My Experience Being a Voyer!

Welcome to Voyers!

I had the amazing opportunity to attend the first ever Voyers conference in Nashville, TN last week put on by Nyansa.  (Note the spelling, voyers, NOT voyeurs.  Though that may have been an interesting conference also!)  For any who do not know what/who Nyansa is, they make a product called Voyance, hence the Voyers conference for the users of Voyance.  Voyance in a nut shell provides analytics to wireless environments that assist in making intelligent business decisions and prioritizing and troubleshooting issues.

I apparently have been saying it wrong this whole time.  Abe Ankumah (Founder and CEO) explained at the opening of the conference that Nyansa is a word from the Akan language out of Ghana.  It means wisdom from learning and is pronounced Knee-ann sah.

The Voyers conference gave us the chance to see a little behind the curtains view of the product as well as some peeking into what was coming, which admittedly got me pretty excited!  Unfortunately I can’t talk about the up and coming stuff as it is not public yet.  You never peek and tell.  Though they are doing some beta testing with customers, so if you are really curious let me know and we can look at getting you added to the beta testing, and then of course you get to see know the secrets.

This was my first chance to meet many of the Nyansa employees in person, and I was not disappointed.  The founders (Abe, Anand, and Dan) were all very nice and down to earth guys.  I was impressed at how eager and willing they were to sit and chat with anybody to discuss their product, or anything else for that matter.  They loved to hear feedback, whether it was good or bad, and were all very appreciative of their customers and partners.

During the conference we heard from Nyansa employees as well as many different customers from different verticals.  It was neat to see how Voyance was used and benefited the different industries like healthcare, higher ed, software and hardware manufacturers, and even ride-sharing companies.

Here are some of my highlights from the conference.

Anand Srinivas (Founder and CTO) spoke about what the actual benefits of analytics should be, namely, assisting in your workflow.  Whether that be making the workflow more efficient, or even highlighting a better workflow with the additional data you now have to work with.  I loved the focus on the value of the analytics.  He mentioned specifically that it is not just monitoring or more in depth graphs, but there needed to be added value from the data.  Paraphrasing his words, analytics should do 3 things:

  1. Efficiently answer complex questions (correlating data appropriately)
  2. Proactively recommend real action (based on experience/knowledge)
  3. Verify results and provide feedback

A couple of the customers that spoke (which I won’t publicly name) had some excellent input as well.   One presenter from a software company made the statement “Network performance impacts company culture.”  I thought that was very insightful and absolutely true.  The idea being that employees want to be able to get their crap done.  If the network is slow or down, that not only frustrates employees, but can drastically impact the mood of everyone and the credibility of the IT department.  Often employees will live with issues without telling anyone.  Products like Voyance give information needed to be proactive in addressing issues and allows IT to focus more on the actual business needs, and hopefully positively impacting the overall culture.

GT Hill of Nyansa showed an example of where Voyance caught interference in the 5 GHz spectrum.  I thought this was really interesting.  Part because Voyance doesn’t do any kind of spectrum analysis, but also because 5 GHz interference is pretty rare.  This was validated with on-site spectrum analysis. He also brought up the ability to determine when APs are not functioning, even when they are reporting as online (stupid bugs!).  And of course GT was entertaining as well.  You would expect nothing less. Though his slides were much more colorful then the traditional black/white plain slides seen at WLPC.

There was a presentation by a couple people from a healthcare company discussing how they used Voyance to validate the successful roll out of a new VoWLAN phone.  They could watch the baseline change based on adjustments made to the environment and see more than just traditional RSSI/SNR.  Troubleshooting was quicker to validate whether issues were actually wireless related or something else.  They identified packet drop issues from some clinical devices and were able to narrow down the root cause quickly. (Hint, it wasn’t the Wi-Fi)

Another item that was mentioned was the ability for organizations to intelligently decide when to refresh hardware or change designs based on real world data.  An organization could hold off on an AP upgrade for a year or two longer and still guarantee good user experience based on actual data.  Wireless design changes can be validated with before and after metrics that show increased performance.  These are huge benefits to strapped IT departments.

I really enjoyed the Voyers conference, and not just because the evenings were full of good music, good drinks, and good food.  The people there were great, Nyansa employees and other attendees alike.  I met a lot of new people and was able to catch up with some good friends.  I am excited to be a part of the Nyansa community.

–Scott

Disclaimer:  Nyansa did pay for my flight to attend the conference in exchange for honest and unbiased (public) feedback.