April 05, 2006, 1:39 PM — Amid the glitz of consumer-oriented products and services coming out at the CTIA Wireless trade show in Las Vegas this week, some enterprise issues will also be on the table.
Security, dual-mode cellular and Wi-Fi phones, and the spread of fast 3G (third-generation) networks are all mobile issues that enterprises will be grappling with over the next few years. At CTIA, two vendors are already hitting the road with products for another pressing business issue, management of wireless devices.
Nokia Corp. will let carriers take mobile device control off enterprises' hands with a product it is set to introduce at the show.
In February, Nokia acquired Intellisync Corp. and its server-based system for handling wireless handheld and laptop inventory, enforcing enterprise policies and wiping off corporate data if a device is lost or stolen. Now it's offering that system to carriers so they can set up and host it for their enterprise customers.
Intellisync Device Management for Carriers will work with mobile devices that run major operating systems such as Palm OS, Microsoft Corp. Windows Mobile, Symbian and Nokia Corp.'s Series 60, as well as laptop and tablet PCs, according to Bill Jones, a director of product management at Nokia.
In addition to keeping inventory and securing its devices, an enterprise can use the system to control what software is loaded on them and what hardware settings are used, Jones said.
Enterprise adoption of mobile data devices is still at an early stage, and many organizations would probably prefer to let a carrier manage them, said Ovum Ltd. analyst Roger Entner.
"Enterprises want an easy solution from somebody they trust," Entner said. "IT departments are typically installation-avoidance departments."
Nokia is offering the management system to carriers worldwide today and has at least one customer already, Eurotel Praha in the Czech Republic.
Also at CTIA, Sprint Nextel Corp. will extend the capabilities of its mobile device management system for enterprises and introduce a set of location-based applications to its CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) network.
The Sprint Mobility Management offering, previously called the Sprint Managed Mobility Service, lets enterprises centralize control of their employees' mobile devices and the software on them. The service will now be able to manage some types of mobile devices that are on other mobile operators' networks, according to Barry Tishgart, director of marketing at Sprint. Support for Microsoft Corp. Pocket PC devices and Research In Motion Ltd. BlackBerry devices also are being added.