The New Normal

The new normal.  How many times have you heard that recently?  What is the new normal?  Are their changes in IT being implemented as a result of the Covid-19 virus?  What is changing in IT as a result of the demonstrations and riots in our society today?  These are all questions I have been asked recently by friends, customers and business associates.  This seems to be at the top of everyone’s conversations.

Just to be honest, I don’t like the phrase “the new normal”.  Nothing about this is normal. A recent article in Forbes discussed how CTO’s are navigating this new normal. Everything going on today is changing the world of IT.

Most of my recent conversations have focused around three areas:  Security, remote access and disaster recovery.  These three topics have come to the forefront of every conversation I have had lately.  This is nothing new, businesses have been talking about or using these for years.  But they have taken on a new urgency. People are more serious about getting something in place, now.



I am primarily talking about security as it relates to access security and physical security.  Using video analytics, many locations are more serious about tracking people.  A school may want to know who is coming and going using facial recognition.  Another instance is where a store wants the count of how many people occupy a store at any given time. People are more interested in understanding how video analytics can help their business.

There are many use cases for video analytics.  We have had conversations around using technology. Some uses include monitor social distancing and temperature tracking of employees and customers. A recent Harvard study estimates that social distancing restrictions are likely to remain in place long-term. “Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health have warned that, in the absence of a vaccine or an effective treatment of the coronavirus, social-distancing measures may be required through to 2022,” reported CNBC.

Another tactic is tracking who is in a school or casino or how many people are currently in a store, restaurant or casino.  There are so many possibilities and way too many to list here.


Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

Many of our customers are using virtual desktop capability to some extent. What has changed is remote desktop projects are getting funded and taking on a sense of urgency. Whether this is moving to a work from home model, remote learning or something else.  Many of our customers have had a project like this on the list. Now it is a top priority.  We are going to see many businesses and schools move to a remote access on a permanent basis.  This means a complete change in how they do business, how they connect, how they work on projects, everything.


Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery, including Ransomware recovery, has been on the list of every IT department projects.  Some companies are very good at DR and have made it a priority.  Others have it on the list of projects that never seem to get done.

Recently, we spent over a month working with a customer that got hit with Ransomware.  I have heard of larger customers spending many months, even up to a year trying to fully recover.  We spent additional time, working with the customer to put safe guards in place. We did this so if this does happen again, the recovery time is minimal.  This type of scenario is happening more often and needs to be addressed now. Before the unthinkable happens.

Contact Zunesis to for an assessment of the state of your infrastructure. Let us help you with this “new normal” and keep your business moving.

Impact on Adolescence

In the time of coronavirus, traditional hallmarks of the high school experience disappeared. No graduations for the Class of 2020. No proms and no sport activities to participate in or watch . Schools moved to remote learning.

Many teens I talked to feel robbed of memories they were supposed to make in these formative high school years.  Prom and graduation are integral parts of what makes all of the work pay off. Now, that’s been taken away.

Adolescence is the time when young people start to piece together who they are, or at least who they’ll be right now. Many of the pieces lost to the virus.  The effects of the pandemic have teens feeling angry, anxious and depressed.


Lockdown is limiting their identity

It’s hard enough being a teenager on a good day. But the conditions that accompany social distancing may exacerbate the painful parts of adolescence to the point of crisis. Adolescents typically have a heightened reactivity to stress. This is the result of hormonal fluctuations and changes in brain development.

All this change is overwhelming. The autonomy and independence that teens crave is next to impossible to achieve when most places, besides their own homes, are or have been off limits.

This period of isolation has caused social reorientation for teens. Typically, teens spend a sizable chunk of their days at school. They tune into their peers on whom they rely to form their own feelings and opinions. Now they’re tuning in (or out) to the adults with whom they live with.  Teens are considered digital natives and therefore are likely better at navigating virtual friendships. But, they’re still missing the vital, in-person benefits of relationships.


Traumatic events have a very specific effect on teens

Traumatic national events, while rare, can move teens in subtle ways and gradually erase their sense of self.

Most teens today weren’t born at the time of the 9/11 attack. But they’ve already lived through personal traumas and collective ones, notably gun violence in schools.

The emotional turbulence of teen life makes them more susceptible to depression and anxiety. The National Alliance on Mental Illness says 50% of mental illnesses develop by age 14 and 75% develop by age 24.

Although it’s far too early to measure the impact of the pandemic on teens in terms of their mental health and academic achievement, the effects could last a long time. Many teenagers could emerge from this time more resilient than they knew they could be.


