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Product & Service Directories
- Mobile Computing Device & Asset Management -

The Issue
There are three distinctly different issues or requirements in this category

  • Systems and and asset (software distribution) management from a central site
  • Remote Management and control of enterprise systems resources like servers, applications, software configuration settings, including passwords from a remote handheld device from a mobile location - this requires
  • Cost management of mobile services that businesses employ - both data and voice. Go here to view solutions in this category.

Most products address either the first requirement or the second. A new vendor/product category has started appearing regarding the third requirement.

Systems and asset management (including technical support, problem diagnostics, problem resolution, data synchronization, application version synchronization, software upgrades across the network, asset management - who has what hardware, etc) of mobile devices is a major issue in the enterprise. Total cost of ownership (TCO) of these devices can be many times the annual cost of hardware. Gartner Group and IDC have estimated these costs to be in $3000 to $4000 range annually for PC-based notebooks. Gartner Group recently estimated TCO of Palm-based and Windows CE devices to be $2693 and $2791 respectively. Therefore, this cost is MANY TIMES the hardware cost. Hence the need for selecting appropriate systems management software.

Core Systems Management Functions
Please note that there are three fundamental requirements in systems management. Not all products address all three requirements:

  • Problem analysis and diagnostic - through SNMP or SNMP-like agent functionality - very few products do that
  • Configuration management especially in WAP-supported devices - only a few products do that
  • Remote asset management - software inventory and distribution functions - most products do it because it is relatively easy.

Typical Costs
For budgeting purposes, use an average server software cost of around $2500, with a per user cost of $50 to $200 (low end for PDAs and high end for laptops) for 1000 user configuration. Since prices vary from time to time and vendor to vendor, you may do more research for better estimates.

Customer Case Studies
Go to vendor solutions (Afaria, Extended Systems, and Synchrologic) for customer case studies of mobile management. 

SOFTWARE PRODUCTS  for Device/Asset Management
The following software products are noteworthy in this area:

1.  Afaria product from XcelleNet is one of the leading solutions that can manage laptops, PDAs, smart phones, RIM pagers, WinCE devices, and more. From a central location, you can keep devices running, deploy applications, check inventory, and provide automatic updates. For more information click here.

2.  XTNDConnect Server from Extended Systems is a mobile synchronization and management solution that allows IT professionals to integrate and manage mobile devices as well as deploy mobile applications. By allowing mobile devices to synchronize directly to server applications, mobile workers can access information remotely, using a wired or wireless connection. >more info.

3. Synchrologic iMobile Suite - allows development of applications requiring DBMS synchronization on handheld devices - Client and Server modules  (Core Functionality - Asset Management) iMobile suite from Synchrologic Inc. (a company based in Atlanta, Georgia USA) provides a software infrastructure solution for managing Palm® handhelds, Pocket PCs, and PCs/laptops which connect to enterprise networks via wired and wireless Internet, dial-up, and LAN. iMobile Suite also supports smartphones ( EPOCTM) and RIM® BlackberryTM wireless pagers.  One of the tools guarantees software distribution even with a link failure by re-transmitting from where it was lost on the previous attempt. The synchronization works bi-directionally. Click here for more info on Synchrologic.

4. Mobile Automation's Asset Management Software  -  This software allows IT staff to centrally control software distribution, application management, & system configurations for all mobile systems  -  Laptops, Windows CE & Palm devices. 

5. Aether Systems Mobile Device Management Center (Aether acquired this functionality from formerly  Riverbed Technologies in 2000 ) This software helps in administration of Palm OS, Windows CE devices, smart phones, and mobile information appliances in the enterprise. Managers can automate device configurations, software distribution, software installation and de-installation, file (application and data) upgrades and synchronization.

Prices range from $1,495 for 10 profile configuration to $31,495 for 2,000-profile configuration. Click on www.riverbedtech.com or call at 877-847-3303 for more information.

US Postal Service is reported to be using ScoutSyn technology.

6. ON Technology's Command CCM  - A Software Distribution & Configuration Management Tool Remotely updates software and configuration, allows bug fixes, software updates, configuration changes. Uses an intelligent agent installed on each managed laptop.  The agent figures out how to install based on pre-defined instructions of the systems administrator. Costs about $100 per user. Contact vendor by clicking here.

