Sunday, 23 March 2014

Wireless solutions and summer holidays

As we all look forward to our summer holidays, I look back and think I was fortunate to be a Technical Director in an organisation where we could bring on a variety of wireless solutions, as well as complementary solutions.  When looking at solutions, it’s easy to become vendor centric, and not find a way to talk about or link a variety of vendors to provide a comprehensive solution.

Wireless Access
There are many solutions out there that can provide a number of unique features, whether it’s directional antennas, blanket coverage, security, cloud controllers, controller-less or controller based wireless solutions.  I will tar them all with the same brush and suggest that although you need to pick the right one for the environment, they are only offering a connectivity method for wireless devices to connect to a network or the internet. 

Network Access Control (NAC) and Security
NACs have made a comeback as more and more people realise that the wireless network needs to be secured in some fashion.  They offer the ability to identify users, devices, connectivity methods, as well as time to create a comprehensive policy to control. There are other security solutions that are focus on just wireless, where NACs are typically available for wired, wireless and VPNs.

Guest Management and Social Media
People will say they want to “monetise” their wireless network.  Of course there is a cost associated with running a public wireless network, but you can’t always capitalise on it.  Most people will use 3G/4G networks, or worse case turn to your competitor offering complimentary access.  More important is how to manage these users when they access your network.  By management, I don’t mean just a user repository, but also the ability to integrate payment engines, ticketing systems, tracking and how long they can access the network for.

There are many articles highlighting how many hundreds of advertising dollars have to be spent before achieving a like on Facebook, a follow on Twitter, etc.  The issue historically is how you can leverage this from your known customer base.  If your wireless access solution includes or there is an application that can integrate social media to it, then you can leverage your existing customer base to grow your social media one.

Enjoy your holiday!
I liken the Wireless Access to people outside bars, trying to entice you in with free drinks.  The NAC and Security systems, are the bouncers, while the Guest Management and Social Media, is the receptionist taking your entry fee and asking you to join the mailing list.

Next time you’re on holiday trying to find wireless access, I hope you remember this analogy and smile! :)

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