It seems like every conversation we have lately about IT issues comes back to one common issue : connectivity. It affects every aspect our IT lives, and is growing into the biggest issue we face in personal and business technology.
At my house, there are several laptops and only one wireless printer. We have a wireless router that supplies internet to the DVRs, the ability to stream content on a Blu-ray player, and internet to the various iPods, iPads, and laptops in the house. If that network goes down, it affects most of the technology in the house. From the simplest game on a child’s iPod to the ability to access work remotely via laptop, and from TV and radio to paying the bills, it seems like everything stops working. When I think of the millions of electronic devices we all depend on for entertainment, navigation, information, and communication it is absolutely mind blowing.
While many of the personal conveniences of networked devices we take for granted are not really crucial to our daily survival, much of the functionality they provide at work is mission critical to the business. In the past there might have been separate systems for internet and phone, but VOIP has merged those together. The ability to talk to customers, process orders, ship boxes, and send invoices are in many ways tied directly to the stability of our internet connection. The increased influence of hosted applications “in the cloud” bring this into even tighter focus. Disaster preparedness is as much about what happens to the internet connection as what happens to the physical facility, and small business IT decisions are becoming less about which hardware will most efficiently manage the applications, licenses, and data, and more about how to quickly and securely access them. Connectivity will definitely continue to grow as an influence over our business decisions.