iPhone 5 rumors demand an IT battle plan

Sept. 12, 2012 could go down as the biggest mobile device launch in history. How network professionals should evaluate the impact on the enterprise before the big day

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It may not be an iPhone. If it is, it may not be called the iPhone 5. And if it is the iPhone 5, it may not look anything like the sneak-peak pictures that have been circulating the Web. For IT managers and network administrators who have been trained to develop strategies and make decisions based on accurate data, the Apple launch announcement scheduled for Sept. 12 offers them next to nothing.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of opportunity to have a plan in place for the iPhone 5, whenever it launches. Not a plan to deploy or support them necessarily, but at least to react to the iPhone 5’s impact on the market, which will undoubtedly be huge. It may not seem like a huge priority amid the more business-oriented pressures IT departments face, but if it sets the standard for mobile computing, it’s worth thinking about how enterprise mobility expectations may change in a post-iPhone 5 era. Here are some ideas for network types to stay one step ahead of the Apple hype machine:

  • Become the in-house expert: A launch like the iPhone 5 is one of the few tech topics that can become genuine water-cooler conversation inside companies. Keep apprised of the rumours and be ready to offer your commentary on what would be useful and what would be a mere add-on from a business user’s perspective. This will provide a good way to start identifying who the early adopters will be and what needs they have which the IT department should support, whether it means allowing iPhones on the network or not. This is where your bring-your-own-device program (BYOD) begins.
  • Build in Apple as an option: If you’re thinking about rolling out IP telephony and SIP trunking as a way to cut costs and provide better service, explore technologies like Cisco Mobile, which can turn an iPhone into a full-featured IP phone. Having the pros in cons of such a move in your strategy will be a great way of adapting to changes in what the company may want over time.
  • Let the launch be a network test: If anything is going to cause a spike in traffic, it’s iPhone 5 news. Although Apple may not live-stream the event, that doesn’t mean tons of news sites won’t have video reporting. Sept 12 falls on a weekday (Wednesday) and will likely happen in the early afternoon EST, so there will be tons of opportunity for employees to drain bandwidth and, thereby, collaboration systems as they tune in for the latest news. This could be the kind of example that helps drive the business case around WAN optimization, or cloud computing services that offer a means of scaling up for an more unexpected peak.
  • Scope out security holes: Whether or not the iPhone 5 includes the rumored fingerprint recognition feature, IT departments need a more over-arching set of policies and procedures to guard against potential data breaches. Think about the kind of big data applications that may end up being used on an endpoint device like an iPhone, and what you’ll have to do to protect your organization.

The best part of the advice above is that even if the iPhone 5 doesn’t launch on Sept. 12, IT managers and network administrators who follow it will create more flexible and inclusive support plans, will be more prepared to take advantage of an optimized IP network and spend less time worried about lost data. That’s got to be worth more than the cost of an iPhone 5.

While you’re waiting for the iPhone 5 truth to be told, keep up on The Six Technology Trends That Will Change Your Life according to Frost & Sullivan.

Photo: UBreakIFix/MacRumors

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