I know you're thinking "Uh-oh, YATB. Yet Another Tech Blog."
Why should you care about Voice Readiness for your WLAN network? When deploying voice into your Enterprise, there is no end to the list of issues that can pop up. These issues can quickly tank your grand vision of mobilizing your workforce with the freedom of voice anywhere anytime – which is a frightening prospect, even if it's not Halloween.
Enterprises invest a hefty sum into voice communications, starting with Wireless LAN (WLAN) deployment, followed by device purchases, voice applications, and PBX seat licenses. Yet for some reason, they are reluctant to invest in the very step that will ensure their success: a Voice Readiness Assessment. Perhaps they feel lucky, but the downside to being wrong could be costly.
Voice is an unforgiving and extremely demanding application on your wired and wireless networks. So, is your entire network really ready for voice communications? The importance of the WLAN assessment for voice communications is of course critical, but it is only half of the equation. If your wired network is not equally up to the task for voice communications, you will suffer the consequences.
Don’t be fooled into thinking your existing WLAN network that was designed years ago for data is ready for voice communications. Just think about the following questions:
These are just a few of the voice communication readiness questions you should ask yourself. These questions can only be answered with a voice communication readiness assessment. Such an assessment will set the baseline for your networks’ readiness and provide a list of corrective actions.
I am hoping this blog can spark some conversations to share lessons learned and exchange best practices from the voice communication deployments front lines. And maybe we can have a little fun in the process. As we are approaching that very scary (apologies to Count Floyd) night, All Hallows' Eve, I thought it would be fun to hear some of your “horror” stories about voice communication deployments.
I know rules can be scary for some, but as with any contest, they are needed. So in the comments below here on the blog, or in the comments section of our Facebook, Linked In, or Google+ pages, please share your spooky story. It could be about devil’s interference, ghostly dropped calls, chain-rattling jitter, gremlins stealing your bandwidth, or any remarkable experience you’ve had when deploying voice communications for your enterprise. One story per person, please, and one “nightmare” of a deployment story will be randomly selected to win a $15 iTunes gift certificate to download your favorite horror movies like Poltergeist (scared the heck out of me when I was a kid) or Friday the 13th, or to download some creepy music, like Ozzy Osbourne or Alice Cooper.
All stories must be submitted by Midnight, October 31 (of course), 2013, and please include your Twitter handle or email address to get in touch with you if your scary story is the winner! Prizes will be awarded by Nov. 11. Sharing our challenges will show just how important it is to have a voice communication readiness assessment, so please let us know about your unique and "terrifying" experience.
Mike Frank is a Professional Services Release Management Consultant for Motorola Solutions.
Learn more about voice readiness assessments.
There are a number of major retailers that are very concerned about customers using their stores as show rooms. "Showrooming" is when a customer uses free Wi-Fi in the store to do product research using their mobile device. The customer can experience the product in the store and make a buying decision based on the product being the right size, color, or quality they want to buy. However, the concern comes when there are competing online sites that offer the same product for a lower price, enticing the customer to buy online. A few retailers are thinking about investing in technology that prevents customers from accessing the internet while in their stores. But, smart retailers that I have met are using showrooming as an opportunity to sell their store level product to their customers. How do they do that?
Today, technology providers can provide the ability to detect any mobile device that is using the retailer- provided free Wi-Fi access for their customers. The technology can also detect which websites the customer is accessing while in their store. An application can be created to notify sales associates via mobile workforce management systems which web sites and products they are showrooming. The opportunity is for the sales associate to engage the customer and to talk about the features of the product. This interaction can encourage the customer to purchase the product immediately and to begin to enjoy the product. More than half of these customers will elect to buy it once they have been assisted by store staff.
A number of shoppers and some legislatures are not comfortable with the fact that a retailer can detect customers in their store as well as the web sites they are searching. They consider it an invasion of privacy and interfering with their shopping experience. These same shoppers and legislatures go online to shop and the website creates a “cookie” or bookmark for their site on their computer. Many websites (including Motorola Solutions’) use pop-up windows to greet visitors to engage them in a chat session to expedite sales. Customers accept this level of interference because they clicked on the particular website intentionally.
