Zeus Kerravala
Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his...
Read Full Bio >>

Zeus Kerravala | September 15, 2015 |


SMBs Can Go Mobile-First, Too

SMBs Can Go Mobile-First, Too Cisco brings enterprise-class mobility capabilities down market with introduction of SMB-focused Mobility Express bundle.

Cisco brings enterprise-class mobility capabilities down market with introduction of SMB-focused Mobility Express bundle.

If you've read my posts here at No Jitter over the past few years, you'll know that I've been fairly critical of the way our industry defines mobility. Being mobile is more than having a mobile device in your hand. It requires a different way of thinking, as I wrote in an April piece, Businesses Need to 'Think Mobile' to Be Mobile. A mobile-first strategy means always considering the unique capabilities of mobility and using those to create differentiated features.

While I'll likely continue to maintain my skeptical position when I hear about mobile this and mobile that, I do believe mindsets are starting to change. As I talk with businesses these days, I'm started to hear more and more often from those that are trying to eat, drink, and sleep mobile.

On the downside, the majority of mobility solutions available today are for large enterprises. This has left mobility-minded small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) wanting. But this is starting to change, too.

In a blog posted this morning, Cisco announced the expansion of its Mobility Express line with a complete solution aimed at delivering enterprise-class Wi-Fi to SMBs. While we often characterize "enterprises" and "SMBs" differently, the fact is that smaller businesses are facing similar mobile challenges as large companies. They, too, are grappling with how to handle the increased use of consumer devices, new engagement models, mobile workers, and the need to connect the unconnected while they contend with less time and constrained budgets.

This latest Mobility Express solution comprises access points (APs), a management interface, and analytics tools. It offers:

  • Simplified deployment - Cisco infrastructure technology has a reputation, particularly among the less technical IT personnel in small companies, of being great but hard to set up. With this Mobility Express solution, SMB IT managers can now deploy Wi-Fi infrastructure through a set-up wizard. The wizard removes the complexity, cutting deployment time down to 10 minutes, Cisco said. As another plus, this Mobility Express solution does not require use of a dedicated controller for AP management. But should the deployment scale to the point at which the company would like to use a dedicated controller, that's an easy change. It can simply move the network to a controller without having to change APs.
  • A mobile application for management - Cisco created iOS- and Android-based applications for remote mobile management. The applications provide details and health information about the APs and clients, as well as give a look at application visibility, interference detection, local client profiling, and rogue detection. Being able to keep tabs on the mobile infrastructure while working remotely should be a big boon to SMB IT departments, which typically are small.
  • Support for 802.11ac - The Mobility Express bundle includes Cisco Aironet 1830 or 1850 Series 802.11ac Wave 2 APs. Typically companies upgrade Wi-Fi every 18 to 24 months, so using the latest technology means staving off a network upgrade for a couple of years. If you've been following the evolution of Wi-Fi standards, then you know Wave 2 breaks the Gig Ethernet barrier -- enabling Wi-Fi speeds to exceed wired speeds for the first time. Wave 2 also includes multiuser MIMO, which dedicates Wi-Fi signal on a per-user basis, and features dual spatial streams and beam forming. With Wave 2, the Wi-Fi network gets switch-like performance (whereas older Wi-Fi versions act more like hubs). Switch-like performance is a key enabler of the mobile-first business. No matter how good a company's intentions, if the underlying network doesn't support the demands of mobility, then the business will never get there. One additional note, the Mobility Express management cluster does support Wave 1 and 802.11n APs, as well. This means companies can continue to use those APs as they bring in Wave 2 where required.

In addition to the Wi-Fi APs and management features, Cisco has bundled in a number of analytic tools aimed at delivering actionable business intelligence from the wireless network. This move dovetails with my long-held belief that data culled from the wireless network will provide the foundation for customer and employee engagement.

As part of this announcement, Cisco is releasing Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) 10.2, which includes two new analytic tools: presence analytics and social analytics. Social analytics gathers customer sentiment information from Twitter feeds. Presence analytics provides visitor information such as location, dwell time, busiest hour, number of connected visitors, peak traffic time, passersby versus visitors, and other information.

With the combination of the two, businesses should be able to get an understanding of what people are doing while connected to Wi-Fi, then using that information to engage them in personalized, differentiated ways. Consistent with the "simplicity" theme of this announcement, CMX includes an expanded library of templates that should enable SMBs to begin accessing and using analytics reports in short order.

This Cisco Mobility Express bundle is a great solution for SMBs as it brings enterprise-class features down market in a package that allows for quick and easy deployment.

On the flip, this is an important offering for Cisco, too. The SMB space is highly fragmented, with no clear leader. Most of the companies I've talked to in this segment like Cisco stuff but the complexity of the technology causes them to look elsewhere. Cisco has been working steadily to make its products easier to buy, deploy, and manage -- and this is a good example of the company's efforts today.

Follow Zeus Kerravala on Twitter and Google+!
Zeus Kerravala on Google+


Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem

Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

March 7, 2018

Video collaboration is experiencing significant change and innovation-how can your enterprise take advantage? In this webinar, leading industry analyst Ira Weinstein will present detailed analysis

February 21, 2018

Business agility has become the strongest driver for enterprises to begin migrating their communications to the cloud-and its a benefit that enterprises are already realizing. To gain this benefit

February 7, 2018

Enterprises are starting to grasp the critical importance of security and compliance in their team collaboration deployments. And once the risks are mitigated, your enterprise can integrate these n

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.