Challenges Confronting Enterprise CIOs and Mobility Leaders in Moving Enterprises from Wireless to Mobile Productivity

September 19, 2013

The goal of CIO’s and enterprise architects is to unwire their organizations and make them more productive by any means necessary – by focusing on the core business of the enterprise. Rather than making IT bigger, the CIO’s focus is to make the business more agile and flexible, doing more with less. The use of mobility, cloud, applications and managed services help them achieve the enterprise goals.

The communications technology of yesterday (that is embodied in fixed devices, e.g. desk phone and laptop software, e.g. UC clients) must be moved to the employee’s mobile devices. The point of failure within most mobile initiatives, at present, is the lack of respect for the need of mobile device owners to have a “magic” user experience (no App to install, do nothing new, no change in user behavior). The differences between a consumer and enterprise behavior, and requirements are significant.

Normal consumer behavior is to cost optimize as much as possible with a goal of a free service (such as Skype), and defer certain broadband behavior or actions (use of free Wi-Fi hotspots to offset impact on plans). And finally, unpredictable quality is acceptable.

Enterprise behavior, though influenced by consumer demand for ease-of-use, focuses on cost optimization. All actions are urgent, and/or immediate, and quality must be consistent, good, highly predictable and repeatable. IT also likes to keep things simple (devices, applications and services). If not, new cost-reducing or productivity initiatives will not be used or adopted. Most importantly, IT’s focus is to make access as secure as possible, and empower employees with high quality mobile services that work, with no limitations, wherever people are.

Sounds easy, right?

Deploying new tools, and getting their usage ingrained into an organization is one of the hardest tasks in enterprise IT. If the OTT tool replicates a consumer grade communication feature of the mobile device, and is not a mandatory part of daily workflow in the person’s role, chances of success are low.

There may be ‘islands’ of OTT, but moving everyone onto one platform is extremely hard. The right philosophy to enterprise services, in context of Unified Communication, is that the experience should become a “Clientless UC” experience where the consumer experience of “just make it work” is integrated to the enterprise platform. By taking this path, enterprise IT significantly reduces its OTT support burdens, and greatly increases the chance of success vs. the present UC strategies. Many enterprise device owners will continue to be very resistant to adopting multiple tools. Enterprise IT, when presented with service packages that allow the consumer interfaces to accomplish functions that OTT solves for, will approve those packages instead of using Capex funding to build and run the OTT services themselves.

The Pre-Requisite: Dependable Coverage and Capacity

Nothing halts a mobile initiative decision faster than lack of reliable coverage or capacity. Mobile operators who are trying to sell advanced services layered on top of the macro-network know this problem well. Office buildings that have known significant coverage/capacity problems can be excluded from evolving, because of the steep operations expenses associated with systems engineering and provisioning. Why? Enterprise IT has to make simple decisions on technology that must be good for all employees within the enterprise. On average, an IT team moves 40% of employees annually. If a group of employees were unwired, and then moved to a location with poor coverage/capacity, not only would they be unhappy, but they would also have to be re-provisioned with wired services. The operations expense with normal technology moves is far lower than unwiring/wiring. A practical IT person will defer unwiring their organization until dependable coverage and capacity is available. As new energy efficient buildings and remodeling gradually eliminate the ability of the macro-network to penetrate with reliable signals indoors, providing coverage and capacity from the inside-out is becoming a big problem for mobile operators.

To succeed in the enterprise, we need to mirror the consumer mobile experience with enterprise devices and applications.

Earlier this week, Vodafone did exactly that. Vodafone is the world’s first mobile operator to offer a system that can deliver reliable mobile services indoors, for enterprise customers of any size, using a highly scalable system.

“We can now, more rapidly than ever, address the needs of thousands of enterprise customers who rely on mobile connectivity and services for business productivity” – Marcel van den Biggelaar, Head of Technology Strategy, Vodafone Netherlands.

Vodafone Netherlands is empowering enterprise CIO and IT teams with a mobile experience without the need to change user behavior, or take a crash-course in becoming a mobile operator overnight (placing themselves in harm’s way for IT trouble tickets).

Why is this important? 50% of enterprises would churn to an operator that could provide better in-building mobile coverage.

