According to Research In Motion, there is a simple reason it's partnering with Microsoft on Windows Mobile 6 devices: to make its BlackBerry application available to more people and provide enterprises with more choices.
Analysts agree that the move by RIM to release software that will turn mobile devices operating on Windows Mobile 6 into "virtual" BlackBerry devices will extend the reach of its BlackBerry applications. They suspect it will also increase market longevity and revenue. "Virtualizing the BlackBerry experience on top of Microsoft's mobile OS and other vendors' hardware should enable RIM to grow the highest portion of its business," states an analysis of RIM's announcement by Washington, D.C.-based research firm Current Analysis.
RIM officials, however, say the company is hoping the decision to make its BlackBerry application more widely available will help enterprises become more mobile. "People are expecting more of their wireless devices," said David Heit, director of product management at RIM. "We want to provide a long-term mobility platform that people can utilize."
While in use, the BlackBerry software will appear as an icon on the screen of the Windows Mobile 6 device. Clicking the icon opens and loads BlackBerry applications, which feature a user interface similar to a BlackBerry smartphone. The existing Windows Mobile 6 applications running on the device are saved, allowing users to switch between the Windows Mobile 6 and BlackBerry applications.
The software suite - to be released later this year - also runs BlackBerry "push" technology and will support the BlackBerry Mobile Data System, which allows enterprises to develop their own BlackBerry applications or deploy third-party BlackBerry applications that can run on Windows Mobile 6 devices and BlackBerry smartphones.
In the News
CONVERGED ACCESS has partnered with LTI DATACOMM to distribute its wide-area network (WAN) optimization solutions to the federal government. The move will provide government agencies with solutions that deliver IP application assurances with optimized WAN bandwidth.
Municipalities now have a new way to bring broadband services to residents and field staff. ACCELA and NORTEL have teamed up on the Municipal Wireless Solution, a suite of wireless network technologies, applications and services. It will enable municipalities to more efficiently conduct and report on such tasks as inspections, code enforcement, work orders and service requests.
Field service crews can soon say goodbye to the mounds of paperwork that come with filling work orders, invoices and schedules. CORRIGO and UNICEL have agreed to market Field Force Automation solutions to prospective customers. Unicel will market Corrigo's Work Order Connect, Work Force Connect and Field Service Connect solutions.
JOHNSON CONTROLS has signed a joint sales and marketing agreement with PANGO NETWORKS. The agreement is expected to provide location-enabled asset tracking for healthcare and other facilities.
Equipment maker POLYCOM is close to completing the $220 million acquisition of SPECTRALINK. The deal gives Polycom a complete wireless IP phone product set and strengthens its ties with such IP PBX system makers as Avaya, Cisco and Nortel.
Concierge services have gone digital. HANDMARK has integrated a mobile personal assistant service called MOBILECIERGE with its Pocket Express product. MobileCierge provides users with immediate access to personal, travel, medical and emergency help 24/7 anywhere in the world.
Telecommunications provider CEDARCOM has deployed a mobile broadband wireless access network called MOBI in Lebanon and the Middle East. The network uses iBurst technology from Japanese high-tech manufacturer KYOCERA. MOBI gives users access to a high-speed wireless network that features browsing, email and streaming video.
HOUGHTON COLLEGE is deploying a VoIP phone system on campus. The Woburn, Mass., school is replacing its Nortel PBX with PINGTEL's SIPxchange ECS system. College officials say the switch will provide faculty, staff and students with better voice quality, improved scalability and optional system redundancy.
Brazilian mobile communications provider TELEMIG
CELULAR is using a monitoring solution from RADCOM to measure the quality of services offered on its network. Telemig deployed the Omni-Q system to monitor the quality of 2.5GPRS cellular service and SS7 signaling. The Omni-Q system is a single-platform monitoring solution that helps network operators improve service quality, monitor traffic and gather statistics that help service providers pinpoint problem areas.
The WISCONSIN STATE PATROL is testing a channel controller from ETHERSTACK. The Raytheon JPS Communications Project 25 channel controller converts analog radio channels to P25 digital channels. The channel controller was installed in Fond du Lac, Wis., in mid-December; since then, the Wisconsin State Patrol has connected three analog base stations to the unit for upgrading.
Auto industry supplier DOFASCO TUBULAR PRODUCTS is using an advanced planning and scheduling (APS) solution from QUINTIQ to improve production at its five plants. Dofasco hopes the Quintiq solution will help to reduce inventories, maximize material usage, increase cost visibility and improve delivery performance as well as workforce efficiency.
ALCATEL-LUCENT is conducting a WiMAX pilot in the North Sea. The nine-month pilot is being conducted on behalf of OLF, the Norwegian Oil Industry Association, to determine whether WiMAX technology will improve offshore data communications. OLF wants to enhance the communication between platforms and moving vessels in all kinds of weather conditions.
ERICSSON has acquired REDBACK NETWORKS for $2.1 billion. The acquisition gives Ericsson a more aggressive Internet-video strategy and will ideally provide telecommunications carriers with better services for Internet broadband subscribers.
INFOLOGIX has acquired the healthcare mobility services and RFID business of AMTSYSTEMS, including the technology solutions that are currently used in more than 400 hospitals internationally. The acquisition strengthens InfoLogix's position in the hospital RFID marketplace, which is predicted to reach $8.8 billion by 2010, according to industry analysts.
