Alltel Hearts the Enterprise
Alltel Wireless, America's largest wireless network (by coverage area, that is; by subscriber base it ranks fifth) wants to more thoroughly embrace the enterprise market, and it has launched two new Web sites to better make these intentions known.
The first site,
alltelsolutions.com, is where a customer who's likely already in touch with an Alltel sales representative can become better acquainted with the carrier's mobile solution offerings, its partners and its partner solutions. (When they're ready to order, it would be through the rep.) Easy to navigate, the site is broken down by industry-specific solutions (14 are listed, from agriculture to utilities); cross-industry solutions (also known as "horizontal" areas, such as security, managed services and field service automation); and devices and operating systems (such as Windows Mobile, BlackBerry and Palm).
"Alltel is building a suite of solutions around field force automation and playing into vertical segmentations," said Joseph Johnson, Alltel's staff manager of product marketing and enterprise data products. "We're also excited to be bringing innovative solutions to market."
The second site,
alltelpartner.com, is for Alltel's Partner Program, which fosters the development of business-improving mobile solutions by connecting developers with platform, device and marketing resources, as well as virtual labs. "We're not re-inventing the wheel," says Johnson. "I come from an engineering background, where there's an excitement to share information and keep the process moving forward. It's all open source." Developers can ask questions, get guidance and make sure the programs they're developing are on track with Alltel customer needs.
The offerings on both sites have actually been available for some time now; it's the arrival of the sites and the enteprise-focused impetus behind them that's news.
"[We developed these sites] to engage the enterprise consumer more, but also to give them more choice and control over the services they need and want," says Johnson.
AT&T Finds Its Way to GPS
AT&T has made a major foray into the enterprise location-based services market through a hosted services deal with TeleNav for GPS-based services. The move is significant for AT&T, as it has been behind competitors Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless, which are both CDMA operators and opted early on to adopt GPS as the technology for E-911 tracking. GSM operator AT&T, formerly Cingular Wireless, chose a triangulation-based technology but is now deploying a GPS solution, as the technology has become standardized for GSM services.
AT&T is selling TeleNav Track service, an enterprise-grade application for businesses that includes features such as location tracking, mileage tracking, wireless time sheets, alerts and detailed location-reporting to capture field data. A premium version includes wireless forms, dispatching, barcode-scanning support and voice and on-screen turn-by-turn directions. The service is initially available on the BlackBerry 8800 and the HP iPAQ hw6920 Mobile Communicator. Customers with the BlackBerry 8800 can also couple TeleNav Track with AT&T's Push to Talk service.
TeleNav also scored a deal with Sprint Nextel, as the carrier added a host of GPS-enabled navigation services to its Power Vision Ultimate Pack and Business Pack, both of which are offered at $25. Sprint Nextel also launched a $20 monthly Navigation Pack, which includes the location-based services as well as unlimited Web browsing and data access, picture mail, email and multimedia services.
The TeleNav-powered services include voice-guided turn-by-turn driving directions, moving 3-D maps, local search, traffic alerts and a feature that locates the least expensive gas nearby. Subscribers on some other packages can purchase the offerings for $3 for a 24-hour period.
From Browsing to Zooming
Mobile browsing is about to undergo a radical transformation. Instead of walled gardens and dumbed-down text-only sites, new technologies promise to deliver the real Web experience to mobile phones and PDAs.
Steve Jobs wowed Macworld attendees in January with his preview of the iPhone, which revolutionizes mobile browsing by presenting Web pages in their original desktop layout. You zoom in on the part of the page you want to see by pinching it with two fingers and it is enlarged to fill the screen.
In March, Microsoft Live Labs announced a new technology, Deepfish, that does the same thing (instead of pinching, you use a magnify box controlled by your phone's directional pad or pointer). Not only do pages look exactly as they do on the desktop, they load faster because only required portions are loaded. ZenZui, a startup with roots in Microsoft's research labs, presents the Web as zoomable user- created tiles that can be shared amongst users, adding a social networking aspect to mobile browsing. ZenZui constantly refreshes these tiles in the background in order to speed page loading over wireless networks. These consumer-oriented innovations raise the bar for the enterprise, as users will come to expect the same intuitive experience with enterprise Web services. Right now, available tiles are limited to those provided by the company, but ZenZui is promising to deliver an API that enterprise developers could use to build a dashboard of approved sites both inside and outside of the firewall.
Who Needs Security, Anyway?
My career at the Lockheed Martin Corporation has provided me with broad exposure to information technology and information security. One of my focus areas within the company is to evaluate emerging areas of information technology and determine if the use of such devices, protocols, services, etc., would expose Lockheed Martin's sensitive information to undue risk of compromise. Unfortunately, few technologies appropriately address security by default from an enterprise perspective, especially at the early lifecycle stages, and must be dealt with by end users and their respective organizations.
No doubt you have experienced, or at least heard about, the first generation of the IEEE 802.11 wireless local area network (WLAN) security known as Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP). WEP was not designed to be an enterprise-class security solution for WLANs. However, with no other built-in security mechanism, organizations were left to determine how to use WLAN technology to expand mobility and enhance productivity in a secure manner.
