33,000 feet and no wires

by Brian Katz on August 14, 2012 · 1 comment

I’m winging my way back to Chicago for the 2nd time in less than 3 weeks. The last time I was there I spoke about mobility at BriForum. It was a lot of fun, but one of the main focuses of BriForum for the last few years has been on VDI. There were numerous times during the conference that people mentioned using VDI as a great way to enable BYOD (Bring your own device). It allows you to use any device but keeps your data and your apps in your corporate data center.

Now, let’s forget for a moment about the experience of using VDI on a phone or a tablet other than to say it only works for very short periods. Let’s instead focus on the major Achilles heel when using this technology, if you don’t have a network you can’t get your work done. The fact that there is no way to use data offline is a killer.

I prepared for my flight today, which is a vacation, by loading Dropbox on my new Nexus 7 tablet. Immediately after loaded it I went into Dropbox and favorite 3 videos so I would have something to watch while we were flying. You want to stay entertained when you are flying, especially when going to a soccer tournament with your 11-year-old daughter. Needless to say, unlike on my iPad, although the videos downloaded and appear to be stored locally, Dropbox refuses to allow me to watch them unless it can connect to the Dropbox mothership. The good news is this is my daughter’s first real plane trip so she isn’t that annoyed by it, but imagine if this was work I was trying to do. What would be my next step? United doesn’t offer wireless on its flights yet, so basically I would be screwed.

This isn’t very different from when your executives travel for your company. How many of you have checked into a hotel and connected to the WiFi (by the way, why is it that the cheaper the hotel the more chance that WiFi will be offered for free and the more expensive the hotel the likelihood you will pay through the nose for access)? How often does that service just suck, you can’t get your local sports scores and then you try to remote in and connect to your VDI instance. Even with just screen scraping technology it is mighty painful.

Let’s face it, if you are trying to enable your workers to get things done, you better plan on enabling offline access to the content that they need to work with or they will find a way to access the content themselves. As my friend Brian Madden likes to say, it’s another case of FUIT (you can work out the acronym for yourself or just substitute CoIT) , there goes your data onto some cloud service that they will use to do their work whenever they want to/need to. As for me – I’m going to sit back and enjoy my daughters’ awe and wonder at being on a plane for the first time.

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