So, who else will take the bold step to fix the problem with mobility inside? Industry insiders are speculating “SpiderCloud expects to also announce US and South American customers between now and Mobile World Congress.” If you are a CIO or IT team leader for mobility, we know what you are hoping for. By the way, we can be of help, and visit our Enterprise Insider for insights.

So who else can do what we do? Very few, fewer than you’d think. See Maravedis/Rethink Wireless “Small Cells Inside the Enterprise: The Who What  & Where”.

Next, we will cover more problem areas in enterprise as we transition from a wireless to a mobile enterprise, and the mobile operator data center opportunity.

Stay tuned; mobility inside is coming your way.

Ronny Haraldsvik, SVP/CMO 
Twitter: @haraldsvik
Art King, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies
 Twitter: @EMobilityInside



Riding the Growth Wave…

July 12, 2013

SpiderCloud Wireless is riding a wave of momentum as we see a growing and industry-wide interest in scalable small cell systems for indoor enterprise segments. CIOs and Enterprise IT are making their voices heard, and the small cell industry is responding.

ABI reported recently that… “growth will come thanks to operators like AT&T, Vodafone, Telefonica, Softbank, and Sprint all being at the forefront of driving shipments in both enterprise and residential settings” and that “overall Enterprise and Consumer Femtocell shipments will reach 5.7 million units in 2014 compared to 3.8 million units in 2013.” In ABI Research’s latest forecast, SpiderCloud and Vodafone were recently recognized by the Small Cell Forum at the June World Summit in London with the 2013 Design & Innovation Award for “enterprise and public access small cells.” In mid May, SpiderCloud also received CTIA’s award for “Network Infrastructure, In-Building Network.”

It’s clear that the small cell market is starting to segment itself just like Wi-Fi did 10 years ago. Not all small cells are the same, and this is something that Rethink Wireless has captured in their most recent report. Stand-alone small cells are made for residential and small business, whereas a system like our Enterprise RAN (E-RAN) is made to scale. Scale and performance matters. We have been collecting 18-months of system performance data from the network deployments, and the data shows a 99.5% reliability. Performance metrics are collected by our SpiderNet system. See the results here.

In the coming weeks and months we’ll make more announcements about continued innovation and growing momentum. We’re thus thankful for the continued go-to-market support we have from our partners: Vodafone Group R & D and XONE Labs, NEC, Galtronics, Druid Software, Tango Networks among many more.

Stay in touch with SpiderCloud on Twitter, and sign up for our newsletter for quarterly updates.

Ronny Haraldsvik SVP/CMO
Twitter: haraldsvik


Blurring the Lines of Networks (Enterprise & Mobile)

March 25, 2013

There is opportunity to adapt to wholesale changes in the enterprise environment due to the increasing capabilities of mobile network infrastructure and devices.

But first, some context:

  • Comment by Banking CIO: “I would buy Wireless LAN from a 3rd party and be comfortable because we don’t extend trust to networks.”
  • Comment by Telecom Security CTO: “The perimeter security model is broken due to how it evolved. Enterprises must focus on selective protection of important business computing platforms.”
  • “For three in four IT security professionals, bring your own device (BYOD) is one of the greatest inhibitors to effective cloud security”. Article: Is BYOD the cloud evangelist’s worst nightmare?

There are two main themes that this surfaces:

  • The notion of trusted networks that end user devices connect to, is no longer valid.
  • Strategies that rely on precision control of end user devices and networks have been defeated by the end user community.

While applications developers, network security, and data center operations teams adapt to this crazy new world where they have lost control of their internal customers, there is an opportunity for the CIO to be positioned to blur the lines between traditional IT and service providers, and benefit both financially and operationally.

To set the stage, imagine in the drawing below that the trust boundary is moved towards the data center(s), and that internal private networks are treated like public networks, but with richer features and additional control.

With this approach, the infrastructure is now open to network services acquisition from mobile operators without the level of security concern that existed in the past. This can be transformational to innovation economics in the enterprise by removing the need for capital funding for every activity on the network, and allowing the acquisition of fully operationalized services as an incremental cost on the monthly device bill, instead of the traditional buy/build/run model where the enterprise is wholly responsible for the service. As IT staff dollars and capital requests for infrastructure get struck from the budget in favor of business software improvements, having the infrastructure be positioned to easily adopt services that blur the lines between the enterprise and their trusted service providers becomes more important than ever.

