NetEvents Americas 2012, Miami, FL - A couple of years ago, there was a blind belief in a three screen world – smartphones, TV, and PCs. Now, it’s a multiscreen world, with tablets of all shapes and sizes making more rapid progress into homes and the enterprise than a “connected” or Internet TV. Smarter networks and cloud services will be booming businesses in the years to come, but there are headaches as well.
Perhaps the most amazing thing over the past three years has been the rapid adoption of tablets. It’s hard to believe that the first generation Apple (News - Alert) iPad was released a bit more than two years ago and it is going to be challenged by different form factors (smaller and larger screen) and a tailored enterprise offering from Microsoft’s (News - Alert) Surface.
Compare the tablet’s rapid proliferation with the struggles of the TV to emerge as the “third screen.” For more than a decade there’s been new and different buzzwords and models, with interactive TV, connected TV, smart TV and now the Internet TV. Google (News - Alert) and Yahoo have promoted their own unique frameworks, but TV hardware manufacturers have yet to rally around a common standard; in many cases, offering their own proprietary solutions for apps and content distribution.
TV manufacturers have yet to truly embrace a fundamental truth in the networked world: Standards win because they promote third-party apps development and content creation. Until TV manufacturers embrace a standard operating system – most likely Google’s Android (News - Alert) – the connected/Internet TV is destined to languish in the land of wishful thinking.
Regardless of what the device is or where it resides – home or business – smarter networks are necessary for more efficient apps delivery and better security. I know there’s a camp out that believes in the big dumb pipe theory – got a bottleneck? Make the pipe bigger/faster – but it assumes all devices on the network are relative equal in terms of the need for bandwidth and priority.
A lot of the talk at NetEvents has been around the concept of the Software Defined Network , breaking away from proprietary network management and routing solutions and moving to the OpenFlow standard. OpenFlow is basically the Linux/Android for routers and as it continues to grow into the network it will enable service providers to effectively manage their network with much more flexibility and lower total costs of ownership.
Smarter networks and a multitude of devices also require a more intelligent network for better security. Enterprises embracing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) suddenly have to deal with a multitude of different challenges as users mix business and personal apps on secure and public networks. Big dumb pipes give you NOTHING, nada, zip when it comes to stopping bad actors driven by profit or ideology.
Finally, users need to be able to seamlessly access information – in the cloud across the full spectrum of device -- preferably with a single user interface. Apple, Google, Microsoft and a host of smaller players are trying to capture users into their clouds, hoping to generate revenue as users hit the “free” data limit. Most individual end-users have turned out to be cheap and have diversified between two or more cloud storage solutions for their personal use, with third-party solutions like DropBox making headway against name brands because they are easy to setup and use.
Businesses want cloud services with five-9s of reliability and the ability to securely access those services on any mobile device – attributes that appear to be works-in-progress. Complicating matters is the innate ability of people to bypass corporate security policies and procedures as a matter of convenience. Creating an “industrial strength” cloud solution for businesses and a more secure means of accessing it will be a lucrative business in the years to come.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman