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The Mobile Mindshift - And Planning to Support It

[Editor's Note: The Mobile Mindshift is the title of a book from Forrester, and the corresponding quote from Ed Walton was taken from the text and not originally attributed in the presentation slides.]

The population is growing increasingly mobile. We see it wherever we go these days. Walk into any presentation or theater and one of the first directives you will get is to silence your mobile device. Documenting and sharing our lives has become a way of life - not just for consumers, but for businesses as well.

I recently attended Avaya Evolutions in Chicago, a one-day event to discuss technology trends and business communications solutions. In one of the morning presentations from Ed Walton, Avaya U.S. Sales Leader of Networking Solutions, a couple of photographs were shared that really encapsulated the major shift that has taken place in regard to mobility. Both photos can be viewed at this link here, and have been circling around social media for a bit. They both show a large crowd gathering for the inauguration of a new pope. While they are taken just 8 years apart, they showcase a significantly different way of life.

The first photo was taken in 2005 by AP photographer Luca Bruno, showing a large crowd in St. Peter's Square waiting for Pope Benedict XVI to be inaugurated. As many of you probably realize, this is the pre-iPhone era.

The second photo shown during Walton's presentation was taken in 2013 by AP photographer Michael Sohn at Pope Francis' election. See if you can spot the difference.

You don't have to look too hard to see it. I found these photos so striking that I had to share them with our No Jitter readers. These pictures beautifully demonstrate what Walton referred to as "the mobile mindshift," or "the expectation that any desired information or service is available on any appropriate device, in context, at your moment of need."

Avaya's Brett Shockley, Senior VP and CTO, shared a number of notable stats during his Evolutions presentation about mobility and, more specifically, mobile video.

According to Shockley, 96% of the world's population are mobile subscribers, and more than a billion such devices are expected to be in the enterprise by 2018. Shockley explained that the majority of these devices are a direct result of BYOD, with people carrying an average of 3.5 devices. Only last year, this number rested at 2.7 devices per person – so clearly, the BYOD explosion is still underway.

Shockley also explained that today, mobile means video. Video adoption is growing fast, with a 720% increase in video traffic expected by 2017. This is partly due to changing work habits. According to Shockley's data, 40% of employees spend less than 20% of their time at their desk.

Planning to Support BYOD environments
In a world gone mobile, many enterprise IT departments are left scrambling to figure out how to support all the new devices entering the network. In addition, there are concerns such as security and privacy with which to grapple. Avaya's latest claim to fame is as the official supplier of network equipment for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. This created one of the largest BYOD environments in the world.

Here are a few stats about the scale of the Olympic network:

• 54 Terabit capable backbone
• 2,000 Ethernet switches
• 50,000 Ethernet ports
• 2,500 wireless access points
• 36 HD video channels
• 1,500 IPTV screens
• 6,500 VoIP phones

When architecting the network to support this massive environment, numerous issues needed to be solved. Primarily, the organizing committee prioritized establishing a BYOD environment with guest access for a large number of mobile devices. They also needed to be able to support high quality and secure converged video; efficiently support moves, adds and changes; meet demands for scale, reliability, security and capacity; and do all this with limited resources. These challenges echo many of the most common issues that enterprise IT need to solve when architecting networks and embarking on a BYOD project.

Ed Walton said during his presentation that the interesting thing about setting up a network at such scale is that it is a victory for the company when the infrastructure is invisible. When people don't notice any issues, that's when you know you've succeeded.