How does this help Enterprise IT with the BYOD problem?
It levels the playing field by keeping all devices on the outside of the Data Center’s such that the BYOD problem space becomes a Mobile IT issue along with all company issued mobile devices. IT has to solve for secure data and access, once, for all classes of devices. For cloud computing, the data center(s) can securely federate the cloud back-end infrastructure, and the Mobile IT access strategy must accommodate the front-end access method. A solid strategy will provide protection for device resident enterprise data and access, such that mobile devices are not a jump-off point to break into the enterprise from a remote point on the globe.

Recommendation to Enterprise IT Professionals (As a former Enterprise Infrastructure Architect for a global brand)
Consider positioning the IT architecture so when the compelling services are offered to the CIO by service providers, IT can “blur the lines” between infrastructures with less resistance than the current trust boundaries.

The opportunities exist for mobile operators to help address enterprise BYOD and mobility challenges for enterprise IT departments, and cultivate value-added services beyond coverage and capacity in the Enterprise space – built upon strong customer relationships and a proven technical foundation. Positive mindshare and perceptions in the eyes of the enterprise buyers will create invitations to future opportunities.

A new and more important role is emerging for mobile operators, where enterprise mobility and value-added IP services is part of the ‘package.’ Mobile is the heartbeat of any organization, and wireless is the digital oxygen that our devices breathe at home and on the road.

Innovation in mobile, and the increasing need for IT to deal with more mobile requirements, while reducing cost and complexities, and move items from the Capex side to the Opex side of the budget, is blurring the lines between mobile and Enterprise networks, and creating value on both sides.

– Art King, SpiderCloud Wireless, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies

Twitter: @EMobilityInside
Visit our Enterprise IT site @ http://SpiderCloud.com/EInsider


The Inside Advantage

February 6, 2013

Managed Mobility Services for Enterprise Customers is a $100 Billion Opportunity

We are in the midst of the most rapid mobile network change we have seen in over 15 years. Mobility and the use of licensed spectrum is the digital oxygen that drives productivity – our industry’s equivalent to crude oil deposits. Spectrum reuse and targeted capacity using small cells indoors is rapidly becoming the answer to deal with networks at capacity. So where’s the $100 billion opportunity? It starts with providing a scalable small cell network that can deliver reliable indoor 3G/LTE and Wi-Fi coverage and capacity for enterprise customers, re-capturing vastly under-utilized licensed spectrum indoors and positively impacting on the outdoor macro cellular network.

“Mobility and agile network services for enterprises can give mobile operators an inside advantage”

The enterprise mobility services market opportunity is arising as a result of several key trends: mobility and the need for BYOD policies and control, and cloud computing and the emergence of enterprise small cell systems that go beyond coverage and capacity. In 2013 and beyond, operators have an unrivalled opportunity to move beyond minutes and Megabytes and subsidized devices and become trusted partners to enterprise customers.

As more hardware and Wi-Fi vendors start to offer managed SaaS and WaaS services, so they leave the door open for fixed service providers to do the same. This gives enterprise customers valuable options to curtail CapEx spending. The advantage for the mobile operator is that they can offer a full suite of OpEx-only mobility services with reliable licensed spectrum coverage and capacity using multi-mode small cell systems – and still deliver WasS, SaaS, security and compliance services.

In the market analysis “Enterprise Mobility Services*: Market Opportunity for Mobile Service Providers,” Exact Ventures, an analyst firm focused on technology market intelligence, analyzed the managed mobility services opportunity for businesses of 100 to 4999 employees in United States and the European Union. In leveraging the mobile ecosystem and small cell systems for in-building coverage, capacity and services, operators have the ability to help enterprise customers remove IT challenges with mobility, unified communications, secure access to applications, device management and integration of cloud and telephony, as well as leverage the emergence of new context and localization-based services.

“With enterprise IT teams under constant pressure to do more with less budgets and resources, the opportunity for trusted mobility services is tremendous,” said Greg Collins, principal with Exact Ventures. “Until now, there’s been little reason for enterprises to have a relationship with operators beyond minutes and mobile devices. Small Cell systems that go beyond coverage and capacity can change this model and open up new business models that can help enterprise customers save significantly on CapEx and OpEx.”

