Mobile Tech Creates Opportunities and Challenges

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print
Mobile Tech Opportunities

The rapidly evolving state of mobile technology requires companies to think seriously about how to integrate mobility into the entire fabric of an organization.

The company relies on satellite, cellular and WiFi technologies (including 802.11b, g, n and ac) to support communications between devices, machines and people. An Aruba Networks wireless infrastructure provides the IT framework and management capabilities that allow data to flow smoothly and securely at all times.

For example, workers use a software application to view live data about individual storage tanks at pumping sites so they can determine when they need to be emptied. In the past, they would have had to visit each site and check manually, but thanks to sensors that transmit flow rates and other data points from the tanks, they can monitor performance from any location using a smartphone.

"The system saves an enormous amount of time and money," McPhearson reports. "People no longer have to spend hours driving to and from the sites."

What's more, Cimarex operates separate service set identifiers (SSIDs) at offices and field sites so that employees and contract workers, guests and others can check email, access applications and manage data from mobile devices. McPhearson says that robust management and authentication capabilities built into the Aruba network have also helped improve security. It's possible to switch on an access point and have it pull the configuration and rules from the central controller.

"We are able to establish and fold up WiFi networks on the fly," he explains. "In the end, our users are more productive and happier, and the company is more competitive."

Connecting to Results

As the mobile enterprise takes shape, business and IT leaders must adjust both their thinking and the fundamental way they approach information technology, Accenture's Sharma points out. "We're moving from a hierarchical and linear environment—where everything is controlled within tight walls and strict interfaces—to a more open, fluid and flexible environment where data sharing, collaboration and constant interaction are the norm," she explains.

Along the way, there's a need to reexamine business processes, as well as roles, responsibilities and skill sets. It's also necessary to recognize how the IoT and connected systems alter the equation.

"It's important to change both the underlying IT infrastructure and an organization's culture in order to create a more open enterprise and extend data to consumers, employees and partners when and where they want it," Sharma says.

Within this framework, an IT infrastructure that can collect, manage and share data from disparate sources is essential. This may lead an enterprise down the path of clouds, API libraries and virtualization, as well as more robust authentication and security that spans hardware, software and connected devices.

However, it's also critical to think about wireless IT in a more consumer-centric way, Capgemini's Smith says. This means focusing on device preferences, form factors, usability issues, app features and other considerations.

"Mobility goes well beyond voice, data and the Internet of things," she explains. "It's about providing ubiquitous access to work and life so that a person can get things done more quickly, easily and efficiently."

This article was originally published on 2015-09-22
Samuel Greengard writes about business and technology for Baseline, CIO Insight and other publications. His most recent book is The Internet of Things (MIT Press, 2015).
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