The most common solution at the time was to utilize an already proven technology, Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) virtual private network (VPN) solutions, which were being used by remote workers. The use of IPSec VPNs was to compensate for the widely researched and reported vulnerabilities in WEP. Subsequent releases of WLAN security mechanisms include WiFi Protected Access (WPA) and 802.11i (or WPA2), which addressed the initial security flaws of the firstgeneration IEEE 802.11 WLANs.
The previous high-level look at security evolution in the context of 802.11-based WLANs is one of many examples of a new technological advancement being deployed with less than stellar security attributes. Now think about the latest mobile device you purchased. Does it protect your data from exposure if lost or stolen? Is your answer based on your own assessment or what the marketing literature states?
Like the field of information security itself, determining appropriate controls is both a science and an art driven by business requirements. //
In the News
KODIAK NETWORKS has signed a global licensing agreement with RESEARCH IN MOTION (RIM) to introduce a series of integrated mobile applications, including push-to-talk on BlackBerry handsets.
PANDORA NETWORKS and D-LINK are teaming up to sell hardware and hosted communications platforms to small and medium-size businesses. The companies have agreed to jointly sell D-Link hardware with Pandora's hosted communications solutions for SMBs. The agreement allows businesses to buy service bundles that deliver a hosted IP PBX and unified communications applications.
POINTSEC products are headed for the Far East. Through an extended partnership with HITACHISOFT, the Pointsec for Pocket PC encryption tool is going to be distributed in the Japanese market under the brand name HibunAE MobilePhone Encryption.
CORRIGO has expanded its on-demand service management solutions with the acquisition
of ALIGO, a mobile field service and service management solutions provider. The deal enables Corrigo to offer customers on-demand field service management applications through major wireless carriers.
VORMETRIC has entered into an OEM agreement with SYMANTEC to incorporate its encryption technology into Symantec's Veritas NetBackup solution for enterprise-level data backup and recovery. The agreement follows Symantec's launch of its Veritas NetBackup Media Server Encryption Option (MSEO), which uses Vormetric technology to perform data encryption on the enterprise media server.
PROCERA NETWORKS is joining forces with SKYPILOT to develop traffic management and service management tools for wireless mesh networks.
The partners will jointly develop ways for network operators to collect detailed bandwidth and individual usage statistics in order to more effectively
control and shape traffic.
SAVI NETWORKS is helping improve security at Europe's largest port. SaviTrak, the company's real-time, RFID-tracking system, has been deployed at the PORT OF ROTTERDAM. SaviTrak is in place in at least a half-dozen ports worldwide, including the Port of Busan, South Korea; Los Angeles; Jacksonville, Fla.; Newport News, Va. and Oakland, Calif.
Crime fighting in Nebraska's capital city has gone high-tech. The LINCOLN POLICE Department is using CITRIX's Web-based conferencing service GoToMeeting.com to track and identify confiscated weapons and crime suspects. The service enables officers at headquarters, substations and narcotics units to simultaneously look at images on a 50-inch plasma screen.
CANON VIRGINIA has streamlined its order-to-delivery process by implementing an enterprise mobility solution from CLEARORBIT. The Gemini Mobile Software solution automates the mobile data collection in Canon's warehouse and distribution centers. ClearOrbit says its solution has helped Canon improve operational efficiency by 40 percent and helped eliminate data synchronization problems.
The TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION is beefing up security at the nation's airports with the deployment of an iWire system from TELKONET. The system utilizes electrical wiring in airport buildings to speed up network communications between field workers and TSA headquarters. Authorities hope to eventually expand the project to cover passenger screening systems, cameras and passport scanners.
Congratulations are in order for COLUMBITECH. The wireless security vendor recently announced that more than 10,000 retail stores throughout the nation have deployed its software to protect customer data. Those retailers have loaded the software onto more than 1 million wireless devices such as printers, scanners and POS terminals to safeguard customer records.
Japanese cable operator KATCH NETWORKS has chosen ARRIS to deploy KDDI Cable Plus Primary VoIP Service. The ARRIS Cadant C4 cable modem termination system enables cable operators and multiple system operators to provide advanced voice, data and multimedia
services over a converged IP network to subscribers.
HOUSTON could become home to North America's largest citywide WiFi network. The Lone Star State's biggest city has struck a deal with EARTHLINK to build a 600 square-mile network. The $50 million project--which needs the blessing of City Council members--would require the installation of 10,000 transmitters on light and utility poles throughout the city. Officials say the network could be up and running by 2009.
Few federal agencies and managers let their employees work from home or other remote sites, despite a 2001 law that requires them to foster telecommuting when possible, a STUDY has found. Most agencies have failed to comply with the law simply because they are not aware of it, states the study from TELEWORK EXCHANGE.
VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY has awarded a $14 million contract to IBM
to design and install a digital phone system. The new system will mix VoIP and PBX technologies, and provide the university's 16,700 employees with a single network that can handle voice, video and data traffic.
KONICA MINOLTA BUSINESS SOLUTIONS has received top honors from BUYERS LABORATORY for its MFP security solution. The solution--Hard Drive Overwrite Function with Optional Encryption--erases data stored on the hard disk drive or memory of a device by overwriting it with a series of characters. Overwrite is performed immediately upon completion of copy, print, scan and fax jobs.
BAPTIST HEALTH SOUTH FLORIDA is prepared for this year's hurricane season. The healthcare organization has chosen SONEXIS ConferenceManager, an in-house audio and Web conference solution, to manage its critical communications.