The same argument can be made with the brick and mortar retailers who want an equivalent scenario to an online retailer. Instead of purposefully clicking a URL, shoppers enter a store and elect to use the store's Wi-Fi access. A retailer cannot place a “cookie” on the customer’s mobile device, but they can detect which sites the customer is visiting, and instead of a pop-up window, they can engage their customers face-to-face with knowledgeable sales associates who are there to help shoppers.
So why can’t a brick and mortar retailer have an equal footing with online Etailers? It seems only reasonable that they should be allowed to compete with similar technical tools.
Every day manufacturers find ingenious ways to get as close to the design as possible. They discover ways to shave off seconds and drive down defects. They spearhead methods to make new things and set the standards that set them apart. They’re the unsung heroes of invention and innovation, and the builders of stronger economies in their organizations, their communities, and around the world. But they’re also under increasing pressure to rapidly build efficiencies across their end-to-end operations.
As manufacturers enhance the efficiency and profitability of their businesses, they are better equipped to grow economies outside of their organizations. Upstream suppliers, downstream distributors and retailers, and even the financial standing of end customers themselves are greatly impacted by manufacturing successes. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, 26 percent of total economic growth and 12 percent of GDP in the U.S. can be attributed to manufacturing since 2009 – higher than any other industry sector. Increasingly, technology is the backbone of any modern manufacturer’s strategy for competitive differentiation and profitable growth.
So how can manufacturers achieve intelligent production? First and foremost, employees in plants and factories need to stay connected in real-time with each other and their machines. In a report produced by the Aberdeen Group, 54 percent of US manufacturers surveyed say they lack a unified view of their plant floor information. That lack of visibility translates into operational delays, safety hazards, unplanned downtime, increased errors and lower output.
Mobile devices and solutions like two-way radios, enterprise-grade tablets, handheld computers, barcode scanners, wearable devices, vehicle-mounted computers, and industrial wireless networks in the hands of operators, technicians, and supervisors can mean getting the order right the first time and in less time. The Motorola Enterprise Mobility Manufacturer Barometer Survey in 2009 found that companies gained 42 minutes of productivity per employee once they implemented mobile solutions on the plant floor. With the right technology, manufacturers can drive intelligent production in their plants and factories.
In the warehouses and distribution centers of manufacturers, flawless fulfillment means enhanced inventory control, accurate order picking, efficient materials management and increased worker productivity. But how can manufacturers achieve that flawless goal and drive gains through the storage and distribution links of their supply chain? One way is through speeding up their operations. Capturing accurate information and mobilizing it so informed action can be taken quickly at the point of work is vital to accelerating velocity within manufacturing warehouses and distribution centers.
In our recently published Future of Warehousing Survey, we saw many industries are beginning to view their warehouses and distribution centers more a differentiator and growth driver for their businesses However, the majority of manufacturers still view them primarily as cost centers, indicating efficiency is still a primary concern. Manufacturers are striving to achieve the next level of efficiency: the survey found 66 percent of warehouses are planning on expanding their technology investments by 2018.
The final link to building efficiency within the manufacturing supply chain is to equip operations personnel in the field with the technology they require to provide dynamic service to customers. An AMR Research study cited recently by Zebra Technologies found that as much as 50-70 percent of potential service revenue is lost by manufacturers because of poor record keeping and management. Devices such as mobile computers, radios and enterprise-tablets help keep better track of records, automate tasks and support work order management on the fly.
Mobile technology during delivery to the customer can also help manufacturers better plan for future production and better inventory maintenance in their warehouse, protect their brand, respond to competitive threats, and ensure the effectiveness of product promotions. The identification of most popular items on the front end helps align back-end production to customer demand.
For some additional insight into how Motorola is partnering with manufacturers to help them achieve what will always set them apart, I invite you to watch our latest video: Manufacturing – Building Efficiency. Growing Economies.
Mike Wills is Vice President, North America Manufacturing Sales, Motorola Solutions.
For more information about how Motorola Solutions is helping Manufacturing, please visit www.MotorolaSolutions.com/Manufacturing.
It’s estimated that mobile phone sales will be somewhere around 1.82 billion units in 2014. That is a lot of devices and while the number applies specifically to consumer oriented phones, it points to the extraordinary growth of mobile devices in general and on our growing comfort with mobility.
