It’s always refreshing when a truly original story comes along in the WLAN world. Mist Systems isn’t quite brand new (I wrote about them for Network Computing back in 2016) but their approach is fresh enough to cause some good energy in the room when you do get the chance to hear a briefing from the company’s top dogs, and I recently got that chance again at Mobility Field Day 2.
Here’s the thing about Mist, now- today: if you’re not careful, their story can sound like another one of the many from network vendors where terms like AI and Machine Learning are bandied about like the Buzzword Flavors of the Month. But Mist was talking this language well ahead of the current curve. Where established vendors are largely painting their long-running gear up in a coating of hype and APIs, Mist is actually new magic built by data scientists and proven network visionaries. It’s heady, exciting stuff.
But can Mist make a legitimate go of it as new player in the Big Customer Kickball Game where most current potential customers have already chosen a side? Here, only time will tell as Mist’s marketing paradigm is put to the test. I can share my own opinions and gut reactions from the Mobility Field Day for you to consider, and welcome any dissenting opinions or comments:
In Mist’s Favor
- When Bob Friday and team tell the tech story behind Mist, it’s impressive and believable
- Mist is the real deal when it comes to Machine Learning, etc- where the message feels forced with other vendors
- Mist seems to have mastered the UI challenge (put lots of important stuff in front of the WLAN admin without making it feel like overload) with their cloud dashboard
- Mist uses no controllers (bug hotels) or user-upkept bloated NMS system
- They tell a great story on bug management and code quality
- The virtual BLE beacon thing is huge. As in freakin huge. And it can stand alone even if you don’t need Mist’s WiFi solution
- Nyansa-like analytics are compelling
- Long-time users of established systems are getting burned out in spots on license overkill, huge costs- creating potential openings for a WLAN vendor change
- Mist is late to the overall WLAN party, so is up against established players
- The lack of switches and security appliances can be problematic in some RFPs, and when looked at through
bullshit lenseslenses like Gartners Magic Quadrant
- We’re still not hearing enough about “unnamed Fortune Blah Blah Blah customers” to really do our own independent verification of how Mist is working out in the real world
- Mist is just getting ready to ship outside APs later in 2017, and how that impacts their analytics (especially when outside/inside WLAN are managed in same pain of glass) remains to be seen
I really enjoyed what I saw and heard from Mist, and it’s obvious that the company’s leaders truly believe in their baby’s potential. And- you don’t just have to hear my opinion… form your own after watching the Mist MFD session here.