The consumerization of IT marches on: with Apple’s release today of the iPhone 6 and the expectation that they will join Samsung in marketing new wearables, more and more users are going to demand to use their own wireless devices in the workplace. Organizations planning to refresh their wireless networks should consider beginning with a wireless site survey to map out the best spots on premise to place access points – so your business can take full advantage of “Generation Mobile.”
This article excerpt, by Steve Coad and Mark Verbloot, originally appeared here.
The new blood coursing through the Australian workforce is transforming the business landscape at a rapid rate. Armed with their mobile devices, this new generation of workers is forcing businesses to adapt to the changing needs or risk losing them.
For business owners and managers, this Generation Mobile (GenMobile) represents the confluence of flexible working, BYOD and always-on connectivity elevating mobility to a way of life, not just a way of working. This new generation of workers, spanning all ages, demands high technology connectivity, flexible working conditions and access to multiple devices.
In order to attract and keep the best talent, businesses need to start looking for solutions to ensure levels of empowerment and productivity in this emerging world of the all-wireless workplace. Ultimately, many will have to totally redefine traditional work environments.
When it comes to engaging and retaining top talent within the GenMobile demographic, businesses need to implement smart solutions that will attract the best in market.
A Culture of Connectivity
It’s important to create a culture of connectivity. However, it’s also important that businesses help their employees achieve work-life balance by implementing policies around “switching off” after-hours.
Burnout is a serious issue. Information overload can be draining and ultimately impact quality of work so it’s now an employer’s responsibility to ensure people are in fact not connected to work 24/7.
Wi-FI and Self Service
From a technical and IT management perspective, the impact of GenMobile has been quite pronounced for IT infrastructure, particularly an organization’s wireless network capabilities.
Wi-Fi is the connection method of choice due to the obvious speed and cost benefits, but organizations have also had to deal with a heterogenous device mix (Microsoft, Apple and Android) for the first time in decades, leading to new IT services and a move to a more “self service” model for getting these devices onto the corporate network.
Today this transformation is in full swing. Not only have mobile devices proliferated in the workplace, but the sheer number of applications available is staggering. Many of the applications found on employees’ devices are personal but there are an ever-increasing number of corporate applications being used to improve workplace productivity.
This has brought completely new demands for the corporate wireless network. For example, the traditional device to user count was 1:1. Today, the ratio is typically 1:3, meaning that every wireless access point needs to be able to support more devices than just a few years ago. The proliferation of applications has also created complexities for wireless.
Rich Media Demands
Today, rich media has become the norm. Generation Mobile users expect the network to support HD video, regular definition video, voice, and data simultaneously and all without any latency or jitter.
Wireless networks supporting GenMobile users need to be smart in the sense that they need to be fully application aware. They need to be able to recognize the business critical applications as well as recognize if a unified communications application (such as Microsoft Lync or Skype) starts up, or if a video is being streamed and if so, automatically prioritize these traffic types above applications that are always “on” such as file synchronization or email downloads.
The networks supporting GenMobile users need to be able to handle much higher client densities than a few years ago. Wireless networks supporting GenMobile users also requires connections with each device are rock solid and continually optimized as the user moves around the workplace from office to office or floor to floor.
These demands require the latest generation wireless infrastructure along with support for 802.11ac — the new Gigabit Wi-Fi standard that is being rapidly adopted by all infrastructure and device manufacturers to ensure GenMobile users remain as content and productive as possible.
Like any new project, your Wi-Fi upgrade should begin with a solid plan, as placement of access points is not a simple matter: Structures behave as obstructions where you least expect it. Frequencies from neighboring properties can interfere with your own network.