Developers Aspire to Deliver ‘Consumer-Grade’ Products to Businesses

Brian Riggs
Brian Riggs

Summary Bullets:

  • ‘Consumer-grade’ is becoming a new design objective for developers of enterprise communications gear.
  • Ease of use and ‘joy of use’ currently define consumer-grade solutions in business.

As an industry analyst tracking the market for business communications solutions, I’ve long tossed about the terms ‘enterprise-grade’ and ‘carrier-grade.’  Carrier-grade systems are characterized as massively scalable, extremely reliable, very expensive, fully multitenant, and potentially complicated to deploy and manage – the sorts of things that service providers use to base a hosted PBX service on or an absolutely huge enterprise deploys because it needs, for example, an IMS infrastructure of its own.  Enterprise-grade systems are a notch down: highly scalable but supporting tens rather than hundreds of thousands of end users, meeting but not exceeding ‘five nines’ reliability requirements, not cheap but competitively priced.  A notch below that are SMB systems which are even less scalable, low cost, and typically lack the high-availability features inherent to enterprise-grade solutions. Continue reading “Developers Aspire to Deliver ‘Consumer-Grade’ Products to Businesses”

Device Specialization Portends Further BYOD Frustration

Brad Shimmin
Brad Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • Vendors Amazon, Samsung, Google, Apple, and even Microsoft are rushing to either fill or invent gaps remaining within the iPad-dominated tablet marketplace with an array of device sizes, media capabilities and increasingly improved access to enterprise collaborative services.
  • This will leave IT professionals to expand management policies through separate, pure-play mobile management solutions. Thankfully, though collaboration players themselves are seeking to do more than simply support mobile devices.

Like many, I tuned in for a few moments to watch last Thursday’s special news conference put on by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, where the outspoken entrepreneur unveiled a new array of portable media devices, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD family of tablets. I was heartened to see the company directly responded to Google’s recent market bombshell, the Nexus 7 tablet, with a number of device sizes and features tailored to those who prize both high speed (dual-band WiFI and 4G LTE) as well as high (ok improved) audio and video fidelity. This is a good thing specifically for the Android market and broader tablet industry. At least it will make for a very interesting, more competitive holiday season, especially once Apple’s mid-sized device hits the streets. Continue reading “Device Specialization Portends Further BYOD Frustration”

Cisco Becomes First Enterprise WLAN Vendor to Commit to 802.11ac Support

M. Spanbauer
M. Spanbauer

Summary Bullets:

  • Customers have been apprehensive about continued significant investment in 802.11n with the 802.11ac technology on the horizon.
  • Cisco’s 802.11ac guarantee, via a simple tool-less module available in 2013, will provide forward compatibility with 11ac with a capable, enterprise-class 802.11n access point today.

I have had several conversations that started with the question of whether continued investment in 802.11n platforms was wise given the pending standardization of 802.11ac and the benefits which it will bring (in late 2012/early 2013).  Since the standard is not yet fully ratified and endorsed, there has been no  guarantee that the fully ratified specification will be supported by an enterprise vendor… until now.  Cisco had announced that the Aironet 3600 access point would be eligible for a tool-less module upgrade (which simply snaps in and is secured with two thumbscrews on the back) in early 2013 (release date: TBD) that would allow customers to take advantage of the 802.11n features the AP possesses today while ensuring investment protection for a forward-looking upgrade to 802.11ac.  Now, this module is not free of course, and as of the time of this writing, it had a suggested retail around $500 (potentially subject to change); however, given the access point’s suggested retail of around $1,500 and the module SRP of $500, each access point would have a CapEx of $2,000 (list) and provide for a simple evolution from 11n to 11ac. Continue reading “Cisco Becomes First Enterprise WLAN Vendor to Commit to 802.11ac Support”

Wet Your Beak, or Drown Trying

A. Braunberg
A. Braunberg

Summary Bullets:

  •  If a vendor can possibly tie its messaging to BYOD, it has.
  • Vendors need to be careful though; the game is changing.

