A few days ago I attended my first webinar hosted by iBwave that centralized around the need to adjust vocabulary and terminology when it comes to talking about Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi expert Alan Blake discussed the issues arising in the IT world as a result of the misinformed use of terminology, and provided some solutions moving forward when considering Wi-Fi installation.
As an English Major, sitting in on my first webinar about terminology and vocabulary was right up my alley– and I actually understood a lot of what Alan was talking about! The webinar, titled “Clarifying Wi-Fi Terminology (so we stop calling it a survey when it’s really a design)http://www.ibwave.com/Products/iBwaveWiFiSuite.aspx by iBwave” focused on the constant misuse of the word ‘survey’ over the word ‘design.’ Like any other field, the IT world has its own terms and vocabulary that require specialist expertise. When terms such as ‘survey’ and ‘design’ become so commonly exchanged, the information becomes extremely misleading. Each word carries connotations both inside and outside of the IT world, and when they are substituted for one another, those connotations carry into the way experts and customers interpret such words. For example, when I think of the word survey, I think of surveying an area’s conditions or conducting a survey for information. Alan suggests that when people say “a customer wants me to go do a survey,” they really mean, “the customer wants me to go complete a design.” Using the word ‘survey’ over ‘design’ completely changes the way customers and IT personnel understand what processes need to be complete during the installation of Wi-Fi. As ‘survey’ and ‘design’ are exchanged more and more, misconceptions develop about what each term really means, leading to the inaccuracy of terminology.
Is there any remedy for this problem? Alan suggests that there is a simple solution to keeping these terms independent and separate. Because the term ‘design’ is quite ambiguous, Alan proposes to use a four part process when dealing with potential clients who need Wi-Fi installation. The first step is to assess the environment and conduct a survey to evaluate the area. The second step is design, which uses measurements and observations noted in the assessment to build a qualified design that meets the requirements of the environment and fits the purpose of the client’s needs. The third step is to install the design, followed by the fourth and final step of validation, in which designers and engineers ensure that the design has met the customer’s objectives and networks are assessed for quality.
By breaking down the entire execution of Wi-Fi installation, ‘survey’ and ‘design’ are no longer an interchanged term, but distinctly independent of one another. Small changes such as monitoring the words we use to avoid misconceptions make all the difference when executing a design and conveying information to customers. Once communication is clear between the provider and customer, it leaves a lot more room for providers to focus on your Wi-Fi’s clear and reliable signal, and not the misinterpretations of terminology!
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