A large number of these devices will end up being used in enterprise environments. Driving adoption for enterprise use is the growth of applications that allow everything from mobile point of sale to fleet management and insurance claim adjusting. The combination of software applications, user familiarity, low cost devices, and initiatives to innovate business processes is driving experiments with mobility.
I often meet with organizations and as part of our discussions I ask if they know what their mobile device Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is. In most cases, I get a negative response. Most of the organizations I work with still have what we describe as corporate liable devices – ownership and governance remain with the business. This situation presents the clearest opportunity for studying TCO but the lessons are applicable to any situation where devices support business activities.
We define TCO as consisting of three major components: Operations & Maintenance (O&M), Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) and Opportunity Costs. It’s interesting that organizations typically know how much they spend on the mobile devices (CAPEX) but they may have lost track of how much they spend over a 5 year period on necessary items like replacement batteries. They also often don’t realize how many devices they lose and replace.
From an O&M perspective, most organizations have an idea of the personnel costs related to the Service Desk but they may not have a complete view of Service Desk cost such as building costs, heating/cooling costs, telephony costs, tool costs, training costs, impact of Service Desk turnover or how much time level 3 support spends on dealing with problems versus new strategic activities.
Many enterprises have typically not considered hidden costs related to O&M such as those associated with executives, finance, procurement, legal, or HR on time spent dealing with mobile devices, whether it be related to procurement decision or resolving issues associated with the use of mobile devices nor have they accounted for the time users spend preparing for and interacting with the service desk when a mobile device has a problem.
While O&M and capital expense costs are often quantifiable, the major area that organizations struggle in understanding are the opportunity costs – these are the unattained costs associated with productivity, revenue, customer satisfaction or some other key business KPI due to the way devices are managed and maintained today. We find that most enterprises do not know the impact of device down time on revenue or productivity, for example. These are often considered “soft costs” and are harder to quantify but are really the key to understanding the impact of improving a company’s mobile device lifecycle management approach.
Any meaningful effort to understand and optimize the cost of mobility within your organization should include the creation of a mobile device TCO metric. This type of analysis which we call a Mobile Device Optimization Assessments is a key activity of our Mobility Lifecycle Management service which is built around establishing and maintaining operationally effective mobile device environments.
Staying ahead of your competition and keeping your employees productive may require that you experiment with mobile implementations but measuring the effectiveness of your investment in mobility requires full knowledge of all costs and TCO is still a key metric for evaluating your options in a world full of choices.
Chuck Roark is Director Client Principals for Motorola Solutions, Inc.
To capture the attention of your audience, get concepts heard and, most importantly, funded, takes creativity. Everyone can benefit by taking the same approaches used by innovation teams.
Innovators, as a rule, possess distinct traits and behaviors that make their individual and team contributions unique. Motorola Solutions does things a bit differently – radically at times. And yet, many of our approaches have influenced the building and marketing of new products, and continue to inspire new ways of thinking.
By leveraging some innovative approaches – strategies we use every day – you can stimulate excitement across your organization, create buzz, engage leaders and get your ideas adopted.
Innovators continually push their own and others’ limits, have open and curious minds, and like to break the rules. They are passionate, driven, and leave their egos at home. We work in an industry defined by increasingly complex and rapidly evolving technologies, systems and customer requirements. It’s our job to simplify the complex, using our design and multi-discipline expertise to look at customer challenges in new ways and create breakthrough ideas. For example, we regularly examine technology metashifts to determine what’s next from an enterprise or public safety standpoint. It challenges us to think differently and by thinking on the edge, we challenge the status quo. You can, too.
Building consensus and gaining buy-in from business leaders is a critical job requirement for any role. Innovation requires the ability to quickly and effectively communicate complex ideas to corporate leaders that could potentially disrupt the business and industry. Competition for their time, attention and budget is at a premium. To be heard, you must captivate them. Grab their attention by first innovating around your own corporate culture. Shift from familiar meeting settings by eliminating slides, going to a coffee shop, or adding a “soundtrack” to your message to set a mood.
