Microsoft Introduces New Technology and Collaboration to Accelerate Business Smartphone Adoption
Company adds to world’s fastest-growing mobile operating system with first mobile management server, new service alliance to help meet expanding corporate smartphone needs.
Seeking to catalyze large-scale adoption of mobile smartphones by corporate customers, Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer today unveiled several strategic offerings to help people and businesses better embrace mobile technology. The company announced its first dedicated mobile device management server and a strategic new business alliance to complement the growing success of the Microsoft Windows Mobile operating system and help more businesses take advantage of mobile solutions for their employees.
“People expect to be able to do more and more with their mobile phone,” Ballmer said in his keynote address today to the Cellular Technology Industry Association (CTIA) of America. “We’re building on our expertise across servers, operating systems and services to deliver Windows Mobile experiences that bridge the things people want to do at work and at home.”
Responding to customer needs beyond mobile e-mail and calendaring, Microsoft introduced the Microsoft System Center Mobile Device Manager 2008, a new mobile-dedicated server solution that helps companies manage Windows Mobile phones similar to Windows-based laptops and PCs. With Mobile Device Manager, companies can deliver new applications to phones over the air as well as connect people via Mobile VPN (virtual private network) with security-enhanced access to critical data such as expense reports or customer information.
To help more businesses purchase and manage mobile phone deployments, Microsoft announced a strategic alliance with Enterprise Mobile Inc., a new mobile enterprise service company created by Corporate Software founder and PC resale pioneer Mort Rosenthal. Enterprise Mobile will build, deploy and manage custom-made solutions that will work with a variety of mobile operators and phone manufacturers.
Microsoft, AT&T and Samsung also unveiled the Blackjack II, marking more than 30 Windows Mobile phones that have been announced this year. Available later this year exclusively through AT&T for as low as $149.99 (ERP), the Blackjack II is a new Windows Mobile 6 phone featuring GPS that will be updatable to support Mobile Device Manager. The AT&T Tilt and other Windows Mobile 6 smart devices to be introduced by AT&T later this year also will support Mobile Device Manager. Other recently launched phones in the U.S. are the HTC Advantage, Mogul by HTC, Touch by HTC, T-Mobile Wing, and from Verizon Wireless the Samsung SCH i760, Motorola Q Music 9m, SMT5800 and XV6800.
Windows Mobile is expected to be the fastest-growing mobile operating system over the next five years, according to the analyst firm IDC.
Industry Shows Broad Support for Mobile Device Manager
AT&T announced today that it will support Mobile Device Manager for business customers next year, and Sprint also announced it will enhance its portfolio of Windows Mobile phones in 2008 to support Mobile Device Manager. In addition, new phones or updates to support Mobile Device Manager are expected to be available beginning the second quarter of 2008 from HP, HTC, i-mate, Intermec, Motorola, Palm Inc. and Samsung. Service partners Avanade, CSC, EDS, Getronics, HP and TCS have announced support for Mobile Device Manager.
“For AT&T, success in the mobile space means making powerful solutions available to business through which they can mobilize their workforces, and the Windows Mobile platform delivers service offerings that provide our customers with a robust and differentiated experience,” said Kent Mathy, president, Business Markets Group, AT&T. “By supporting Mobile Device Manager on several levels, including by making our entire Windows Mobile 6 portfolio updatable to Mobile Device Manager and ensuring that those smart devices are compatible with AT&T’s network and other wireless data services, we are building upon our long and successful alliance with Microsoft to provide businesses with a compelling mobile solution.”
“System Center Mobile Device Manager will enable our enterprise customers to manage their Windows Mobile HTC devices in the same way they manage PCs and laptops and, at the same time, be able to help their businesses use a greater variety of wireless applications more securely,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC Corp. “HTC will make a Mobile Device Manager software update available for the AT&T Tilt and HTC TyTN II starting in the second quarter of 2008 with additional device updates to follow so that customers in North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region will be able to take advantage of all the capabilities their mobile phone has to offer.”
The new server, a first for the Mobile Communications Business at Microsoft, is expected to be available in the first half of 2008.
Enterprise Mobile to Provide End-to-End Support for Custom Business Mobility Needs
To help deploy Mobile Device Manager and Windows Mobile as part of custom, end-to-end mobile solutions, Microsoft is also working with Enterprise Mobile to make it easier for businesses to purchase, deploy, manage and support mobile phones. A new service provider and Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, Enterprise Mobile has been working with Microsoft and customers on early pilot programs and offers a complete service solution for developing, delivering and managing solutions based on the Windows Mobile platform.
“Mobility is the future of business,” said Rosenthal, CEO of Enterprise Mobile. “The Windows Mobile platform and System Center Mobile Device Manager, coupled with mobile operator and device maker partners, are the core elements of a strategic solution. At Enterprise Mobile, we can help businesses develop and actualize a solution tailored for their needs.”
Mobile Device Manager Enhances Management, Security and Access to Data
Mobile Device Manager is a single solution for managing Windows Mobile phones that addresses business’s needs to manage complex environments by enabling IT departments to do the following:
- Manage device inventory. Mobile Device Manager allows businesses to use a single window to inventory and manage enrolled Windows Mobile phones, helping to save time and providing more insight into mobile resources.
- Add and provision Windows Mobile phones. A scalable architecture means there is room to grow as an organization does, eliminating the need to supplement with additional solutions. A self-service device enrollment model gives IT professionals a simple way to provision phones.
Server Helps Secure Windows Mobile Phones
Mobile Device Manager offers new features and tools to help IT professionals control and protect sensitive corporate information on Windows Mobile phones. As security remains a top priority, Mobile Device Manager helps businesses do the following:
- Improve security management using Active Directory and Group Policy. Organizations can set and control policies in a single environment, similar to desktop and laptop management.
- Set up Windows Mobile phones according to organization-specific needs. IT administrators can configure rules for any number of their Windows Mobile phones to meet organizational requirements such as managing communications and camera functionality.
- Increase on-device security. Mobile Device Manager uses file encryption on the phone to help protect data such as e-mail and calendaring, My Document Folders and the Microsoft Internet Explorer Web cached directory. When combined with storage card encryption enabled by Windows Mobile 6, IT administrators have complete data encryption capabilities.
Server to Give Mobile Workers Access to the Data They Need
Using the new Mobile VPN, Mobile Device Manager provides security-enhanced access to data behind the corporate firewall, opening up a world of possibilities for businesses to offer a variety of line of business and productivity applications available for Windows Mobile such as Flowfinity, Formotus Inc., Microsoft Dynamics Mobile, Mobitor Corp., Pyxis Mobile, SAT Corp. and TrueContext. Built specifically for performance and security important to IT departments deploying a variety of mobile applications for Windows Mobile, Mobile Device Manager is designed to enable the following:
- Access to information with the performance users expect. Session persistence and fast reconnect features help users stay productive even if they encounter data connectivity issues across cellular and Wi-Fi networks.
- Increased protection with authentication of both user and phone. This unique architecture can bring peace of mind to IT administrators by providing a single security-enhanced point of access for all mobile application traffic.
- Support for standards-based architecture in diverse mobile environments. The Mobile VPN architecture is built on industry standards such as OMA DM, IKEv2 and others, providing IT professionals with more flexibility to extend the capabilities of Windows Mobile phones.
Closing the gap between a company’s current systems and policies and the Windows Mobile platform, Mobile Device Manager builds on the core set of security and management features provided by Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and the comprehensive deployment, updating and asset management capabilities of Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007. More information regarding System Center Mobile Device Manager can be found at http://www.windowsmobile.com/mobiledevicemanager.