Location Based Services Not Just for Consumers – Location as an IT Service Desk Enabler

At Interop this week I sat in a keynote where a Cisco executive explained how their location based technologies are enabling the MGM Grand resort in Las Vegas to have deeply contextualized and personalized interactions with guests in the resort. That got me thinking about location within an enterprise and, coincidentally I had a chat with Chris Dancy, blogger, raconteur and now BMC employee about the very subject. I’ve previously written a post about BMC’s MyIT product (disclosure – I recently wrote a whitepaper supported by BMC about the the organization of the future and its impact on IT). MyIT is a cross platform, cross device service that delivers all the users across an organization a personalized portfolio of products alongside support offerings. It’s the way an enterprise can give its users an app store, with the requisite checks, controls and auditing that IT demands.

So what does MyIT have to do with location anyway? And why is that of even mild interest to people thinking about how their organization will function into the future?

Well if you look at the video of MyIT in action that an analyst from Ovum created (embedded at the bottom) you’ll see that much of the value in the product lies in the fact that the application is inherently location aware. It’s no use going to a service portal looking for, say, the nearest printer, if the application has no awareness of where the user is. Similarly it’s a drain on productivity having to manually inform the application of your location. Dancy explained to me that there’s a few core pieces of IP that BMC holds around the smarts within MyIT:

  • Protection around a location aware service catalog – covering not only location but network and device details etc
  • Visualizations of IT assets including their state (say for example a map showing that a printer around the corner is down)
  • The ability to check in assets via QR codes or NFC tags

Now I’m not going to make a comment on the use of patents when it comes to software – that’s a discussion for another day. Indeed, and somewhat coincidentally, the country I live in, New Zealand, recently decided that software would be specifically excluded from patentable items. But what is interesting here is whether or not location is going to be a critical part of service desk management – looking at the video below it would seem to be the case. That being so it will be interesting to see how other companies in the service desk space respond and innovate what they do.

The bottom line here is employee enablement – few people would disagree that IT service is too slow and reactive – the addition of location based services on top of established IT service platform is a valuable development. And hey, if it means my printer can become the mayor of my home office, in the same way that I can be mayor of a café on foursquare, well that’s OK too.