Speakers from New York City, Microsoft and Cisco discussed how wireless networks, cloud services and mobile devices are allowing users to have continuous access to data.
A panel of speakers honed in on the changes increased mobility is bring into the enterprise at the Interop conference in New York.
The three keynote speakers, Carole Post, commissioner of NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, Robert Wahbe, corporate vice president of the server and tools marketing group at Microsoft, and Sujai Hajela, vice-president and general manager of the wireless networking business unit at Cisco, discussed cloud computing, mobility and wireless networking trends on the first day of the Interop conference on Oct. 5.
New York City has deployed a private wireless network to be used by its 300,000 employees, Post said in her segment. The commercial-grade, hardened wireless network was built in 2009 and covers 300 square miles, according to Post.
Besides connecting over 750,000 devices, the network also supports a wide array of applications, including remote controlling traffic lights, wireless meter reading and wireless video for "situational awareness." The network also works with handheld devices for the city's 100,000 inspectors and scanners and mobile computers for the New York Police Department. The city is also increasing Internet service in public libraries and offering WiFi services in more than 30 parks.
The private network allows the city to distribute data about the city and is the means the city uses to make contacting various city services using the "311" system more transparently accessible, Post said. It has created a portal with access to more than 4,000 "datasets" for developers interested in creating apps that use the data. One such app was DontEatAt, which grabs health department ratings for restaurants and other eateries around the city, according to Post.
Wahbe described how the combination of the cloud and mobile devices has led to a "new era" for computing. The industry will have 10.7 million virtual servers versus 7.8 million physical servers by the end of 2011, Wahbe predicted. The cost of deploying cloud-based servers would eventually be a tenth of what it costs to deploy physical servers, according to Wahbe.
Cloud adoption is becoming possible because organizations are taking advantage of the economic benefits of virtualization and increased agility, he said in his talk. However, security, compliance and compatibility remain big barriers to wider adoption. All the issues are being addressed, but organizations would still be looking at private clouds for certain types of applications.
Wahbe also talked about Windows Azure, the cloud platform that went live last year, calling it the "next generation of operating systems." The company's upcoming Windows 8 operating system, expected sometime in 2012, will give developers the tools to build desktop or tablet applications that can take advantage of Azure's features, such as caching, cloud-to-client messaging and identity management.
Wahbe was joined on stage by Microsoft technical fellow John Shewchuck, who demonstrated a Windows 8 Metro-style app for a travel site. By linking to Azure's identity management services, the app demonstrated how it could accept user credentials from a wide array of services, including Facebook, Windows Live and Google.
On the mobility side, Microsoft said the average adult now has 4.3 connected devices. This year, 453 million smartphones would be sold, compared with 372 million computers.
Cisco's Hajela focused on mobility and the bring-your-own-device trend in his presentation. Enterprises face the prospect of managing devices connecting to the network from multiple locations and building the infrastructure to make it possible, Hajela said. To be able to provide policies specific to the user, the device, the location and the type of data being requested, enterprises need secure managed wireless networks, identity-based access control and mobile device management, he said.
People are "falling in love" with their mobile devices and expect access to the Internet regardless of where they are, Hajela said. By 2015, mobile data will account for three times the data the entire Internet used in 2005, according to Hajela, adding that Internet data will multiply 26 times and 15 billion devices will be connected in four years.
IT departments need an "end-to-end mobility architecture" and there needs to be "simplicity" to the mobile experience, Hajela said.