Keith Johnson and I just finished wrapping up the 2014 Ruckus Big Dogs Conference two weeks ago, and it was a doozy. Some of you might remember last year’s conference in sunny Miami. Ruckus Wireless came through again this year with another dynamite location: Las Vegas. This was our second conference to attend, and it did not disappoint.
The venue was great, we learned a ton about Ruckus’ latest wireless technologies and we came back ready to hit the ground running for our clients. Ruckus continues to show us how a conference should be put on and how a wireless company should continue to innovate.
Viva Las Vegas!
This was actually my first time in Las Vegas. Everything about this place is awesome. The hotel we stayed in, which was also the conference venue, was the Encore Hotel. My room was easily one of the nicest hotel rooms in which I’ve stayed. The hotel also featured some cool displays, like a giant hot air balloon made completely of flower petals.
Above: The balloon made of flower petals.
We also went to some other hip Vegas places to check out the nightlife. One of these was a cool nightclub called Surrender where one of the conference after-parties went down. Ruckus had Lil’ Jon headlining one night and closed with an Elvis impersonator on the last night.
Ideen Jahanshahi even came down to Vegas after the VeeamON conference to hang out. We tried sneaking him into one of the after-parties, but with no success. Apparently, you needed a name badge. Oh well, you can’t win every gamble in Vegas! At any rate, all of it was a blast and very much what you would expect from a city like Las Vegas.
The Conference Itself
Right. I almost forgot that we came to Vegas for work not just play. The conference itself certainly didn’t feel like work. Ruckus may not throw a conference the size of a technology giant like Dell, but they sure know how to throw a conference right. From day one, there were all sorts of engaging sessions, presentations and activities. Wednesday consisted of all Ruckus presentations. We got a look into how Ruckus is doing in the marketplace (Spoiler Alert: They’re doing great) as well as a peek at some new Ruckus technology.
Above: Gathering for a Ruckus presentation.
So, what’s new in the world of Ruckus? Well, they talked about quite a few new products, but the ones that stood out were cloud-managed WiFi infrastructure and SPoT technology. They also talked up their support for BeamFlex technology some more.
Cloud-managed WiFi was a big recurring theme among all of Ruckus’ sessions. In a nutshell, this technology allows IT staff to make configurations to all of their wireless access points via the cloud. That means no physical configuration. This is pretty huge for enterprises with multiple access points. Of course, cloud-managed WiFi could be beneficial to everyone, regardless of business size. It’s a great example of the direction WiFi is heading. Things are getting easier and easier.
SPoT technology was a really interesting new development from Ruckus. In essence, it allows businesses to gain valuable information and usage statistics surrounding their wireless networks. Using SPoT technology, businesses can see exactly where, when and how people are accessing their WiFi. Let’s use a mall as an example.
A mall that offers WiFi likely has multiple access points spread throughout the facility. We know that users will be accessing this WiFi across the mall, but what if we wanted to pinpoint EXACTLY where they were accessing it the most. If we could figure that out, we could find out what stores they’re near when they access WiFi and provide them with relevant e-coupons. That’s just one example. The point is that SPoT technology will allow businesses to make better decisions concerning their wireless infrastructure.
Ruckus has been offering BeamFlex technology for a while now, but they really articulated its usefulness in extending their equipment’s capabilities. For those of you who don’t know, BeamFlex maximizes signal coverage and network capacity through Adaptive Antenna Technology. This technology learns the unique wireless patterns of your networks and adjusts antennae to fit those patterns in an optimal way. In layman’s terms, this technology pays attention to how people use WiFi and optimizes itself based on those patterns. Crazy, right?
Several different breakout sessions were sprinkled throughout the conference. Unfortunately, it would’ve been pretty tough to attend them all. We decided to attend the sessions that were most relevant to the types of services we offer at InterWorks. Here are the sessions we attended.
- Building a Managed Service Infrastructure – Greg Kramer, Ruckus Wireless
- Deep Dive Product Roadmap – David Stiff, Ruckus Wireless
- E-Rate 101: What You Need to Know – Erik Heinrich, San Francisco Unified School District
- Best Practices – Marcus Burton, Ruckus Wireless
Each of these had their own appeal, but I thought the most interesting one was the E-Rate 101 session. This session outlined the government’s E-rate program for public education. This program is a giant fund which schools can tap into to pay for technological improvements. All schools have to do is apply, and the program will pay around 80% of the cost. In this program, they’ve approved $2 billion for wireless improvements alone. Erik Heinrich educated us on the program and how schools can make the most of it.
This was especially interesting for us because a lot of our clients are local school districts. If they knew about this program and how to make the most of it, they could get their hands on some seriously updated technology for next to nothing. It’s a win for everyone.
Above: Keith (right) snapped a quick photo of us during one of the sessions.
Given all the new developments that Ruckus showed us during the conference, we’ll have quite a bit to share with our clients. Going to events like these helps us to stay connected and up to date with all the latest wireless trends. In turn, we get to pass that knowledge and new technology along to our clients. That means that they can rest easy knowing they’re getting the very best and latest in wireless technology from Ruckus.
Want to learn how enterprise wireless solutions from Ruckus and InterWorks can help your business operate more effectively? Contact us today!