Hungry For Secure Wireless – and Pizza!

November 8, 2012

by Mike Zozaya, Nexus Practice Manager, Security/Mobility/Infrastructure

My favorite restaurant makes great pizza, but I think they could use injection of wireless technology.  The entire process just isn’t very efficient, and that inefficiency often results in frustration for both customers and staff – and reduced profits for the owners.  Here’s what happened last Friday night:

  • Our server showed up at the table and took our order by writing it on a piece of paper.
  • The server took the piece of paper and waited in line with other servers to enter the order into the proprietary point of sale system.
  • The server must have made an entry error because instead of putting onions on our pizza, the kitchen staff added olives.
  • The server picked up our order and brought it to the table, but as noted above, the pizza didn’t have the correct topping.
  • So, our pizza went back to the kitchen (and became a loss), and a new one was prepared.
  • Meanwhile, we sat at the table waiting.
  • When the new pizza arrived, we were HUNGRY, and it vanished in a flash.   It was time for our check.
  • The server again waited in line at the point of sale machine to print out our check, then brought it to the table and left to take care of other customers.
  • I placed my credit card on the tray with the bill and waited for the server to return.
  • The server returned and picked up the check, then waited in line at the point of sale terminal AGAIN to process my credit card.
  • Finally, the server returned to our table with my credit card and my receipt.

Wouldn’t it have been easier if:

  • The server used a smartphone or tablet to enter orders wirelessly.
  • A secure, cloud-based application automatically sent the order to the kitchen and the restaurant manager and, at the same time, removed the ingredients from inventory.
  • The server picked up the order (which was correct because the server also owns a smartphone or tablet and is very comfortable using mobile apps) and delivered it to the table before customers were so hungry that they were ready to consume almost anything.
  • When it was time for the check, the customer had the option of viewing the check on the server’s device or requesting a print out of the check from a portable printer.
  • The server processed credit and debit cards at the table using a card reader attached to the smartphone or tablet.
  • Receipts could be sent to a customer email address or again printed at a local portable printer.

Using a secure wireless solution, my favorite restaurant would be able to:

  • Assign more tables per server
  • Serve more customers at peak times
  • Reduce waste due to errors
  • Track inventory in real time
  • Make their customers happier

Bottom line, my restaurant would make more money and I’d probably go there more often because I knew that I’d get great food, fast.

Because I can’t live without the good pizza my restaurant serves, there’s a good chance that I’ll be back at my favorite spot in the very near future.  But I’ll be dreaming about a place where the pizza is great and secure wireless technologies make the service fast, the orders accurate and the restaurant so profitable that they become an international chain.


Work is What You Do, Not Where You Are

April 20, 2011

Borderless OfficeI was talking to the publisher at a major media outlet a few days ago about ideas related to “The Modern Office.” Ironically, the first thing that came to mind for me was that the “the modern office” doesn’t necessarily include an actual office anymore. With borderless networks and secure wireless access, more employees than ever are working remotely.

In “Wanted: Business Mobility Strategies” (Channel Partners, Apr 2011) there’s an interesting discussion about the growing need for IT to support devices of all types – personal or company-issued. But a complete strategy needs to take into account not just hardware and anytime, anywhere access, but also the business rules and policies to support genuine mobility.

Security should be a primary consideration factor in designing a wireless strategy. What devices are allowed to connect to the network? Should roaming or hotspot access be allowed? To what degree are device features allowed and which, if any, must be disabled? Obviously, data security plays a key role in establishing these procedures and policies.

According to the Cisco Connected Technology World Report, three out of five workers around the world believe that they do not need to be in the office anymore to be productive. In fact, their desire to be mobile and flexible in accessing corporate information is so strong that the same percentage of workers would choose jobs that were lower-paying but had leniency in accessing information outside of the office over higher salaried jobs that lacked flexibility.

The same Cisco study showed that two-thirds of employees surveyed (66 percent) expect IT to allow them to use any device – personal or company-issued – to access corporate networks, applications, and information anywhere, at any time. For employees who can access corporate networks, applications, and information outside of the office, nearly half of the respondents (45 percent) admitted working between two to three extra hours a day, and a quarter were putting in four hours or more.

With potential productivity increases in that range, it’s clear that companies need to consider and develop a mobility strategy sooner than later.


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