How to Get Help for Depression in Adolescents

There are many effective treatments for depression such as psychological treatments. They include cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and medications, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibiters, also known as SSRIs. It may seem daunting to engage a new therapist or psychiatrist during this time. Many providers, including those at NYU Langone, have been able to adapt to the current climate by providing telemedicine appointments via video visits.


What Teens Need During a Pandemic

While teens hate being told what to do, this is likely one of those times when a little authoritative parenting is in order. The most compassionate thing we can offers teens is our insistence that they fulfill expectations and do things that are in their own best interest.

Dr. Katherine Williamson, a California pediatrician and media representative for the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends staying on a schedule to maintain a sense of normalcy, eating healthy and exercising regularly.

Communication with your teenager during this time is extremely important. Providing fact-based information about the virus will help you establish creditability and trust.

If your child asks if you are worried, be honest.  Validating their feelings and concerns will open up conversations that will help you be a supportive parent.


Growing reliance on the use of technology to learn, live, and stay connected

Beyond the emotional impact of the virus, it has impacted the way adolescents learn. Globally, over 1.2 billion children are out of the classroom.  There is a distinctive rise of e-learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms.

Even before COVID-19, there was already high growth and adoption in education technology or edtech. Global edtech investments reaching US$18.66 billion in 2019. The overall market for online education projected to reach $350 Billion by 2025. Whether it is language appsvirtual tutoringvideo conferencing tools, or online learning software, there has been a significant surge in usage since COVID-19.


technology used in education

Research suggests that online learning increases the retention of information. It takes less time. This means the changes coronavirus have caused might be here to stay.


What does this mean for the future of learning?

Some believe that the unplanned and rapid move to online learning – with no training, insufficient bandwidth, and little preparation – will result in a poor user experience that is unconducive to sustained growth. While others believe that a new hybrid model of education will emerge, with significant benefits.

“I believe that the integration of information technology in education will be further accelerated and that online education will eventually become an integral component of school education,“ says Wang Tao, Vice President of Tencent Cloud and Vice President of Tencent Education.

Students of all ages will need to adjust to this new world of learning. Not only during the pandemic but for years to come.


Zunesis  Can Help You Plan for The Future

Zunesis has partnered for many years with K-12 and higher education clients on many of their IT projects. We understand the needs of our education customers. We search for new innovative products and solutions to meet their needs. As edtech evolves in the this new world, we will continue to search for new ways to help. Contact Zunesis today to find out more.




HPE Discover 2020

Great news IT leaders and friends!  HPE is conducting their annual Discover conference virtually and the content looks really good.  Many of our clients are wrestling with decreased IT budgets and looking for ways to preserve capital and reduce costs.  Often, the very first budgetary line item to get the ax is IT training.  I remember clearly how IT training budgets saw reductions or eliminations in the wake of the credit crisis in 2008/2009.

Because HPE Discover is virtual this year, your IT team, managers and leaders can attend at no cost.  Our Zunesis VP of Engineering & Consulting recently commented to me after attending HPE’s Aspire conference remotely, “I never had to wait in line for breakfast. I never was late for a session. And, I always had a great seat.”  He found the virtual learning experience significantly better. He gained much more knowledge because of the efficiency of the delivery of the material.  Some of us still prefer being in the room and the energy that comes from live in-person presentations and engagement, but there are clearly big benefits to providing valuable content virtually.


Impressive Lineup

There is an impressive lineup of content, sessions, technical demonstrations, industry leaders and expert speakers.  The current agenda shows 50+ technical training and certification courses; 100+ industry leaders and expert speakers; and, 150+ LIVE and on-demand sessions and demonstrations – AND, none of the sessions are limited by seating capacity.  This also could be the most cost-effective way for members of your technical team to get a specific technical certification.  Certifications are available at dramatically reduced pricing. The event provides an economical way for members of your team to gain experience and validation of the technologies they need to know to properly manage the HPE technology in your environment.


