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It's just so easy!

It's easy!

I’ve been seeing these words more frequently in marketing materials throughout the industry and it lights a rage inside me previously unknown. Don’t get me wrong, I’m OK with things being easy, mostly because at our core, I think humans are lazy creatures. Anything that makes my life easier is well worth a look, but that’s not what marketing is saying.


Let’s pick on Ekahau, but they are merely an example. I’m sure I could pick on your preferred vendor of choice because they all do it, whether it’s a fabric solution, an SD-whatever, a management platform, it’s all just easy.


Usually, I’ve got lots of praise for Ekahau, and still continue to love them and am a frequent user of all of their products, but the ARkit enabled surveys (autopilot) have piqued my anger. The press releases and the marketing surrounding this feature talk about how easy it is, how it requires up to 79% fewer clicks (fewer clicks than what?) and reduces survey costs by 50%.


In reality, I love the autopilot feature. For those not in the know, It uses the Apple ARKit features in IOS and iPadOS to track your position while you survey, placing you on the map without the need for lots of clicking to tell you where you are. It’s great, I get more data with fewer clicks, and it’s a fantastic tool for those who know what they are doing.


The problem comes with the “location correction,” You telling the software “Hey, you got it wrong, I’m over here.” There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but when you update your location, the entire path from your current location to your previous “location correction” is updated. When this happens, chaos ensues.


Babies start crying, sirens go off, I think a pretty aggressive virus started around the same time as the feature release, but that could just be a coincidence. That path can push your previously accurate path through walls, can send previously accurate walking paths to other side of the hallways. This is only a problem if you are using the feature like the “easy button” that it’s being sold as. If you are using the feature as an enhancement to continuous survey it is absolutely fantastic.


If you are clicking at landmarks, or at doorways you shrink the “correction domain” of the path update. The only thing that slightly changes is the previous room, instead of the previous 7 rooms. You’re still clicking less, you can still dodge, dip and dive into offices and nooks and crannies, but you have to know what you’re doing.


I’ve yet to see anything in the networking world that made anything idiot-proof, and remember that we’re all just a little bit of an idiot. If you know what you’re doing, know why you are doing it, and take advantage of these enhancements that make your life easier as you go along in your career, you’ll be a pretty happy camper.


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