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The Value Of Transformation That Experience Offers

by Ajay Malik, SVP, Worldwide Engineering & Products-Meru Networks September-2015

Silicon valley has been the innovation capital of the world since the 70s and lately the innovation engine has been running faster than ever. And, this time the theme is experience. The focus is the value of transformation that experience offers - efficiency, entertainment, savings or additional revenues. The developments and transformations are happening in many areas to enable experience.

Internet of Things

Top of the list is Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is nothing but an intelligent and invisible network of things that communicate directly or indirectly with each other or the internet to enable experience. The things (as in Internet of things) typically employ some kind of embedded technology that allows them to sense conditions such as pressure, humidity, temperature, motion, number of people in an area, amongst others. And then a technology allows them to connect to other things or the cloud so that they can send the information as well as be programmed.

There are many standards and proprietary solutions used for connecting things to each other or to the cloud: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, Active RFID, loWPAN, EtherCAT, NFC, RFID to name a few. The choice of technology is usually dictated by the physical characteristics of the environment, such as the presence of wood, concrete, metal and others, the density of sensors, desired range, and data rates.

These things create many opportunities for businesses. Retail businesses can create loyalty programs for customer retention, clinical laboratories can use temperature sensors to maintain the precise temperature required for transporting clinical samples to ensure their viability, department stores can use weight sensors to refill shelves, senior care facilities can use for monitoring residents and many more. And, of course it creases opportunities for businesses to create new IoT solutions.

Businesses should look to make deliberate decisions about how they can use things and increase revenue, productivity or savings.

SDN

The next major activity happening in the industry is SDN (Software-Defined Networking). The rapid consumer adoption of mobile devices, cloud services, new interfaces, and changing behaviors have transformed how customers engage and what they expect. Customers are looking for services aligned with their needs and abilities, at that moment, on that device. And, with SDN businesses can deliver end to end experiences that are customer-centric, natural, anticipatory and adaptive.

In SDN, each network device exposes an open standards based programming protocol to program the forwarding plane of the device and a software (called SDN Controller) enables businesses to create or deploy applications that can program the network. The promise of SDN is that networks are no longer closed, proprietary and difficult to program. SDN makes network programmable, easy to provision and removes vendor lock-in.

Business should start looking for SDN enablement of the wired, wireless and security infrastructure devices they use in their network so that they can create influential signature experiences.

The experiences that grab the customer's attention and positively influence how they feel and what they do. Examples include retail or hospitality businesses offering premium services for loyal customers, education customers enabling teachers more control, businesses have predictable service quality for customer calls, and more. And, of course it increases opportunities for businesses to create new SDN applications.

Self Service Business Intelligence

And, the last big transformation that is happening in the industry is the enablement of access to data discovery, data preparation tools and analytics by the business user.

Until recently, the access to data gathering was limited by IT's ability to satisfy this need. It required specific skills such as statistical background and ability to use Business Intelligence tools and over 70 percent of business users do not have these skills. Most often the decisions are made by circumventing the IT, based on an inconsistent or incomplete use of data, random metrics and formulae amongst others.

The self service tools will help business users to derive insights from data and model data for making better decisions. The potential business benefit of using analytics for decision making is very significant. For example, retail businesses can offer coupons based on customer patterns, hospitals can deploy right resources to decrease patient waiting times in emergency rooms, educators can use the analytics to improve the courses, and more.

Internets of Things, Software Defined Networking and Self Service Business Intelligence tools have the potential for a significant impact on businesses in the next three years. Silicon Valley is moving once again from concept to conquest (of the world) and this time by creating an experience - an experience that will transform how businesses do their business.