I admit it. I watch a lot of TV between my premium cable and Netflix subscriptions. Over the past year, something has struck me. TV is no longer about watching. It’s all about #watching. And #commenting. I decided to do a little experiment this past week. In the midst of my weekly Four Weddings binge (No shame. I love that show.), I counted the number of times a hashtag popped up on-screen, both during the program and in commercials. I lost count after 25.
Dan Myers was right – we’re no longer interested in passively watching from our couch and the fact that there is an organization dedicated entirely to cataloging and monitoring our hashtags is indicative of just how ubiquitous the “#” is. This is, as we predicted, the age of Social TV. Everyone sharing, all the time.
Cultural anthropologists and marketing strategists have written tome after tome about how this is transforming the relationship between the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd screens and the viewer. And, for me, this is very compelling stuff. But, if you’re a network engineer or an IT manager, the excitement may be lost on you as you’re trying to keep your business network up and running day-to-day. So, why should you care that I’m watching the evening news and Tweeting about today’s hot topics? Here are three reasons:
- BYOD and Security – In fact, it’s more than just BYOD. Chances are, I have a healthy mix of personal and business related applications on my device, company-issued or not. And, if you’re responsible for the safe flow of your company’s proprietary data, you need to understand how users are engaging with that data on- and off-the-clock. Every time KBs are transferred to or from my device, I open myself (and potentially my organization) to risk.
- Traffic Jams – When the UK game show Take Me Out hits the air, it regular gets over 1 million mentions during its timeslot, as viewers react to what they’re seeing on TV. Similar things happen during Arab Idol in the Middle East and SpongeBob Squarepants here in the U.S. That data can mean very heavy network traffic and, if you’re in New York, trying to access important information from New Delhi while Diya Aur Baati Hum is airing, that may pose a challenge.
- Data (and a whole lot of it) – Once we’ve solved for any potential bottlenecks on the network, the next challenge is where to store all the information moving back and forth, so that we can get to it when we need it, regardless of our physical location. In particular, if your organization is directly and regularly impacted by the Social TV trend, you will want to be able to catalog, store and analyze the valuable data being generated by all your Facebook fans and Twitter devotees; that analysis can help you make critical business decisions moving forward. Determining where to safely store this important data is a key piece of the puzzle.
No matter what industry you’re in, your company is likely being touched by this growing trend in one way or another. For many organizations, especially those needing the scale and footprint necessary to transfer massive amounts of data worldwide or those needing to ensure their proprietary data is safe, finding a network provider that can partner with you in building and maintaining a reliable Internet connection, and having the expertise to solve for problems before they materialize, is the key to success.