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Europe Trip 2010: Day 4 Lyon – Ease of Use Combined with Security

As I checked out of my hotel in Paris, I had finally figured out how to use my high-tech, multi-functional room key. When I checked in, I was given a room card key with some writing on it that I did not pay attention to until I got to the door of my room and could not find anywhere to insert the card. After struggling for a minute, I finally looked at the card which had the words “wave at the door” written in multiple languages.  So I checked nobody was in the corridor and feeling very silly, I waved at the door with my left hand. Nothing happened.  I tried waving with my right hand and several variations of wave including the “Queen of England” wave which is quite slow and deliberate.

Then it dawned on me that I was supposed to wave the room key card at the door. This, of course, worked and a green light lit up and I was able to open the door. The room was pitch black inside and so I fumbled around for a light switch but to no avail.  However I did see a red glow on the wall on the right which was a square plate about the size of a regular light switch. I tried waving my room key at it but nothing happened. I felt around the plate and discovered it had a slot on top. I put my room key in the slot (I know, a stroke of genius especially after waving at the door with my hand!) and all the lights came on.

Anyway, I had to laugh to myself as I left the hotel to take the train to Lyon at my first encounter with a wave room key. When I arrived at the train station, I had to validate my ticket by placing it in a machine which recorded and stamped it – no human ticket collectors.

I left the train in Lyon and headed straight for my appointment with a partner where I was treated to a demonstration (over lunch of course) of the newest version of 360View Plus. This is the neat security management tool for BusinessObjects XI that allows you to view and manage user and object security access. The tool has this really cool security matrix grid that allows you to modify access rights with a single click on the relevant cell. It can also produce these fantastic reports in Excel that show different security access for users and objects that are really useful for auditing purposes. Anyway, the product has new drag and drop features making it even easier to manage security settings as well as the ability to automatically schedule the security audit reports.

Although in most BusinessObjects environments a small number of people tend to manage security, it is still important to make the task easy and intuitive. 360View Plus allows that and, in addition, makes it just as easy for Help Desk staff to have the ability to reset access so that key BusinessObjects administrators do not have to be involved with these tasks. Best of all 360View Plus provides the capability to manage multiple BO instances (CMS’s) from a single interface enabling remote security management of different sites as well as comparing security rights between environments.

As I returned to the station to take a train to Grenoble, I needed to buy a ticket. I just walked up to a machine with a touch screen and selected my preferences and paid by credit card on the spot. Since the train I was taking left in 10 minutes, the machine pre-validated my ticket prior to issuing it and once again, I boarded without any human intervention.

The need for automated simple user interfaces combined with solid security is a clear differentiator in today’s fast moving world. France certainly appears to be one of the innovators here.

Of course, it may take a little time for us non-French to catch on but you will not see me waving at a door in a hotel ever again!

About Paul

Paul Grill started his career in Information Technology in the U.K. in 1978, as an Executive Data Processing Trainee for Honeywell. More than thirty years later, he still has a voracious appetite for learning as Information Technology continues to advance at an ever accelerating pace. He was first introduced to the world of Business Intelligence in 1991, in France, when he saw a demonstration of an early version of BusinessObjects on Windows 2.1. He returned to the U.S. to rave about this phenomenal product, but it was many years before BusinessObjects made it into the mainstream. Paul founded InfoSol in 1997, and made Business Intelligence one of the key solutions offered by the company. Today, InfoSol is a leading SAP BusinessObjects solutions partner, known for its expert consulting, education and innovative add-on solutions. Paul is well known within the SAP BusinessObjects community for his extensive knowledge of Business Intelligence, and he has lectured and written many articles on the subject. Paul enjoys writing, running and coaching kids soccer, and is passionate about Ancient Egyptology.

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