Content provided by a guest contributor.
Mobile and wireless technology continues to serve as the foundation for many a sector within the South African economy.
A bird’s eye view of this ultra-competitive and thriving market segment would show significant growth within the introduction of various applications that leverage off this technology to the maximum. It is not difficult to ascertain why.
Mobile working is now firmly entrenched into the fabric of our socio-economy. It is very much an understood part of modern business-to-business and business-to-consumer communication.
General movement between office and home, meetings and customer engagements and the like, is symbolic of the rapidly expanding mobility-dominated work-front.
The manufacturing or logistics environment is a strong case in point. For example, mobile solutions are used extensively for the selection, retrieval and storage of different stock items online so that it is ready for market in real-time.
If we consider the situation from a physical security point of view, cameras that link into the system are becoming more prevalent.
Remote support management and remote computing has also been used in agriculture. Farmers use this technology to physically review what is going on across lands, whether irrigation is working and what is actually happening. He or she has the ability to judge, from a distance, what can be managed remotely or what requires attention onsite.
A factory owner can also have a look what is going on inside the factory to ease any concerns management may have.
The practicality of network application and use goes further than that though, and it has other complications as well, specifically from a bandwidth perspective.
These applications do require extended bandwidth and so pose a few issues. Existing networks, or older networks, do not normally cater for this type of functionality, hence the need to look at the core of the network and ensure that this can actually accommodate extensive use.
If we have a look from a security perspective, one would normally discover security problems in smaller companies or those that have not truly looked at security from a strategic point of view.
Even the most fundamental security initiatives are required in a network in order to avoid the threat of cyber crime.
However we need to look at it in reality and the fact is that most breaches of any network or facilities available in the network are done from within the organisation and this needs to be looked at critically with login systems, for example.
The advent of mobile and wireless computing within the networking space is also being fuelled by social networking, especially within the context of business.
Irrespective of whether decision makers or management embrace this as a realistic aspect of the modern work environment that can and does develop business credentials and presence, it is quite often abused and this has to be taken into consideration.
Companies continue to complain that staff use the social networking platform to access other networks that are not pertinent to their daily functions, and this impacts on productivity.
There are numerous products available on the market today to overcome this problem. Products such as Cyber Roam are designed to stop staff and users of the networks from accessing these social network websites, and this is a bone fide alternative strategy and approach.
At the same time, however, the old rule of thumb also applies – ‘a happy employee is a productive employee’ and it can be a good idea to allow allotted time for staff to relax and enjoy these facilities.
Otherwise the workplace becomes a mundane environment, very much like a boot camp which we try to avoid and keep the working environment as pleasurable and as interesting as possible. However this does not mean that sanctions of social networks should be encouraged.
The networking environment, much like other key areas of information and communication technology, requires constant and consistent attention to achieve balance and maintain efficiency.
By Paul Luff, country manager, SMC Networks South Africa