“Enterprise IT can save approximately $60 billion between 2014 and 2020”

By outsourcing telecommunications services, enterprises can leverage new in-building mobile services and save up to 35% per year by transitioning from a CapEx to a per-user/month OpEx model –  saving enterprise IT over $60 billion between 2014 and 2020 and allowing finite IT resources to be either re-allocated to focus on differentiation and competitive advantage or for the cost savings to fall to the bottom line.

Enablement of such services starts with the deployment of a multi-access small cell system that includes 3G, LTE and Wi-Fi and can scale beyond a few small cells to deliver reliable mobile services indoors for enterprise customers of any size. To enable managed cloud and application services, a locally deployed controller or services node is required to maintain secure services access to and from any mobile device on the network.


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Mobile operators who start to offer true managed mobility services to the enterprise, starting with basic coverage and capacity, can follow on with services such as BYOD, MDM and PBX Integration, even Wi-Fi as a service. 

Hosted Unified Communications (UC) refers to a set of real-time communications services such as instant messaging, presence information, telephony and video conferencing, as well as non-real-time communication services like e-mail, SMS, voicemail and fax.  UC is not necessarily a single product, but is often a set of products that provides a consistent unified user interface and user experience across multiple devices and media types.

Security: Cloud-based Web Filtering Enterprises increasingly employ cloud-based web filtering as a way to monitor and control website access and usage to enhance productivity and improve security by protecting against malware and spyware.

Mobile Device Management (MDM) entails lifecycle management of both company and employee provided mobile devices to manage and secure enterprise data and access.

Compliance Services Many industries are subject to regulatory record keeping requiring documentation of all communications within an organization. In conjunction with other cloud-based telecommunications services, operators can centralize the collection, storage, and reporting of such data, helping customers relieve costs and adhere to regulatory or best-practice compliance.

Wi-Fi-as-a-Service is the delivery of enterprise-focused services such as secure internal and guest Wi-Fi. Where the operator is already installing small cells with Wi-Fi, it can offer its business customers Wi-Fi access when the opportunity is available.

Context-Aware (or Location-Based) Services can offer enterprises a large array of use cases. The opportunity to leverage the very sophisticated mobile network location capabilities in Small Calls and extend them into the macro network creates unique opportunities to innovate enterprise business systems in ways that have never been easily available.

Enterprise CIOs will start to expect mobility services from their communications partners as part of a longer-term strategy to lower CapEx and improve productivity and business agility.

As we look forward, we are seeing the emergence of a common service network infrastructure where macro, micro and small cells work in close tandem with intelligent physical and virtual routing of access and services. Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) is becoming a reality much faster than expected.

Mobile operators have the opportunity to offer its enterprise customers with a clientless-UC access to mobility, applications and cloud-based services, giving them the inside advantage over any other service provider and building a trusted relationship for years to come.

– Ronny Haraldsvik SVP/CMO


Joanie Wexler @ Mobile Enterprise IT: Considering ‘Mobility as a Service’

December 12, 2012

7 Questions for IT Managers to Ask

Your enterprise is likely going mobile. But if RF matters aren’t your IT department’s forte, and you need to deliver dense cellular coverage and capacity throughout your facility, perhaps you should consider a managed mobility service. But from whom?

The entity perhaps best equipped to help you bring 3G/4G infrastructure indoors – at least on paper – is a mobile network operator. The simple reason is 3G and 4G services use licensed wireless spectrum, and mobile operators have exclusive rights to the spectrum they have licensed. So whatever road you take to get strong cellular signals throughout your building and campus, you must do so with the operator’s blessing, or you face the possibility of paying a fine or being shut down.

All kinds of managed network services from carriers have been around for a long time, from managed router services to network-based firewall services. Why not managed in-building/on-campus cellular services?