To make an idea real, bring it to life in the mind’s eye of your audience. Create a compelling video, 3D diagram or animation and send it via email to key influencers in advance of a business decision or funding cycle. When we first introduced the concept of our connected patrol vehicle within the company, we created a video for key decision makers. This allowed us to share ideas without having to schedule multiple meetings or review long presentations. Before long, the video went viral within the company and we received overwhelming consensus to move forward with the project. Check out the connected patrol vehicle that Motorola Solutions created as a result. Multimedia messaging helps create an emotional connection and generate excitement in a way that slides alone simply can’t match. It will get people talking and put your idea on a fast track, making it more likely to be adopted and funded.
Create events designed to break through decision makers’ daily distractions and encourage their receptiveness to complex concepts. Host these events in unique venues designed to facilitate discussion and provide lasting impressions. For example, when we introduced a new, groundbreaking design to internal decision makers, we left the office and had them join us at a location we rented for the day in New York City. We setup the space to reflect the edginess of the proposed designs. Breaking with routines helps focus the audience on the impact of what is being presented – whether it’s a new product feature or the next multi-million dollar business. Given there is a decision-making cadence in every company, timing these events to strategically happen before major decisions are made will improve your chances of influencing a desired outcome.
When presenting ideas or concepts that fall within a new competitive space or one that runs outside of current business capabilities, there is a high likelihood that critical messaging may get lost. Create a clear, concise, unique message with a lot of wow factor. Use existing internal communication channels to generate buzz or build your own. This is also not the time for the budget “ask.” Let decision makers reflect and absorb the impact of the idea as buzz builds throughout the organization. Then it’s time to schedule targeted meetings with key leadership to go into the actual details -- preferably in advance of key budget, investment planning and annual operations discussions.
To influence and inspire, you need passion – a willingness to take measured risks and do things differently. The ability to quickly and effectively communicate ideas is important in every business and in every role. With technologies, businesses and decisions becoming more complex, spending time innovating around the way ideas are communicated is as important as the ongoing innovation that drives product development. Using these strategies at the start can lead to quicker success in the end.
Please share your stories of innovation with us in the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Curt Croley is Managing Director of Innovation & Design, Motorola Solutions, Inc.
Curt Croley is managing director of Innovation & Design at Motorola Solutions. He oversees a group of global designers, researchers and technologists who are responsible for indentifying future trends and bringing their visions to practice through highly-differentiated product designs for mission-critical communication solutions for enterprise and government customers. In his 15 years at Motorola, he has been issued 47 patents with 12 pending. Throughout his career, Curt has periodically captured his professional experience and leveraged these insights in educating hundreds of design students as an adjunct professor at several universities and design schools. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Design from Kent State University.
The ASIS 2013 conference, the premier security event of the year, was held in Chicago recently. Security professionals took the chance to get a closer look at our Real-Time Crime Center and data integration solutions in Motorola Solutions’ first time exhibiting at ASIS. If you were not able to tour ASIS this year, I thought I’d share with you some of the highlights from Motorola Solutions' presence at the show.
Jim Wolfinbarger, who recently joined Motorola Solutions after retiring as the Chief of Police for the Colorado State Patrol, and Kevin Hegarty, from Motorola’s media relations team, talk from the Motorola Solutions booth at ASIS about how our solutions can help customers do more with less while at the same time reducing crime: Live from ASIS 2013: Motorola Solutions Talks Security.
Jason Hutchens, a public safety engagement manager, brought up three key areas of interest about the Real-Time Crime Center solution during an ASIS "poster session."
How does the Real-Time Crime Center work? Tony Sereda, from the Real-Time Crime Center solutions team, and Joe Riquelme, a technical consultant, give a demo of Motorola’s Real-Time Crime Center solution at ASIS.
Oswaldo Ganoza, one of the Professional Services practice leads, talks about how technology can help retailers reduce loss prevention, and shows how advanced technologies for Retail, like RFID and fixed reader solutions, can work together with public safety technologies: Loss Prevention Solutions for Retailers.
This is an exciting time in public safety communications, as new capabilities become available to connect citizens and officers in the field with the right information at the right time. And the technology being developed for Retailers for loss prevention and inventory management continues to evolve rapidly, too. This is just a slice of some of the new offerings to help agencies and businesses respond more effectively.
Bethany Marks is a Solutions Marketing Manager for Motorola Solutions.