Float has emphasized before that we like to think of people themselves as being mobile, not just their mobile phones or wearable devices. Research by the International Data Corporation says mobile workers will account for almost three-quarters of the entire U.S. workforce. With these many workers being mobile, networked technologies will be needed.
The premise is simple enough. If you write a letter using Microsoft Word and you save it to a PC, the program and the letter are stored on the computer. Microsoft Word qualifies as a stand-alone application. However, if you wrote the letter in Google Drive through your Web browser, then you’d have to be connected to the Internet for any changes to be saved on the document. In this way, Google Drive is considered a networked technology. Not only can information be saved this way, but it can share the letter with anyone by adding their email address to a list of those who may want to view the document or even edit it themselves.
The implications extend beyond writing letters. We are talking fleet maintenance, healthcare sensing, product monitoring, predictive maintenance, safety compliance, smart meters, and usage-based insurance. Imagine what it will be like when machines not only have ambient intelligence but also know how to communicate with each other. Here are real-world examples of networked technologies in the enterprise and consumer electronics:
- Avere has shown a virtual NAS product that lets users deploy and scale compute in the cloud. The goal is to achieve convergence without sacrificing security or performance while working with both cloud-based storage and on-premise storage.
- Hilton Hotels use smartphone-based check-ins, saving guests and staff time.
- Pluribus Networks uses a distributed-network hypervisor OS called Netvisor to bring together network storage and virtualization. Its goal is to help enterprises to support app performance while reducing operating and capital expenditure.
- Ford is working on deals that would let drivers preorder Starbucks coffee and pay for gas while on the go.
- Xirrus uses an array of-based system made to replace wired networks because Wi-Fi deployments being used by tablets and smartphones means that ethernet cables are becoming less useful.
- Philips Hue LED bulbs let you change a light bulb’s brightness with your smartphone. Throw in an API that lets Netflix change the dimness and color of a bulb based on the color tone of a chosen film, and you have a movie-viewing experience that expands from the television. If someone breaks into your home while watching a movie, the lights will blink to alert you.
- Sideband Networks’ XRE/vXRE system blends live traffic with logged traffic on a network. The result is analytics of network traffic up to 40Gbps on physical and virtual mediums with real-time alerts.
Between laptops, tablets, phablets, mobile phones, and desktop computers, you don’t have to look far to find someone who is connected to a network. Cloud computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT), have been made possible thanks to networking. When various groups of people are connected to the same network, everyone can experience the benefits regardless of their business goals or role in the company.
There is two things you can do that help employees leverage the network you use in your organization.
First, perform a content and accessibility audit on your existing materials. Can they be found on a variety of devices and platforms (Hello there, Open Technology)? Can you access the content and get value from it now, no matter how or where you log in to your resource? Remove barriers to the access of content you already have.
Next, consider making searchability a major component of your next content creation and design project. Search engine optimization works for marketing, but meta tags, content indexing, and creating usability assistance tools like autocomplete and recommendations, are vital to a next-generation user experience. As our own Chad Udell says in the CHAMPIONS white paper, start your design with search in mind.
In fact, the CHAMPIONS white paper has some of the most relevant information on not just how to use networked technologies, but also how to blend it with each cluster of mobile affordances.
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