BYOD and Back to School…Already?

Popsicles, water balloon fights, fireflies and staying up past your bedtime. These summertime rituals haven’t changed since I was a kid. What has changed is technology and the buying cycle for back-to-school.  Last week in Target I saw an entire wall display of back packs.  My kids have been out of school for exactly one month and retailers are already pushing school supplies! 

Sunday I woke up brewed a pot of coffee and sat down with my iPad to check Facebook and peruse my email. Cisco has embraced Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), so I have secure access to my work email on my iPad at home. I checked a few work emails, but I just couldn’t resist the Red, White and Blue 20% off coupon in my inbox.  Had I not seen the back-to-school display last week and received the coupon in my inbox would I be buying khaki pants and blue shirts the 2nd week of July?  Shopping on a laptop is easy. Shopping on an iPad is just downright dangerous!  Consumerism was starting to take over, but in my mind I justified it as one less thing on my to-do list for August.

We have an 802.11n access point at home which gives us reliable coverage.  On Sunday it gave us enough bandwidth to support my basic email and web surfing, our AuPair on Skype with her family in Germany, my husband surfing the web, and my kids watching Back to the Future on Apple TV.  I had uniforms ordered before lightning struck the clock tower and Marty flew the DeLorean time machine back to 1955.

I can’t wait to get the next generation of Wi-Fi— 802.11ac is currently an IEEE draft standard and is expected to deliver up to 1.3 Gbps.  Not quite the 1.21 gigawatts required for Doc Brown’s flux capacitor to reach 88 mph, but enough bandwidth to address some critical pain points faced by users of Wi-Fi today— such as reliable connections for multiple devices and tons of  video!

Back to the Future II was released in 1989.  23 years later many of the technology predictions in the movie are amazingly accurate.  Think back to the television sets of the 1980’s.  They certainly weren’t flat panels.  In one scene Marty’s son uses voice commands to pull up 6 TV shows at the same time. In 1985 I’m sure this looked like an overload of information, but it’s really not that far off from the device and technology multi-tasking  of 2012.  In a typical work day I can think of few scenarios where I’ve been on WebEx or a Cisco TV meeting on my laptop, checking email, Facebook, or texting on my iPhone and instant messaging with a colleague all at the same time.

The use of ubiquitous video is also pretty accurate. In another scene Marty is working from home and accepts a video call from his boss in Asia.  The device looks remarkably similar to the Cisco EX 90  unit that my Director based in Tel Aviv uses to call me via TelePresence at my office in Richfield, Ohio.

And finally, how does back-to-school tie into Back to the Future?  I wonder what Hill Valley High School Principal Gerald Strickland would think of think of the Flipped learning model?  Certainly students can’t be slackers in 2012.  In a flipped classroom students are expected to watch a teacher lecture via video prior to class.  Instead of a one-way dialogue where teachers present to the students, in the flipped learning model students and teachers now use classroom time for interactive discussion.

There’s no question that demand for network capacity and bandwidth is growing. By the year 2015, it is projected there will be 15 billion new networked mobile devices.  Let’s just hope that like the time machine in Back to the Future, that all the devices and technology that we develop are used for the greater good of mankind, oh yeah, and that the bell tower is saved!

For more details on Preparing Your Business for 802.11ac, Register Now for a webcast on July 17.



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  1. I’m with you, Beth. I’ve also already used an email coupon to buy my son’s school uniform for August. It was a Sunday, and I did the shopping on my iPad. Reliable connectivity is a busy mom’s friend.

  2. Hello Beth,

    It’s true that Back To The Future is quite impressive when it comes to prediction. (I hope The Matrix will not prove to be as accurate… ^^)

    As you mentionned BYOD & security, I think you’ll be interested in this inforgraphic ( for further blog material… or more! 🙂


    • Great graphic! The one image shows that Cisco’s company wide any device policy has delivered productivity gains equal to 30 minutes per employee per day. I persoanlly think the time slot is underestimated. I spend much more time per day working just because I have access.

      • thanks for the positive feedback Beth! 🙂

        I agree that 30 minutes looks a bit small to me too… although this figure comes from a Cisco study so I guess it has some serious sources to support it. To play the devil’s advocate, I bet it’s because people from the Dark Side won’t use at all their personal devices for work (so it balances the result).