One of my takeaways from attending Interop a couple of weeks ago was the pervasiveness of BYOD as an addressable use case in vendor pitches.  At some point, a line from The Godfather Part II came to mind.  Neighborhood crime boss Don Fanucci tells the young godfather (played by Robert De Niro), “You should let me wet my beak a little,” by which he means he wants a piece of the action. It’s a colorful phrase, and it’s exactly the attitude of many technology companies today. Continue reading “Wet Your Beak, or Drown Trying”

Interop: NAC is Back

A. Braunberg
A. Braunberg

Summary Bullets:

  • Several vendors have announced enhanced network access control (NAC) products for addressing BYOD
  • The Trusted Computing Group announced a new revision to an important NAC standard (TNC IF-MAP)

I spent the week in Las Vegas at Interop and one of the meta-themes at the event was the issue of how to deal with consumerization of IT and the associated business policy of allowing employee-owned devices on corporate networks. (i.e., BYOD). As I have noted before on this blog, consumerization of IT has far-ranging impacts on enterprise IT requirements and product development strategies. This includes products being enhanced to support the increasing traffic requirements inherent in broad deployment of mobile devices, but it also includes old products finding new life when applied to mobile use cases. A great example of the latter is the re-emergence of NAC to address consumerization of IT. Continue reading “Interop: NAC is Back”

Dual-Mode Telephony Solutions Fall by the Wayside

Brian Riggs
B. Riggs

Summary Bullets:

  • Enterprise FMC solutions may no longer be aggressively marketed, but they are still available.
  • Device security, management, and application enablement have taken over as top enterprise mobility concerns.

A few years back, there was such a rage for enterprise FMC solutions that maintained voice call continuity while transitioning a call in progress on a dual-mode mobile phone between a cellular and a WiFi connection.  It seemed every time I turned around there was some new VC-backed enterprise FMC start-up – Agito, Divitas, Comdasys, Varaha, OptiMobile, Telepo, QuesCom, NewStep – focused on this. Continue reading “Dual-Mode Telephony Solutions Fall by the Wayside”

Consumerization of IT Is the Mega Trend

A. Braunberg
A. Braunberg

Summary Bullets:

  • Consumerization of IT is having a pervasive impact on enterprise IT.
  • It is much broader than simply worrying about device management and security.

My CEO asked me for a comprehensive, non-technical definition of the mobility market.  It got me thinking about how pervasive the impact of consumerization of IT has become.  I am buried in the day to day of a lot of our Enterprise Mobility coverage, but that is just the most obvious place that mobility impacts our enterprise coverage. Consumerization of IT is an important trend in our Application Platforms, Collaboration Platforms, Enterprise Networking, Unified Communications, and Enterprise Security coverage.  Certainly no other topic, with the possible exception of the cloud, gets as many cross-disciplinary conversations going in our enterprise group.  The following are short summaries of the impact of consumerization of IT on several of our coverage areas: Continue reading “Consumerization of IT Is the Mega Trend”

The Inseparability of IT and Mobility

J. Caron
J. Caron

Summary Bullets:

  • It was clear at Mobile World Congress 2012 that mobility is no longer a thing, but a part of everything.
  • IT should move away from mobilizing applications and recognize that all (or most) applications are mobile.

The GSMA Mobile World Congress 2012 event held last week in Barcelona was remarkable once again not only for its now-customary vastness in terms of number of attendees/exhibitors (unparalleled now, I believe, in the telecoms space), but also for its scope.  No longer is this just a showcase for cellular technology and mobile networking.  The event is now used by technology suppliers, software developers and service providers of all sorts to hobnob, eat tapas and chug powerful coffee.  There certainly was a mobility theme for all goings on; that’s the foundation, after all.  However, what is clear is that all things in IT or other walks of life must be mobile to reach their potential, or even to be relevant.  So, it isn’t so much that the MWC event has expanded to embrace all walks of technology life; rather, all walks of technology life have become mobile. Continue reading “The Inseparability of IT and Mobility”

Extending Corporate Video Conferencing to Mobile Devices

Brian Riggs - Research Director, Enterprise Software and Communications

Summary Bullets:

  • Mobility to be the next big product trend for enterprise video conferencing technology
  • There are a number of ways to extend corporate video conferencing solutions to mobile devices

The increasing adoption of video conferencing systems in the enterprise combined with the increasing adoption of video-capable mobile devices is set to both challenge and annoy IT departments. One of the problems is that the software and systems that deliver business-class video conferencing (from Cisco, IBM LifeSize, Magor, Microsoft, Polycom, Vidyo etc.) are completely different from the software that runs on the mobile devices wheedling their way into the enterprise as part of the BYOD phenomenon (from Apple, Google, Fuze, Skype, Tango, etc.). It’s unlikely that the two will learn to coexist peacefully anytime soon. Enterprise IT departments will continue to deploy on-premise or cloud-based video conferencing solutions that meet security and compliance requirements. And end users will separately use separate consumer-friendly video conferencing technology on their mobile devices with or without IT’s formal blessing. Continue reading “Extending Corporate Video Conferencing to Mobile Devices”