Changing Mobility Landscape

Historically, the mobile network operators have tended to focus on consumers, leaving business-class managed network service issues to their wired counterparts. Increasingly, though, as usage trends create greater requirements to bring mobile WAN signal and increased capacity to your premise, new service models are emerging. Many of the mobile operators already offer managed Wi-Fi services. Yet to date, business-specific cell coverage assistance from operators has largely been limited to very large enterprises with deep pockets serving tens of thousands of paying customers that cost-justify the operator’s attention.

Smaller businesses – and even smaller locations of large businesses – haven’t had many options. It’s time to take the operator to task on this matter: there are now more affordable down-scale infrastructure options creating new business model opportunities for carriers that could benefit your company.

Should you look into having a mobile operator assume your on-premises mobility installation and management? When considering outsourcing, in general, most IT departments ask: Do we have capex budget, or prefer to move capex into opex? Do we have the necessary in-house expertise? How will running things ourselves affect the bottom line?

These questions still apply. In addition, here are some must-ask questions about managing your mobile enterprise:

1)    Do we need to deliver better cellular signals in a building or elsewhere on campus? This is a fundamental “needs” question, and part of your answer depends on your policy for supporting mobile WAN users at work. If you do intend to support them, how is your coverage now?

If you’re located near a macro cell tower and have a building made of penetrable materials, you might already have pretty strong coverage. But if you have weak in-building penetration and/or you see your number of mobile WAN users and applications growing, you might want to plan ahead to increase capacity and coverage on your premises.

2)    Do you have a bring-your-own device (BYOD) policy? You might not support certain BYODs on your internal network and/or you might have a mobile app sandboxing strategy to deliver limited access to unmanaged BYODs. So some users will stay on the mobile WAN because they prefer to use the device of their choice, even if it means giving up some access.  Still others will stay on the mobile WAN because some features on certain mobile devices simply don’t work behind the corporate firewall. Either way, you now have a mobile challenge on your hands.

3)    Are you looking to phase out wired desk phones? Robust mobile network coverage and capacity everywhere are necessary for strategies that replace legacy wired phones with devices using mobile WAN, and/or Wi-Fi, as their transport.

4)    Do you have revenue-generating workers, such as a sales force, that insist on using smartphones or tablets, and expect them to work inside your offices? Of course you do. As AT&T has recently reported, up to 80% of all voice and data connections on its network are initiated from inside buildings. Do you want to be the mobile operator inside your enterprise?

5)    Do you have customers or guests who come to your offices or stores expecting wireless access? Your company might even supply mobile applications that these guests use when in your store. If you fit this profile, you need in-building mobile WAN coverage.

6)    What are the comparative costs of enhancing mobile coverage and capacity indoors yourself, versus seeking a managed mobility service solution? This is a biggie, and the answer depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Your goals will drive your equipment and service choices. The primary in-building service choices are traditional distributed antenna systems (DASs), and small-cell technologies such as femtocells and enterprise radio-access networks (E-RANs).

      • DASs are optimized for fairly large facilities. Traditional DAS setups usually run about $2.50 to $5.00 per square foot in capex and labor, depending on your environment and the number of carriers you need to support. The biggest downside of DASs is the lack of signal reuse to support the denser capacities required, as more users (and apps) go mobile.
      • Small-cell technologies are DAS alternatives for smaller locations that address both the affordability issue and the need to accommodate higher densities of users. They reuse the signal repeatedly throughout buildings for greater, more consistent throughput everywhere.
        • Femtocells are the least expensive (about $100 to $200 each). To date, they are limited in the number of users they can support, and have management and roaming limitations when more than one or two are deployed. With more  femtocells, interference occurs and seamless voice mobility is not supported.
        • An E-RAN is a self-organizing network of small access points. It  leverages the existing wired Ethernet network for local backhaul and switching, and the Internet access connection for WAN backhaul. Each node reuses licensed spectrum to create consistent, dense capacity throughout the coverage area. The sweet spot here are buildings with about 50,000 to 500,000  square feet. The cost of the E-RAN alternative averages 25 cents per square-foot – but that’s the capex cost to the mobile operator. You don’t pay for the equipment; just a monthly service fee (opex).

7)    Do you trust your mobile operator to partner with you for mobility, and later, cloud-based applications and services? This is probably the biggest question. It has been traditionally difficult for organizations to get operators’ attention for coverage in 50,000 – 500,000 square-foot buildings. Why trust them now? Well, the onus is on the operator to offer you an in-building system and services in a financially sensible manner. The best way to answer this question is to start asking your operator about the availability of such services, the terms, and the capabilities.

