I was interviewed on the topic of Mobile, Wireless, and Security several times this year however only a portion typically makes it to print so I’m blogging about it.
I encourage you to share your experiences here or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, Thank you from Stephen Ibaraki, I.S.P., DF/NPA, CNP
This is a four-part blog series:
Part 1/4: The Major Move to Mobile and Wireless: are you prepared?
Part 2/4: The Value of Security for Mobile/Wireless
Part 3/4: Managing Mobile and Wireless Security Effectively
Part 4/4: 5 Essential Tips for Mobile and Wireless Computing
Let’s make sure businesses realize that this combination of mobile and wireless is something they can’t ignore. Mobile computing will surpass standard desktops in purchases. The reason: extended battery life (example: 11 hours), major price drops (well under $1000), increased power (Intel and AMD dual-core CPUs.), flexibility, and an increasingly mobile workforce. Plus the majority of end-user business computing will be wireless by 2008. There are even forecasts that this will happen in 2007. Moreover, there is a buzzword that is happening: convergence! Mobile, wireless devices will have converged capabilities and support multiple network types. If you want one example, look at mobile phones two years ago and then compare to the new models coming out today with high-speed internet access, computing abilities, voice, e-mail, video, an mpeg player, built-in camera and more features as time goes on. Add to this Voice over IP (VoIP) allowing inexpensive calls using the internet, community (wide-area) wireless access (Wi-Max) that is free, and you have a list of benefits to businesses that just doesn’t quit.
Now, let us look at this a little closer.
First of all, mobile is really a separate category from wireless. Mobile computing encompasses devices such as laptops, notebooks, tablets, personal digital assistants or PDAs, mobile phones, and so on. In particular, mobile phones are increasingly becoming more powerful and an internet platform with the capability of handling rich media such as video. Look at new devices such as the Treo 700w (a fine Windows mobile), Nokia N92 (fall 2006), and Synaptics Concept phone (2010) and you will see what I mean. For example, in China which has nearly 400 million cell phones, or more than the next three nations combined, the platform for mobile computing and particularly internet access is the mobile phone and this is replacing the traditional PC.
The benefits for mobile computing are obvious. You can take your work with you. And it provides the flexibility increasingly demanded from the workforce such as telecommuting or working from home. Plus you can work while you are traveling such as from hotel rooms or other centers – you are not necessarily office-bound. This allows an increase in productivity from business employees of between 20 to 50% and savings on providing office infrastructure.
Wireless provides the capability of connecting with other devices to allow collaboration on projects and documents; sharing of resources such as storage and printing; managing inventory (using RFID); and providing easy accessibility to the internet. However wireless is available on both static and mobile devices. An example of a static device would be a standard desktop PC. All of this is possible without having wiring infrastructure. So adding PCs within a business is merely a matter of finding a location. However, when you combine wireless with mobile computing, a business derives maximum benefits. Employees can pick-up and go and still be connected. This can be within the same office, in a hotel room, at a conference, or even in a coffee shop. There are many hotspots (wireless connectivity points) within most cities today.
But you need to keep in mind that wireless also comes in different forms such as short distance (Example: Bluetooth used in wireless headsets); medium distance (Example: 802.11g used in a typically office allowing wireless computer connectivity; Wi-Max or 802.16 allowing connectivity over a city); and wider access for phones (2.5-3G networks, Digital Video Broadcasting for Handhelds [DVB-H], and 4G—the last two are future systems). Internet accessibility is a primary driver around wireless for computers and now for phones.
Essentially, most computing devices are now provided with wireless connectivity and particularly mobile computers. This trend will continue as more power goes to mobile devices. For example, at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show in January 2006), Intel released their Core series of computing chips which replaces their Pentium-M series for mobile computers. With Intel’s announcement came new mobile announcements from the big names such as Lenova (ThinkPad lines), Dell, HP, and Gateway. The new Apple notebook coming in February 2006 also uses the Core Duo. Dual-core first followed by multi-core will become the mainstream by late 2006 since it makes a lot of sense. We can’t continue with Moore’s Law ad infinitum so multi-core technology offers the alternative path with increasing processor performance with no corresponding added space, power consumption or heat dissipation requirements. That’s why you are seeing it in all the new laptops and in the new Apple computers.
Widespread use is often driven by consumer acceptance. So let’s see what’s happening in this segment: rich media, digital video, large data sets, more processing power requirements but in a small form factor, low cost, low power, low heat dissipation, long battery life. Hey, dual-core or multi-core offers all of these. If there are consumer products supporting dual-core, what do you think will happen in the business market? It is just going to grow and mobile computing with it. When you get broad market acceptance at the consumer level, you will see this driving wholesale movement in the business space too! This means mobile computing and wireless is pervasive and will become more so—it’s time to plan for it and take advantage of its flexibility.