful site survey.Chris opens the discussion on the importance of an audit using a WLAN site survey to establish a baseline for understanding the current RF environment. The next step is to determine how wireless is currently deployed in a facility; and understand the RF environment with regard to building materials and the characteristics of RF interference. Factor which mobility applications that will run on the WLAN — now and for the future — like voice, locationing and data because voice and location-based service applications require a more prescript site survey and higher access point density versus data-only applications. Also, a fundamental consideration when deploying a WLAN for the enterprise is to select access points that are engineered specifically for the enterprise, and not the consumer market as some marketed enterprise-grade access points use consumer-grade silicon.As part of an ongoing effective site survey exercise, use tools and technologies available today to keep the WLAN consistent as when deployed. Use automated or dynamic radio provisioning technologies that allows the access point to dynamically adjust to environmental changes, and can automatically change channels or adjust the power output. Also, use an RF spectrum analyzer to detect, locate and mitigate RF interference sources like Bluetooth headsets, cordless phones and microwaves.Feel free to share your 802.11n migration experience and questions.

Mobility Trends in Higher Education

Welcome to the kickoff of our new video series that will share the trends we’re seeing in vertical markets and how mobility is addressing those developments. In this video, Dr. Tracey Wilen-Daugenti, Cisco’s higher education practice lead and Chris Kozup, senior manager of mobility solutions, discuss mobility trends at higher education campuses with three groups in mind – students, faculty and administration staff. These mobility trends are topical as the EDUCAUSE conference starts this week in Orlando, Florida.Tracey opens with reporting that students, between the ages of 18 and 29, are brining an average of nine devices to campus, as well as an expectation for pervasive wireless to maintain consistent connectivity; versus hotspot coverage in only libraries, dorms and social areas. Faculty is changing their teaching formula by doing more with multimedia such as video and podcasts. For example, professors are recording their lectures, and offerings them to students for download, allowing students to review class content while mobile or remote. In addition, a recent study on dual-mode devices found that administrative staff is 35 percent more productive due largely in part to having access to information while on the move. These trends, especially with the sheer number of devices (laptops, gaming systems, cameras, dual-mode devices, etc.) lead universities to look at a network that supports rich content that is created and shared simultaneously and rapidly by both students and faculty. Stay tuned for the next episode. And until then, share with us some of the trends that you are seeing or hearing about on education campuses. What are the developing behaviors that are moving IT to change the role of the network?

802.11n Testing Results Playback

If you were not able to attend the July 29 Mobility TV live webcast on 802.11n performance testing results, the video-on-demand is now available for playback at Think TiVo meets Cisco Mobility TV. For your convenience, you can jump to defined segments of the broadcast rather than watch the entire video. Below is a list the topics you can segment-surf to.*Introduction -a welcome from Cisco’s Chris Kozup*Cisco-Intel Joint Collaboration -Intel’s Mayura Garg discusses importance of the testing*802.11n Testing Results -Cisco’s Jake Woodhams shares the 802.11n performance testing results*Intel Video -watch the roaming robots from Intel’s testing lab*MIT Case Study -Chris Murphy discusses MIT’s upgrade to 802.11n*Southeast Alabama Medical Center Case Study -Scott Lapham shares Southeast Alabama Medical’s 802.11n performance resultsThanks for tuning in. Let us know your thoughts on how we went about this extensive test validation that also optimizes the real-world performance and interoperability of 802.11n Draft 2.0 WLANs.