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New technologies can give businesses a competitive edge

In addition to networking and mobility, three additional technologies have an impact on businesses: security, RFID and voice/data convergence.

Security

Corporate and public data need to be secured against theft and alteration in addition to remaining available for use. As we extend access beyond the walls of the business, we open up the possibility of intrusion and malevolence.

Network security today has matured and offers the ability to interrogate each device entering the network for current anti-virus and security software before allowing access to the corporate network. If neither is installed or up-to-date, then the device can be restricted to Internet access only. A visitor to the office can also access the network but be restricted to the Internet and selected company resources based upon an access code. When addressed as part of the overall network design, today's networks can be very secure.

RFID

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology is growing at a rapid rate. With major retailers driving the use, they are also driving the need for networking this data.

RFID is an identification technology much like the UPC barcode on any product you buy today. RFID chips can be wafer thin and inserted into labels, box cartons or pasted on a document. The information can then be scanned up to 20 feet away. There are many industry-specific applications, from retail to medical to manufacturing. The devices that read this information are connected to a wired or wireless network and can help track these items throughout a connected world.

Voice and VoIP

Convergence is a topic discussed when planning any new network or upgrading an existing network today. Building a single infrastructure and using it for data, voice and video not only saves money, but can assist in making users more productive.

While early cost savings were found in reduced long distance costs, most cost savings today occur in cabling costs, user moves and system management. Major productivity enhancement comes from the applications that are easier to implement and manage in a converged network. These applications include contact centers where there isn't a "center." The network becomes the core, which can extend the applications to anywhere a user can connect.

The use of voice recognition has also increased with convergence. Voice recognition technology is now available for any size business to handle basic inquiries and to gather information prior to passing the call to an operator or agent.

Also, phones are more intelligent in a converged network. Most are connected directly to the network and, internally, are more like a computer than a phone. Some users prefer software phones where their computer is also their phone. Many productivity-enhancing applications can be accessed from these phones. Schools may use phones to track attendance or visitors. Retail may use the phone for price checks. Financial firms can track the stock market on the phone LCD screen.

Looking forward

Networking technology has evolved substantially since the introduction of large computers of the 1960s and '70s, the IBM PC in 1981 and the router in 1984.

Today we have an increasing number of standards making it easier for data to be communicated. Whether technology is used on the Internet or internally, it can give a business a competitive edge when selected and implemented methodically.

Valcros Communications focuses on planning, designing and implementing networking technology for business. If you would like further information on any networking technology, we would welcome your questions and the opportunity to assist. We can be reached at mmunger@valcros.com or at our office at (858) 689-6899. In addition, Valcros is hosting a networking solutions demonstration event on Nov. 16. For more information, call or visit us at www.valcros.com.


Submitted by Mark Munger, CEO of Valcros Communications Inc.

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