“Can you hear me now?”…don’t let your network be the cause of this.
“I can’t hear you, could you speak louder?” “I can’t follow, are you still on slide 2?” Sounds familiar, right? Unfortunately, most of us have experienced these short comings with unified communications, or even cellular calling today.
In the era of the digital workplace, the GenMobile workforce expects to get their jobs done anywhere, anytime, on any device. Organizations are now adjusting their workplace employees to attract top talent and boost productivity. Cornell University reports 33 percent less attrition when companies allow their workforce to work wherever they are.
Now with all of these challenges, you might wonder if it is even possible to deliver reliable mobile UC. We have many Aruba customers who have achieved this by leveraging our solutions that are designed for the requirements of the mobile-first digital workplace. As an example, to better serve its customers, deliver improved mobility and collaboration to employees, and reduce IT costs, American Fidelity Assurance deployed an Aruba all-wireless network, along with Aruba Mobile UC solution for Skype for Business to eliminate all of its wired desk phones as they transitioned from a legacy PBX.
The company quickly recognized the need to provide a highly mobile environment to meet the needs of its GenMobile workers of all ages. “We’re always looking to improve productivity and efficiency,” said Ken Henderson, assistant vice president, technical infrastructure for American Fidelity Assurance. “With the new headquarters, we realized that the new facility provided a perfect opportunity to build a network infrastructure from the ground up that could support the mobility and collaboration our firm needed to realize new levels of productivity.”
Unified communications (UC) is one of the tools the company uses to provide GenMobile workers with more effective ways to engage and collaborate, and it drives productivity, too. It’s no wonder that the UC market is projected to reach $96 billion by 2030, according to Global Market Insights.
But let’s be honest. Quality matters.
If I’m on a call on Skype for Business with a senior exec or an important customer, and I can’t hear them, I would instantly switch to something else. And there goes all the investment my company made in the UC initiative. Not to mention that moving forward, I probably won’t want to set up meetings using Skype for Business unless I’m at the office. Or, even more inconvenient and costly, I might decide to meet face to face.
Getting a good user experience from Skype for Business is of paramount importance. But unfortunately, getting that good user experience is not that easy.
Growing demand on the network—are you ready?
The upsurge of mobile device usage puts a big demand on the network. In addition to the increased traffic from mobile devices and cloud applications, there’s also a lot more video traffic—and it’s growing rapidly. In fact, 79 percent of all network traffic will be video by 2018, according to Invodo.
As you know, video is extremely bandwidth-hungry, putting even more pressure on the network. I carry two or three devices at work, and I know some folks who have four mobile devices. Do you think your network is ready to provide the same speed and connectivity for all these devices and all these applications—not to mention all that video? Actually, according to Gartner, 80 percent of enterprise Wi-Fi networks were not designed for mobile users.
Growing demand for mobile UC—are you ready?
IDC estimates that 61 percent of enterprises will upgrade to UC in the next three years. With momentum like that, it’s no wonder that Gartner found that 89 percent of executives cite application performance as their top concern in UC adoption.
Skype for Business has five different applications. Do you think you’ll be able to prioritize each one of those traffic types? Should voice get higher priority over video?
Even though UC increases productivity, it creates challenges for the IT admins. I boiled down the challenges into three categories:
- Client devices - There are a variety of different client devices out there running on different operating systems, different driver versions, even different capabilities like 802.11a or b or g or n (as well as 11ac). Not all these devices are created equal, and just one poorly behaving client can bring down the performance of the whole network.
- Wireless network – There are common challenges associated with RF, channel capacity, incorrect QoS markings, AP placement, and capacity.
- Wired network – The diversity of operating systems, incorrect QoS markings, and other factors can be issues on the wired network.
How to deliver reliable mobile UC…
To address these challenges, we need to look at how we enhance user experience for Skype from different angles. The right tool might be one important piece of the puzzle, while the presence of a robust network infrastructure is crucial for UC components such as video conferencing, document-based collaboration, phone service, and so on. A way to monitor and do a health check analysis is another aspect to consider.
To get a truly good user experience with Skype for Business, we need to have a comprehensive solution to optimize the wireless, prioritize the Skype for Business application—for both wired and wireless—as well as a mechanism/tool to offer deep visibility and monitoring to call quality.
Make sure to check out my next blog where I will cover our Mobile UC solution for Skype for Business to enhance user experience. If you are coming to Discover 2016 LV, please drop by our booth and check out my session, "Transform your business and move into your digital workplace; cut the cord on voice over IP," on Tuesday, June 7 at 11:30am to learn more about Aruba’s GenMobile solution for Skype for Business.