An experience is a personal and emotional event we remember. Every experience is established based upon pre-determined expectations we conceive and create in our minds. It’s personal, and therefore, remains a moving and evolving target in every scenario. When our experience concludes and the moment has passed, the outcome remains in our memory.
The network plays a critical role in establishing a consistent and high quality user experience. The network must provide more than basic connectivity; it must transform to become a strategic business asset. Similar to a television, radio or telephone, we expect technology to just work and deliver a great experience. For instance, if the network or technology does not allow us to share our experience socially, we are left with a negative perception; the expectation for what constitutes a great experience is different for each person. It is up to IT to keep up and deliver excellent experiences.
The Mobile and Application Economies
A few years ago, we were in the midst of an exploding Mobile Economy. Consumerization of IT drove a new wave of devices into our hands and into our hearts. At that time, IT was challenged to provision and control company-owned devices within the managed network.
The Mobile Economy quickly escalated into bring your own device (BYOD) where user demand forced IT to accept a more complicated form of user and device provisioning. Centralized management systems and network access control (NAC) evolved to control these devices in the workplace while mobile device management (MDM) systems were born to provide control of these devices when away from the company-managed network.
The growth in the Mobile Economy has continued. Per IDC, in 2013, about one billion new smartphones were sold, outpacing the number of feature phones sold for the first time in history. This trend is only expected to continue. As BYOD and device provisioning matured, a new inflection point was established based on adoption, i.e., the Application Economy was born. With 102 billion application downloads in 2013 per Gartner, today’s Application Economy allows users to do almost anything while sharing and collaborating via various social networks. Ultimately we want to share our experiences wherever we go, and this is driven by our mobility and the applications running on our devices.
The combination of the Mobile and Application Economies, driven by the mega-trends of Cloud, Mobile and Social, became a greater challenge for IT as most lacked the tools at the application layer (layer 7) to effectively monitor, prioritize or control data traffic. As a result of these challenges ExtremeAnalytics was born to provide visibility and troubleshooting for application-aware networks.
When you boil it down, people do not care about the infrastructure or how it’s managed. They want an experience that is based upon a Simple, Fast and Smart network. They seek a simple login process to gain network access. They care about a smart ecosystem supporting their devices/applications as they roam throughout the connected world without manual intervention. And, most importantly, they care about fast – fast access to applications, fast attachment to the network, and, of course, superfast data transfer rates.
The Experience Economy
In today’s Experience Economy, networks must provide a great user experience meeting each individual’s personal expectation. Users do not care about what happens behind the scenes to make everything work; in fact, users don’t even consider it until something breaks.
People living in today’s Experience Economy care about simply connecting to a video, where the network is smart enough to remember who they are without a lot of hassle connecting, and then providing a blisteringly fast connection so that there is no interruption to the video stream. Think about what makes you happy when connecting with your own device and then think about what makes you really upset when things are hard, complicated, and slow. If the user has a bad experience in any one of these areas (simple, fast, and smart), they are likely to leave, share their negative experience, and potentially never return.
This is true in almost every aspect of life: Fans in a stadium, guests in a hotel, patrons in a coffee shop, students in an education environment, or patients in a healthcare environment. In every case, there is direct and immediate repercussions to the organization that fails to deliver the best possible user experience (loss of consumer loyalty, revenue, or productivity). It is those organizations who provide a simple, fast and smart network that will be able to capitalize on today’s Experience Economy and offer a lasting impression for their end-users.
We build networks to deliver on today’s Experience Economy. Extreme Networks combines high performance wired and wireless hardware with a software-defined architecture that makes it simple, fast and smart for the user to connect with their device of choice. We provide a comprehensive portfolio, including Campus Mobility and Data Center solutions, which allow our customers to deliver a positive and consistent experience to each and every user in their environment.