There are three very interesting leadership & learning tracks that caught my attention:

  • The Business of Sports Panel – including Rick Wells, President & CEO of the Golden State Warriors and Steve Kerr – Head Coach
  • Performance Under Pressure Panel – how to perform when the stakes are high and the pressure is intense
  • Women Leaders in Technology Panel – 3 separate panels hosted by Soledad O’Brien – award-winning journalist, weekly syndicated political show Matter of Fact


Top of Mind Topics

You will also find major content tracks on “top of mind” topics including:

  • Business Continuity – this topic probably hits home now more than ever
  • Financial Flexibility – creative ways to get what you need or maintain what you have)
  • Hybrid Cloud – latest developments in hybrid IT operational technologies
  • Data & Applications – protection of data & applications and the evolving use of containers
  • Agile Workforce – approaches to making sure your workforce has the information they need, wherever they are
  • Digital Transformation – every organization is evolving, but how can we accelerate the things that matter
  • Accelerate Research – how are world-class research organizations using technology to speed up important research
  • Intelligent Edge – so much is happening at the edge of the network. Find out how IoT and edge computing are rapidly changing the way we think about provisioning and support IT.

We hope you can take advantage of this great opportunity to access valuable information and hear from leaders and experts.  If you need any help or support getting registered for HPE Discover, please reach out to us at Zunesis.  We would love to help.

It will take some time for things to get back to normal.  The term, new normal has been popularized but is not far from the truth.  The way we do business and approach activities of leisure will have to change for a while.  How can we maintain some semblance of normalcy while engaging in the activities we once enjoyed?  Activities like going to restaurants or the library have become seemingly dangerous propositions to undertake.

How can technology help to facilitate social distancing and encourage safer conditions for all of us? 

The tools already exist to change the way we do business and approach the world.  Technologies that would lessen the need for physical contact and allow for non-contact transactions are available. They are inside our cell phones and many of the wireless technologies currently deployed.  The issue lies in the adoption of these technologies.  We will explore a few technologies that can guide our return workplace.


Location based services – tracking social distancing

Inside every Aruba access point since the 3xx series, there are Bluetooth beacons. The beacons triangulate the position of people by tracking the location of their personal devices.  Some applications for this technology include way finding, location-based marketing and access control.

In the future, this technology would count the number of people in a specific place to understand if social distancing standards are being followed.   Aruba networks has a product called ALE or analytics and location engine that can be used to track and aggregate data about the location of each person within a building while using Aruba wireless access points.

ALE- aruba analytics and location engine


The graphic above is a generic topology for how the environment would look when leveraging the ALE.  Utilizing the components in the graphic, a company identifies where in the building people are. Also, it can track possible issue areas. Using this tool as a guide to rearrange offices or cubicles, it assists support in the distancing measures when people return to their workplaces.


Uses in Public Venues

aruba-ale-productsIn a public venue where the connectivity to the wireless networks cannot be relied upon, the system utilizes passive scanning of any devices that has WIFI or Bluetooth turned on. This enables one to accurately triangulate the position of this person.  Aruba describes this capability by saying that the system can; “Calculate location for associated and unassociated clients based on received signal-strength information or simply indicate the presence of a device in proximity to a specific AP.”

The ability to passively identify user devices is very important for a business to approximate the current occupancy of a space.   Locations for this device include restaurants, department stores or any other building where occupancy requirements may be a concern.

The accuracy of this system is directly dependent on the density of deployment of the access points or standalone Bluetooth beacons.  If more APs or beacons are deployed in a space, then the accuracy of the system is greatly improved.   It takes three access points or Bluetooth beacons to detect a device for accurate triangulation of a device to occur.


Distanced transactions with outdoor WIFI

Several businesses are trying to find a way to support retail transactions without the need for people to go inside the actual brick and mortar store.   In some cases, restaurants and other food service-based businesses would like the ability to process a credit card on their patio without the employee physically interacting with the payment method.

Outdoor wireless would provide a greatly appreciated internet service to their patrons. It facilitates the ability to have a battery powered WIFI point of sale tablet negotiate the transaction.  This would lessen the physical contact the patron and the employee would have in this setting.

With the newest Aruba 5xx series outdoor access points, a business could blanket their existing outdoor seating areas with secure wireless.  The ability to deliver secure wireless for the patrons and the company assets is invaluable. It further supports the initiative to reduce physical contact.

Additionally, by leveraging outdoor WIFI, a company could extend their current outdoor seating space. This helps to maximize their ability to generate revenue. The possibilities for using secure outdoor access are limitless.


Rethink How We Do Business

In this time of uncertainty, we need to continue to innovate and rethink the way we do business.  Giving up on interaction isn’t good for any of us.  We should continue to pursue ways to retool our businesses. Augment how we measure occupancy so that we can stay safe but productive.  My hope is that by leveraging technology we can find some semblance of normalcy again.

Contact Zunesis for more information on outdoor access points and other solutions to keep your business moving.






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