Where Does Wi-Fi Fit?

In the meantime, though, you probably have some Wi-Fi in place. Do the internal Wi-Fi and 3G/4G networks dovetail? How do you stitch the disparate networks together into a cohesive mobile network?

If you have a self-organizing system for mobility indoor cellular services, there might be an advantage to asking the operator – once it has proven itself with cellular – to flip on one extra switch and support your Wi-Fi, too. Carriers are increasingly turning to Wi-Fi offload strategies to alleviate congestion on mobile WANs, and are also starting to integrate their cellular and Wi-Fi network cores at the subscription management and data plane levels. Eventually, your operator could take over the worry of seamlessly transferring your users on and off the “best” available (and least-cost) network service as traffic loads ebb and flow.

On the other hand, the business-class Wi-Fi vendors have spent a decade honing their systems with advanced RF planning, management and security tools. Ask your mobile operator whether those capabilities would be available to help you control your Wi-Fi network the way you prefer, or whether you would have to give some of that up.

Consider, for example, migration strategies from 802.11n to 802.11ac. You’re going to want to eventually dump the 2.4GHz band for exclusive use of the 5GHz band to make use of emerging 802.11ac equipment, which can reach speeds of 1Gbps. Will your mobile network operator have the expertise to help you “band-steer” 5GHz-capable clients into the band, or are you better off turning to established Wi-Fi specialists known to have such capabilities?

Finally, what’s your strategy for indoor mobile voice calls? Do you keep folks on the cellular network? Should you build out your Wi-Fi network for voice support? This can be a costly endeavor: You need very dense coverage and full QoS support on what is an unlicensed network, accessed on a contention basis. Merging your mobile WAN and Wi-Fi networks to operate as a unified system, with the best infrastructure, seamlessly accommodating traffic at any given moment based on conditions, is one approach. The other is to optimize your in-building mobile WAN for voice, while keeping Wi-Fi deployments in place for “free”, and/or overflow data transmissions.

Users Weigh In

The user community has many questions about mobility as a service – that is, trusting a mobile network operator to install and manage on-premises cellular equipment to deliver dense mobile WAN signals and capacity. A partner in a cellular optimization company said he would be more open to mobility as a service from mobile operators for in-building coverage, and for Wi-Fi as well, if the terms were reasonable.

“I would trust them to extend their coverage into our building, provided we had…no additional long-term commitment,” he said. “Many times the carriers ask for a three to five year commitment. Two, I can live with. It would be good to have some form of SLA to ensure compliance.”

The partner continued: “Wi-Fi would be much harder to trust them with. For example…what security can we administer, and what will be [the operator’s] responsibility? Are there service, speed and uptime guarantees? It is appealing to have one less thing to take care of, and scary at the same time. [My] first thought is that the benefits outweigh the risks, provided [there are] acceptable terms and answers to our questions.”

There are also misconceptions to clear up.

One enterprise public safety manager said he would like to understand how extending the cellular signal into a building would impact Phase I and Phase II wireless location discovery for 911 calls. “If they are ‘extending’ an existing antenna that is down the street, your callers may show up as ‘down the street’ if they dial 911. Not good,” he said.

Actually, in-building small cells don’t extend an existing macro network “antenna”; they create new spectrum using small, self-contained base stations and antennas traffic-engineered throughout the building. If managed cohesively by operators as one segment of the overall macro network, as in the case of the E-RAN, the extended coverage and capacity should actually bode well for enhancing 911 location discovery, compared to having spotty in-building coverage, or none at all.

Upshot

Most mobile WAN voice and data calls are initiated indoors. If you need to support mobile WAN users anywhere on your campus, new options are making it possible for carriers to offer you affordable, managed mobility services that require no capex investments on your part. Scalable small cell systems, for reliable indoor coverage and capacity, are available today that were not available just a year ago. Should you trust the mobile operator – who ultimately decides what equipment is allowed to run in its licensed spectrum anyway? The only way to find out is to start asking questions, and test the equipment and the relationship.

– Joanie Wexler, Guest Blogger