Many of the borders that contain and limit the development of business communication are being torn down. After being among the 12,000 who attended a recent international industry event in London, Gordon Adie – Managing Director of Aberdeen-based integrated communication specialist Arrowdawn – offers his take on the shape of things to come.
The big term at this year’s Cisco Live showcase at ICC London Excel was ‘borderless networking’.
It was a term that could actually have applied to the event itself as thousands of attendees from dozens of countries took part in an intensive four-day programme of presentations, seminars, discussion sessions and social gatherings.
The event – one of only a small number held globally every year by Cisco to showcase industry developments to a technical community of customers, suppliers and service providers – was enormous in scale.
As are the possibilities presented by the concept of working outwith the conventional borders of the business communication environment.
‘Borderless networking’ in essence is about being able to operate, communicate and collaborate effectively from anywhere. Equipped with the right solutions and an internet connection, for personnel it changes the communication landscape.
For example: a docking station encompassing a phone and a ‘tablet’ device becomes the norm on the office desk, taking mobility and virtual technology into a new era, personnel are able to video conference or collaborate in real time, from home or from the train on the way to work using a PDA, software and data is accessed from the ‘cloud’, meaning applications and information are immediately available from anywhere.
The key point is that this is not some distant concept, but is happening now. While such solutions have to date been expensive, complex and largely the preserve of big corporate networks, that is ceasing to be the case. They are becoming the reality for the wider business community.
They mean operational efficiencies for companies, of course, but they also help them meet environmental obligations as the requirement for business travel falls.
For Arrowdawn, introducing such solutions for our customers carries two key objectives. The first is that it has to be seamless. Users don’t want to have to do more, or do anything different, when using the technology in different scenarios. They want to access the technology quickly, easily and efficiently whether using it at work, at home or on the move.
Secondly, security cannot be compromised. The levels of network security that exist in conventional systems need to be maintained in this new ‘borderless’ era. That poses a new challenge for our industry but it’s one that will always be a key priority.
Arrowdawn, which was named Cisco Scottish Commercial Partner of the Year 2010 and is a Cisco Premier Partner, provides and supports a portfolio of communications products, from voice over IP telephony to data network infrastructure and security.