Cisco recently announced a new series of Catalyst “Digital Building” switches. These Catalyst switches are designed for connecting and powering Internet of Things (IoT) devices and systems in smart buildings and other related environments. For example, one design innovation is the use of a separate power plate for Power over Ethernet (PoE), so even when an administrator reboots the device or updates its software, the switch will continue to deliver power to peripheral devices such as smart lighting and surveillance cameras.
What is Fungible, Inc., the new startup created by Juniper Networks’ founder Pradeep Sindhu, working on?
Unified Endpoint Management: Bringing Multi-Device Support to the Next Generation of Business Professionals
It’s hard to believe there was actually a time before mobile devices. It wasn’t even all that long ago. In fact, this month Apple is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. While the iPhone was not the first smartphone, its introduction is credited with kick-starting the mobile revolution and initiating the “consumerization of IT,” forever changing how technology is developed, marketed, and utilized in business environments. In trying to relate these historical milestones to Millennials, I find myself more and more sounding like a crotchety old man: “Back in my day, we only had PCs—and we were glad to have ‘em, too!” Today, three-quarters of all business workers regularly use mobile devices to perform job tasks, so my nostalgic recollections of PC-only business environments are increasingly falling on disinterested ears.
An unfortunate side effect of maintaining a vibrant technology subculture is an over-reliance on acronyms to describe basic concepts and solutions. For instance, to be ITIL compliant a CTO may need to invoke the ARP of a TCP or UDP IPv6 WAN to determine the DNS entry of an SMTP server for a POS system to prevent GIGO and ensure WYSIWYG. Now, if you understood that statement, you are certainly among the lucky few “in the know” and probably use these terms on a regular basis. However, if you are unfamiliar with or had to look up any of those terms, you likely recognize the core problem. While acronyms are intended to simplify complex technical conversations, they actually impede successful communication if any participants are unaware of their meaning. Sometimes acronyms are introduced to shorten long-winded technobabble; sometimes they are developed as marketing devices to create unique sounding products; and often they evolve simply because they make techno-elitists sound more knowledgeable.
(With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy) You might be an Apple user if…
The primary function of enterprise IT management is to empower end users with access to technology resources that will boost their productivity and job performance. However, this focus is at odds with the core precepts of IT security which are adopted to minimize the exposure of enterprise systems, applications, and data. I recall that in a number of IT operations management adventures throughout my career, I often joked with colleagues that the most effective way to create a secure environment is to simply shut down all computers in the data center. Naturally, management executives dependent on the IT infrastructure to generate revenue were not amused by my flippancy…and even less happy that their workers had to “jump through hoops” to gain access to IT resources.
Time flies when you’re upgrading operating systems. It has officially been a year since Microsoft introduced Windows 10 to much fanfare and approbation. Acceptance of the platform was almost immediate, with many users simply grateful to migrate away from the much-maligned Windows 8 environment. At the core of the problems with the previous edition of Microsoft’s flagship OS was that the GUI was designed to function more effectively on a tablet than on a PC, which infuriated users who had grown used to the Windows 7 look and feel on their laptops and desktops. The release of Windows 10 gave Microsoft’s core audience exactly what it wanted—a unified code base that enables the same applications to be employed on all device architectures (desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones) while retaining the look and feel of the classic Windows 7 desktop that they had come to appreciate.
There is no greater investment we can make in the future than to prepare our children to successfully navigate the challenges of tomorrow. Of course, predicting the workforce requirements of the future is a bit like trying to capture a fly with a cargo net—just when you think you have it, it slips through the holes and buzzes in a different direction. Nonetheless, it’s safe to assume that workforce mobility will be an essential aspect of the coming generation’s career experiences. Mobile technology is already an integral part of nearly every business role, and its use can only be expected to increase in the years to come. To help support this revolution, Apple has pledged to donate $100 million worth of teaching and learning technology to 114 underserved schools across the country and has offered special discount pricing and volume-purchase programs to all educational institutions. A large number of grade schools have embraced these financial enticements and introduced 1:1 iPad programs that provide every student with their own personal iPad to be used during the duration of a school term.
For two decades, IBM’s Power Systems family of high-performance servers has been considered the premier alternative to x86-based systems. Combining fast processing, high availability, and rapid scalability, Power Systems are optimized to support big data and cloud architectures. Popularly deployed to run IBM’s AIX and IBM i operating systems, the platform has seen stiff competition in recent years from x86-based Linux systems. In 2013, IBM responded to this challenge by investing a billion dollars into the development of enhancements to the Power line that would support Linux operating systems and open source technologies. This bold move was hailed as a strategy that would greatly improve the attractiveness of the platform and drive broader adoption.
We live in the digital age—or at least many of us do. Today’s IT-savvy users expect to be able to access any data, form, or record from any device at any location and at any time. However, some organizations seem to be perpetually stuck in the dark ages, relying on antiquated paper documents and physical filing cabinets for document retention. Other businesses may have documents in electronic form but lack any method for organizing them beyond just saving them to a basic filesystem. I’ve even known business professionals who store critical records in archive folders in their email package because they lack any other method for document organization. Electronic document management has never been more essential, and organizations that fail to provide adequate document support either will not be able to compete effectively against businesses that do or, even worse, will fail to meet compliance objectives and lose customers due to an inability to provide adequate support services.