7. Orbiter from Callisto Software Inc. Orbiter is a systems management product that works while users are offline.  It uses existing communications infrastructure  - TCP/IP for mobile users connecting via a Remote access Server, or VPN , or via e-mail for users who connect only via e-mail. Allows you to manage with following functions:

8. OpenWave (formerly PHONE.COM) Mobile Management Architecture (MMA) initiative Phone.Com announced, at 1999 Unwired Universe Conference, its MMA initiative - an open, extensible architecture to set configuration settings of wireless intelligent telephones using WAP.  This effort is aimed more at the wireless network service providers (NSPs). Bell Atlantic is one of the early collaborators in this effort. 

9. UniCenter TNG  from Computer Associates Computer Associates, as an important player in systems management, entered into a number of vendor partnerships (March 2001) that extend its Unicenter TNG management and eTrust security software to the wireless world. CA is also updating its Jasmine development platform so customers can add wireless features to E-business applications. The partnerships include such vendors as Aether Systems, Motorola, Nokia, Soft Design, and Symbol Technologies as well as IT service providers EDS and ICL.

As an example, deal with Nokia means that IT managers will be able to distribute software to Nokia devices from a central Unicenter TNG console. They can use Nokia devices that support the Wireless Application Protocol to remotely manage their networks. To extend CA's software capabilities to partners' products, customers need only reconfigure their CA products with software patches, according to CA. (Story courtesy of Information week magazine)

TWIST - a consortium of 3-COM, PageNet and Computer Associates
This product (introduced in 2000) offers wireless-based network management capabilities of CA's products on PalmPilot devices through PageNet network. Please note that this moves management to those on the road - does not address the problem of managing mobile devices. However, at 1999 CA-World conference, third party vendors demonstrated control of remote mobile devices through CA-UniCenter TNG Fleet Management System and monitor their health. Click here for more info on CA network management products.

10. Wireless Network Management System (WNMS) from Symbol Technologies Symbol's Wireless Network Management System (WNMS) is a software tool that provides the network manager with wireless performance data and information in a mouse driven, windowed environment. The actual performance of your wireless network components is detailed in easily understood graphs and reports. These graphs and reports can be printed for future reference or comparison to past performance. With WNMS, you will have the capability of managing the dynamic features that are unique to wireless networks, particularly handheld wireless environments, including:

  • Hierarchical association of mobile units to access points
  • Mobile unit roaming between access points
  • Random and inconsistent connections to the network by mobile units

11. Tivoli's Management of PDAs (Palm in 2000) For The Enterprise Tivoli has extended its network device management capability through Tivoli Device Manager. Go to Tivoli site for more news on this item.  

VicRoads - roads maintenance organization in Victoria, Australia has used an early version of Tivoli to manage palm III handhelds. The maintenance staff record data about completed road work. The pplication was custom built. At the end of day, Palm IIs are hit-synced to a central computer where work is analyzed.

12. StarRemote's StarAdmin - provides network administrators to access and manage their enterprise systems from a wireless handheld devices such as PalmOS, PocketPC, RIM, and WAP-enabled phones.

13. Mercury's Web Monitoring Tools for Wireless Web Apps
Mercury announced a number of tools in August 2000:

  • LoadRunner®, load testing software, and ActiveTest, a hosted version of the product, are currently available.
  • Topaz, a real-time monitoring software, and ActivieWatch, its performance monitoring service, will be available come September.
  • WinRunner, a product for monitoring performance across a wide range of devices, will be released later this year.

For more info, go to  www.mercury.com/company/pr/news_releases/080700wap.html

14. Novadigm Enterprise Desktop Manager - Primarily for desktops, employed by Motorola on 20,000 desktops.  Novadigm claims that Motorola will save $12 million on an annual basis - almost $600 per desktop. 

Mobile Cost Management

Amtel's Products - Amtel offers three products:

  • Mobile Management
  • Mobile Expense Management
  • Mobile Cost Audit 
  • Click here for further information on these products.

Related Resources:



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