Archive for June 2015

The networking giant finally starts to show how it will move the Internet of Things from concept to reality.

No company has been more aggressive with promoting the Internet of Things (IoT) than Cisco. The company started the Internet of Things World Forum events to promote the concept, and has done a number of studies looking at the financial impact of the IoT. In fact, Cisco’s outgoing CEO, John Chambers, has reiterated over and over that the IoT will have a bigger impact on the way we work, live, learn and play than the Internet did, and that the total economic impact will be in the neighborhood of $19 trillion. This is a similar number to the $11 trillion in impact touted by McKinsey this week.

Arista Networks’ EOS CloudVision software platform aims to make the benefits of SDN a reality for the enterprise.

The term “software defined networking” (SDN) certainly means different things to different people. To the giant web companies, SDN means having the ability to create custom network software to enable functions that are unique to that organization. This requires dedicated software engineers and a networking team large enough to run and support the custom networks. There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 companies that have the resources, size, and scale for this model of SDN to make sense.

For businesses below this tier – service providers and enterprises – SDN means the promise of automation and cloud scale but also a high level of complexity, sometimes more complexity than the original network. A good rule of thumb for IT initiatives is that solutions should never be more complicated than the problem they’re intended to solve. This is one reason SDN deployments have been slow despite the fact that almost every organization I talk to today is interested in the technology. For SDNs to become pervasive in the non-web-scale tier, they must become easier to deploy.

By acquiring Glip, this cloud communications company lands a spot in the emerging ‘workstream collaboration and communications’ market.

Last week, as reported on No Jitter, RingCentral acquired Glip to move into what’s broadly known as the business messaging market. The solutions in this product class actually do much more than messaging and, after hours of discussions, my fellow industry watcher Dave Michels, TalkingPointz analyst, and I have settled on the name of “workstream collaboration and communications,” or WCC.

As Dave pointed out on Monday in his No Jitter post, “Making Enterprise Communications More Than Unified,” WCC solutions are designed for distributed and agile teams that need to make decisions or complete tasks quickly. Another important thing to understand about WCC is that the tools are rarely deployed as an IT initiative. Rather, the adoption tends to be viral by workers who want to use the tool instead of having the tool thrust upon them.

Highlighting the winner of the 2015 ‘SDN Idol’ award at this year’s Open Networking Summit.

This week the fifth Open Networking Summit was held in Santa Clara, the heart of Silicon Valley. As in years past, the event held an “SDN Idol” competition where several vendors entered an SDN-related product for a set of judges to vote on to create a set of finalists. The four finalists then demonstrated their entries at the event and a final winner was chosen.

In addition to myself, the judges included Jim Smith, GM of Mohr Davidow Ventures, Tom Anschutz, Distinguished Member of Technical Staff for AT&T, and Geng Lin, CTO of Corporate Networks for Google. The judging criteria involved understanding the business value, technology value, and differentiation against the competition.

The four finalists for the SDN Idol track were:

Four reasons why now is the time to upgrade to 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi.

If you’re a fan of 70s music, particularly Canadian artists, you are probably familiar with the great singer Burton Cummings. In the late 70s he released a song called “My own way to rock” that started: “Revving up my engine, like a 747 mama, shiny, lanky, long and lean, and I’m mean.” When Cummings wrote this song, I’m sure he was talking about the impact of digital transformation that would come 40 years later and how businesses need to be lean, mean, agile machines to leapfrog the competition.

A look at how engineered solutions are helping transform IT.

The topic of converged infrastructure has been red hot over the past five years. In fact, it’s had such strong momentum that the tech industry evolved its products, and now we have “hyperconverged” systems. The drivers for converged and hyperconverged systems are that they can reduce the cost of hardware and the deployment time of the infrastructure. Given the tightening of the budget belt, along with ZK Research’s estimate that 83% of IT spend is devoted to keeping the lights on, it makes sense that business would want to invest in these types of solutions (disclosure: I am an employee of ZK Research).

However, as powerful as converged systems are, the value is limited to reducing costs. As the industry moves out of this cost-reduction phase and into digitization, IT should be just as concerned with speed as it is with cost. The challenge for IT is that the complexity of deploying and managing infrastructure is only getting worse. The converged systems help a little bit, but the issues plaguing IT are not limited to infrastructure deployment. Digital transformation requires companies to move at cloud speed, and that can’t be done if IT is constantly tuning and tweaking the software that attaches to the converged systems or the systems themselves to accommodate changes in the software.

Three new solutions address the workplace of the future.

We’ve seen a lot of chatter on No Jitter and elsewhere about the changing business environment and the concept of the workplace of the future. Opinions differ on what that “workplace” looks like, but visualizing something that’s so much more than a physical space is hard. This is really about an experience or a way to work, which vendors must keep in mind as they design tools for use in the workplace of the future.

Polycom understands this mandate, as evidenced in three new RealPresence Platform solutions it announced this morning at InfoComm 2015. It designed the new products specifically to address the workplace of the future by improving the user experience and productivity of collaborative engagements.

Here’s a look at the new offerings.

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