If 2010 was the year that saw mobile computing transformed by the arrival of new products such as the Apple iPad, then 2011 should be the year that we finally start to see the impact these devices have in the mobile computing enterprise.
For the hype in 2010, the tablet PC has been largely a consumer phenomenon. Of course, these devices, especially the Apple iPad, have caught on with the "Digerati" within the IT industry. But the fact remains that most corporations are still warming up to the idea of the tablet.
Naturally, once the holidays are over, we'll probably see a lot more business folks carrying around iPads and Samsung Galaxy Tab systems that they received as gifts from their loved one. And once the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is over next month, we'll see just how diverse the tablet PC landscape will really be in 2011.
What all this boils down to from the perspective of the IT department is that there will be more pressure than ever to upgrade the internal wireless network, especially now that carriers are moving to push as much traffic onto corporate networks as they reasonably can.
According to Chris Kozup, Cisco director of mobility solutions, IT organizations should probably expect to be optimizing their wireless networks for tablet PCs and smartphones in 2011, especially if they have yet to upgrade to an 802.11n wireless network. Most notably, Kozup says IT organizations in 2011 will see a new generation of tablets, such as a new iteration of the Cisco Cius, that are optimized for enterprise-class wireless networks.
But while 802.11n solves a lot of bandwidth issues, Kozup says that IT organizations need to pay attention to radio interference issues while keeping an eye on how peer-to-peer Wi-Fi Direct connections might play a role in how people use next-generation mobile computing devices.