Today, Sprint Nextel announced Dan Hesse would be filling the role of CEO, a position vacated in October by Gary Forsee. Hesse, coming most recently from Sprint MVNO Embarq – one of only two carriers in the US to offer Dual-Mode calling over WiFi – may prove to be a strategically minded, advanced-technology maven with the telecoms experience that can bring some much needed success in enterprise and consumer business to Sprint Hesse will face three major challenges, his success on all of which Sprint’s success ultimately rests:
Cisco is at an interesting crossroads. It’s approaching a $40B run rate, which it has achieved mostly through hardware sales. In fact, we recently did a full analysis of Cisco’s business and its current position looks rock solid (see our Q3 analysis here). But how many $40B+ vendors out there sell mostly hardware? None. Cisco has shed its primary network-only bias and is on the way to becoming more of an overall IT vendor, but the competition is stiff. Companies like HP, IBM, and Microsoft have strong software and services revenue streams — as well as a significantly more mindshare with the CIO. As Cisco moves “up the stack” to compete with these IT juggernauts it will inevitably change its business model. I anticipate 2008 will be a turning point for Cisco as it:
Today, it was announced Ed Zander, CEO of Motorola, is stepping down from the top job, giving way to new leadership from Gregory Brown. Brown, whose pedigree includes time at Micro Muse, now part of IBM's Tivoli family of network management tools, brings enterprise networking background to the top spot at Moto. Why is this important? As the Enterprise Mobility is one of the areas in Moto showing the strongest growth (as evidenced by last quarter's $600M jump in an $8B/year business) among divisions at Moto, it will be imperative to have at the helm someone that understands the nature and fundamental importance of an enterprise networking business to a large network equipment player; Moto may find this in Brown.
What does it mean for customers? Expect to see tighter integration across multiple network infrastructure platforms from Moto. That Symbol 802.11 gear you own? Expect to see the new leadership at Motorola lead the charge toward a cohesive approach to make it play nice with Wi4 gear. This leadership change may point Motorola in the right direction to take on Ubiquitous Mobility.
On October 23rd, Cisco announced its
acquisition of Richardson, TX based Navini Networks, a manufacturer of
WiMax access hardware for $330M. Where does Navini fit into Cisco’s suite of
access and network technologies? It’s a step closer to taking on a more
fully-fleshed out Ubiquitous Mobility story, something Forrester was expecting,
if not urging Cisco to embark upon in recent
research. Cisco will not, of course, stake its infrastructure business on
Navini technology out of the gate. In the short term, Navini and its WiMax
holdings will allow Cisco to take on competitors in emerging markets such as
Huawei, making use of WiMax to services constituencies previously outside Cisco’s
core market for networking gear due to a dearth of WAN connectivity. Longer-term,
I full expect to see Cisco take on more traditional (developed) markets with WiMax-enabled
local access networking gear, competing with expected product developments from Motorola and Nortel.
Trapeze Networks, the Pleasanton, CA based WLAN infrastructure vendor and well-known OEM partner of Nortel is currently rumored to be exploring a sale to a larger infrastructure vendor or related technology company. Rumors being what they are, this is completely unconfirmed information but it begs an interesting question. Could Trapeze, as an acquisition, be Nortel's move into making its own 802.11 gear? Would the acquisition of Trapeze alter its perception as a strategic vendor of WLAN infrastructure in the eyes of IT buyers? How would such a move in the market change your perceptions of the vendor, for better or worse?
At any rate, a company could stand to acquire worse technology, based on Trapeze's performance in our most recent WLAN Wave report.
Today, Dell officially released the
details of its first service offering under the IT
Simplification initiative: on-demand
desktop streaming. How does it work? Through a bundle of Dell hardware (its
now diskless OptiPlex 745 and 755 desktops, PowerEdge 2900 NAS storage,
PowerEdge 2950 server, and PowerConnect Gigabit Ethernet switch) and Citrix’s
Desktop Server software. The biggest opportunity for Dell however is the
services behind it, specifically with helping companies assess, design, and
deploy this alternative computing model.
UK-based infrastructure vendor Moovera Networks recently announced the availability of its Moovbox F Series Fixed Broadband Gateway device. What's the what on this seemingly commodity Wi-Fi mesh device? It's able to make use of carrier networks for backhaul, taking advantage of 3G UMTS/HSPA, TD-CDMA, HC-SDMA and WiMAX 802.16e technologies to pass off data from local 802.11 clients.
Currently marketed as "[i]deal for municipal Wi-Fi hotzones, temporary hotspots, and public saftey [sic] applications" I see no reason why businesses with a large number of remote offices, disparate locations or a need for temporary network access (BC/DR anyone?) could not find a use for this.
This is a product that exemplifies the multi-network future and illustrates how lines will blur between "internal" and "public" networks. Are you listening Cisco, Motorola and Nortel?
I've recently been talking a lot about ubiquitous mobility, that future-state when folks in an organization are all wireless, all the time. We're not there yet, but I regularly urge enterprise IT managers to think about this future state and consider how soon they want to reach it when making strategic investment decisions.
It turns out there is some public data to point to a more ecological push for enabling mobility in the enterprise. The Texas Transportation Institute recently released a study examining the benefits of mobile employees over those that commute to an office. At peak congestion times, workers traveling to an office expend "an extra 38 hours of travel time and consume an additional 26 gallons of fuel, amounting to a cost of $710 per traveler." Numbers to put the cost of investing in a WLAN refresh, even one based on 802.11n, in clearer focus.
Cisco's acquisition of spectrum analysis vendor Cognio this week signifies the vendor's move beyond infrastructure provision in the WLAN space and shows Cisco taking an interest in improving the performance of dense wireless environments.
This move is likely to support its increased focus on wireless applications over wireless hardware as evidenced by its location-based-services pitches earlier this year. Also interesting in the fact that the Cognio solution will likely let Cisco take on a management role of more types of wireless technology, perhaps a harbinger of more wireless offerings outside of the 802.11 space in the near future?
This week Cisco announced - in an oddly timed unveiling - its 802.11n-based infrastructure offerings. The heart of the announcement, the Cisco Aironet® 1250 Series access points, based on draft 2.0 of the 802.11n standard, mark the vendor's maiden voyage into the next iteration of WLAN infrastructure. Colubris Networks, Meru Networks, and Trapeze Networks have all announced product based on draft 2.0 prior to Cisco, however, the networking giant's move into .11n is likely to push IT budget owners' and decision makers' interest in technology based on the standard into higher gear.
Ben Gibson of Cisco makes some salient points on the Cisco Mobile Visions blog about the move to .11n, calling out the "not-an-ap-only-decision" facts that have received too few mentions to date. I'll be exploring some of the questions and answers around moving to 802.11n in an upcoming Q/A document to be published later this month.