4G networks to accelerate cloud working – Citrix UK and Ireland boss

8 Jun 2011

The continuing consumerisation of IT and the move to cloud-based, flexible working will be accelerated when 4G communications networks like long term evolution (LTE) arrive, the UK, Ireland and South Africa area vice-president for Citrix James Stevenson told Siliconrepublic.com.

Stevenson, who will be in Ireland in the coming weeks to address the Virtual Computing Forum on 22 June in Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse, explained that technology change and social change are happening in tandem.

“People are looking for more flexibility in the way they work, how they work and what time they work. It’s no good sitting in traffic jams in Dublin. Why not delay an hour and work at home and then head into the office. Make better use of your time and come in later.

“We are seeing technology and social trends coming together at the same time. Technology is purely an enabler, the thing people see is the devices themselves.

“Since we’ve seen the arrival of the iPad and the iPhone – it seems every week there’s a new smartphone or tablet computer – this is enabling massive change in how people view their working lives.

“This year, smartphones are tipped to outsell PCs. People see these new technologies as key enablers that allow them to work where they want to and use their time effectively. Our Citrix Receiver technology enables people to use desktops wherever they want to or need to via their tablet or smartphone,” Stevenson said.

Stevenson argues that when fourth-generation mobile technologies arrive – enabling theoretical broadband speeds of beyond 50Mbps and up to 100Mbps over wide areas – the world of work as we know it will be changed forever.

“Even 3G, while it’s not bad but is still quite limited bandwidth really, has shown us what’s possible. But we all know that Wi-Fi is much better.

“But when we start to see the 4G speeds come on stream, the consumerisation of IT and cloud working trend will accelerate mainly because coverage and speed will be that much better and you will work from where you want to work.”

Consumers and the cloud

I put it to Stevenson that with revolutions like Apple’s iCloud service and competing efforts by Amazon and Google, consumers are likely to have embraced cloud computing long before mainstream businesses have embraced it completely.

“I think we’re already there. Consumers don’t worry so much about security as businesses do. I think there’s a very different perspective. I recently started downloading an album on iTunes at Heathrow Airport. I got called to my flight and when I arrived at my hotel in Johannesburg and connected to Wi-Fi my album continued downloading.

“Now that to me is a cloud service in a sense, because it didn’t care where I was.

“Consumers have been using the cloud for a long time in various ways.

“Because businesses worry so much more about security they are going to take baby steps and work out how to secure their data when everything moves to the cloud.”

Stevenson said Citrix is focused on making the cloud experience both fast and safe.

“We’re trying to enable people by moving the processing to the cloud and keeping their data secure in the data centre. Users only need to move their data into the cloud for processing and back out again. Their data is never resident in the cloud. Our belief is enterprises will move slowly to the cloud relative to consumers,” Stevenson said.

Citrix’s James Stevenson (pictured above) will be presenting at the Virtual Computing Forum on 22 June in the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years