AVENTAIL has won praises from FORRESTER RESEARCH for its SSL VPN solution. A Forrester report said Aventail's solution provides "the best manageability, the strongest solution for mobile devices and the best out-of-box solution." The report, which evaluated leading SSL VPN appliance vendors across 57 criteria, also praised Aventail for its long-term strategy.
Cell phones with push-to-talk capabilities are finally making their way to the Last Frontier. KODIAK NETWORKS says CELLULAR ONE is offering its push-to-talk service to Cellular One customers in all the areas it serves in Alaska, including the company's namesake, Kodiak Island.
The MASSACHUSETTS NETWORK COMMUNICATIONS COUNCIL bestowed two honors on STARENT NETWORKS. The infrastructure solutions provider was named Private Company of the Year, and CEO Ashraf Dahod captured CEO of the Year honors for the second consecutive year.
Best In Class Wins
AberdeenGroup Research recently completed an enterprise-focused study and consequent report titled Benchmarking the Enterprise Road Warrior.
The report (available as a free download at Aberdeen.com) compared the performance of mobile workers in best-in-class (BIC) organizations (those whose performance is in the top 20 percent) against "all others" - the lesser-performing 80 percent. Philippe Winthrop, Aberdeen's research director of wireless and mobility, discussed his findings with us. (For more details, see page 34.)
We found that BIC organizations were able to have significantly higher productivity with their road warriors as compared to all others. And in fact the [effectiveness of] BIC organizations was 77 percent. That's in stark contrast to all other organizations, which had about 57 percent workforce productivity.
ME: So, everyone is deploying mobile technology, but only the BIC organizations are seeing the big results.
PW: Exactly. It's not about just adding mobile technologies to an organization and saying, "Voila, you're done." It's a cultural mindset, and really understanding that mobility has to become a pervasive mindset within the organization. It's not just about handing people a BlackBerry, or a Windows Mobile device or a laptop.
ME: What in your findings most surprised you?
PW: Most surprising was that there was far less discrepancy in terms of the adoption of the technology. All other companies, in fact, had very similar levels of deployment. Laptops with built-in cellular data were actually being used more in all other organizations than in BIC. But the BIC are far more methodical in their choices of what they're deploying and to whom.
ME: So how can an organization become best-in-class?
PW: The report has a number of recommendations. But it's really about taking a step back and centralizing your mobility strategy, and making sure that you have the backend infrastructure - not just from a technology perspective but from a human capital perspective. Make sure that there are dedicated individuals in the IT department who understand the unique challenges of a mobile road warrior.
- Michelle Maisto
Partners & Customers
"The proof is in the pudding," says Jim Hemmer, CEO of Antenna Software. When the largest U.S. carrier is signing up to be both your partner and your customer, it's a pretty compelling remark on your offering.
The offering in this case is the Antenna Mobility Platform (AMP), which AT&T is rolling out to its 1,500-strong sales force this summer. The carrier's decision to deploy the solution, says Hemmer, speaks to the quality of the technology and the credibility Antenna has established over the years, working with AT&T to jointly create mobility solutions for customers such as Pitney Bowes, DirecTV and Xerox. "It's the beginning of a major trend," says Hemmer. "Carriers are realizing their point of influence and are making partnerships that are world class."
Antenna's other big news is AMP Studio, a new open-standards development environment for enterprises, independent developers and carriers. "The developer community needs an open platform, and we believe we have not just the first one but the best one," says Hemmer. AT&T will be using AMP Studio to create and deploy a mobile version of its Siebel CRM solution to salesforce reps on BlackBerry, Palm and Pocket PC devices. Antenna and AT&T will also use AMP Studio to design applications that AT&T will sell to its business customers.
"With AMP Studio, we're putting the power of the platform into the martketplace," says Hemmer. "Now anyone can use AMP as their development platform to mobilize their entire business."
To further encourage enterprise CRM adoption, Antenna and AT&T are planning a roadshow. Dates are yet to be announced, but the shows will include seminars on best practices and the types of results that can be expected from AMP applications.
- Michelle Maisto
To Remember: Passport. Encryption License.
Millions of personal records have been compromised due to unprotected data on laptops that have been lost or stolen. As a result of these unfortunate events, many organizations require that their laptops be protected by encrypting the hard drives contained therein. Today, this reaction appears to be an easy decision.
Prior to 1996, however, such a decision would have had vast implications on an organization's mobile workforce that was U.S. based and global in reach.
It wasn't until the Clinton administration's tenure that products containing encryption features were no longer classified as prohibited dual-use munitions from an export-control perspective. Although the United States has removed many restrictions on the export of encryption products, not all countries have the same view.
If you already use products that contain encryption capabilities (such as VPN clients, Web browsers and hard drive encryption solutions) and your organization has an international presence, compliance to internal import and export controls is required. Most product developers that utilize cryptographic algorithms take the initiative to gain import and export approval from the governing bodies in many countries. Simply request a copy of the license or letter of approval from the product developer as needed. If you're utilizing a product with cryptographic features and approval has not already been applied for and granted, the onus to gain import and export clearance is on your organization.
Although the international Wassenaar Arrangement is in place to ease the burden of importing and exporting cryptographic-enabled products, not all countries participate. The Crypto Law Survey provides import and export control requirements listed by country and includes contact information for each country's cryptographic governing body. In the United States, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) in the Department of Commerce is tasked with administering such controls.
I am not a lawyer, and nor did I sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so please consult your legal counsel about the impacts of import and export control laws in countries where you conduct business.