Traditionally, in the building and abroad, companies that mean business, as in suits, ties and quarterly audits, have always relied on mobile telecoms to provide network services for employee smartphones, normally by way of a business bulk plan with significant discounts over the consumer equivalent. This strategy has worked well for quite some time and is largely responsible, in fact, for the surge in popularity of early smartphones that ultimately led to the iPhone pioneering the idea of the smartphone as a common consumer’s item rather than a specialized tool of business. Managed WiFi services have attempted to shake this model up for some time now, but have been largely unsuccessful; networks were too cumbersome and software too hard to manage to integrate on a large enough scale to cover the whole business, especially with consideration to guests and clients wanting to use it as well.
Comcast is looking to change all that with a new managed WiFi product called WiFi Pro. This new offering will practically administrate itself, supposedly. A simple web app will allow network admins to set up things like user groups, access control, blackout times and session limits by group or individual user. The new solution would also allow control of things like device priority, network load management, bandwidth allocation and separate networks for guests or separate departments. The icing on the cake? The app also allows an administrator to create a customized splash screen that can be anything from a presentation about the company to a traditional login screen. The splash screen will, of course, be the first thing a given group, most likely customers in most scenarios, will see upon logging in.
This move, if successful, would effectively eliminate the need for telecom services inside the office. The new product is more flexible and controllable, as well as easier to deploy and in most cases, also cheaper than traditional telecom services. It remains to be seen if the new product can live up to the hype, let alone shake up a market full of businesses that are stuck in their ways and married to telecoms and more traditional managed WiFi services, but Comcast has boldly stated it’s looking to make an impression on the Fortune 1000 sector with this new product.