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May 2007
Volume 10 / Number 5
Feature Articles
Richard "Zippy" Grigonis

Enterprise Mobility

By Richard “Zippy” Grigonis, Feature Articles

Motorola’s acquisition in January 2007 of the “wearable computer” company Symbol Technologies called attention to the increased mobility of enterprise employees who nevertheless still demand quick and easy access to business-critical information. Motorola says its new enterprise mobility business will provide “cutting-edge, end-to-end products and services, coupled with application-specific solutions from a vast channel partner network.” The term “enterprise mobility” encompasses everything from the integration of cell phones into a corporate PBX system to verticallyoriented solutions involving the quick delivery of productivityenhancing information to people in the field, the factory, the warehouse, at cash registers and at patients’ bedsides.

Everyone, it seems, is getting into the enterprise mobility industry.

President and CEO Kathy Zatloukal of the aptly-named company, MobileAccess (news - alert) ( says, “Our infrastructure provides the most costeffective approach for a total cost of ownership [TCO] for enterprise connectivity in buildings. In other words, a single investment allows the enterprise to enjoy the benefits of cellular-based applications, more premised-based applications such as wireless LAN, and it can also support public safety-type of applications. In particular, it supports applications used by verticals - one example would be wireless patient monitoring in a healthcare institution. There’s a multitude of building information-type of applications that can ride on this infrastructure or even some security and surveillance applications. Basically, it’s all about the TCO for a multitude of wireless applications in the enterprise.”

“Most people believe that the wireless revolution has already happened,” says Zatloukal. “However, if you follow what spectrum has been allocated and what new spectrum is scheduled to be allocated, there’s really only a small portion of the spectrum available for applications that’s actually been licensed. The new spectrum that will be hitting the market is actually what I think will really create the true wireless revolution within enterprises. If you follow the annual growth rates of fixed voice, fixed data, mobile voice and mobile data, you’ll see that, for network operators in most developed countries, mobile data now makes up 20 to 30 percent of their revenues. It has started to make a significant shift in terms of where the focus will be of those particular providers of wireless solutions. A lot of this data right now is based on messaging traffic as well as earlyon Internet-type services.”

“When I reach out to CIOs and their enterprises, current mobile devices are creating an awareness and interest in mobile data,” says Zatloukal. “These are devices such as notebooks, PDAs and smartphones. Some of these can handle applications where there are video, voice and data, and then there’s the issue of the number of ’bands’ supported. Complexity is definitely occurring. That’s a trend in the marketplace that is creating the momentum around mobile voice and data. I believe what will actually create the desire and action by CIOs to really embrace it for enterprise applications - possibly even to the point of substitution for some wireline connectivity - will be when some 4G-type aspects appear, such as what you find in the advanced IP network architectures. Then you get into modulation technologies that really allow the performance and cost factors for the operators to meet an ’intersection point’ on a graph that makes sense - for example, with OFDMA, or the Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access modulation technology. Then you start to see a platform evolve that is truly ready for mobile data applications.”

Over at Tango Networks (news - alert) (, their technology can fuse the features of your PBX with the mobility of using carrier wireless networks without resorting to expensive, customized handsets or having to change user behavior. Corporate IT departments can use Tango Abrazo to manage mobile phones as they would any other corporate asset, thus eliminating excess calling costs, productivity inefficiencies, inadequate call security, unavailable content monitoring and unnecessary legal exposure.

Al Leo, Vice President of Business Development and Sales, says, “We connect companies’ mobile phones to the corporate PBX. Thus, those mobile phones integrate into the corporate-wide PBX-based network. It gives a user a single number, a single voicemail box, access to PBX-based features which are more robust and easier to use than the features typically associated with a cell phone, such as call forwarding, abbreviated dialing and conference calling. We extend the corporate dialing plan and corporate least cost routing algorithms out to that end user too.”

“So, we give the end-user some productivity, acceptability and enhancing capabilities,” says Leo.

Leo continues, “For the enterprise IT management team, we enable them to manage mobile voice and integrate it into the rest of their solution and business applications. They can now offer productivity, accessibility and enhancements to their end users. It also gives them the ability to manage the costs and functionality of mobile voice that they typically don’t have in today’s telecom environment.”

“The final thing that our solution does is to keep the wireless carrier or integrated operating company frontand- center in the value chain with respect to enterprise mobility,” says Leo.

“Our solution will work with any mobile phone,” says Leo. “It’s architected so that we put a network element, the Abrazo-C in the carrier’s network and then we propose that enterprises that want to take advantage of this solution should then purchase the Abrazo-E as a CPE-based solution that becomes part of their PBX-based network. This approach allows us to work with all mobile phones, and there’s no need for dual mode phones or client software on the phone. We basically eliminate the handset as a barrier to entry. Enterprises are transiting from TDM to IP and we’ve able to integrate with any type of PBX, leveraging the investment made in them.”

“Additionally, we give the corporation the ability to create a mobility policy and enforce it as part of the solution,” says Leo. “It’s not just a piece of paper or expense report. We have a rules engine in the Tango Abrazo E that allows enterprises to define how and when people can use their mobile phones.”


Location-Based Services

A discussion of Enterprise Mobility usually brings up the not-so-tangentially related subject of location-based services.

At NetMotion Wireless (, John Knopf, Director of Product Management, says, “We don’t offer what you’d call a traditional application. We offer software that’s deployed by the IT or security department - it’s basically a VPN, but it’s a VPN that is specialized to ensure that mobile workers remain highly productive and that all of the data they’re transmitting over the wireless networks is secure.”

“Our particular spin on location-based methodologies is that our VPN has a policy module associated with it allowing us to change both the VPN’s behavior and the things to which the user is allowed access, based on their location,” says Knopf. “For us, a ’location’ means various things: the physical IP address assigned to the user’s network card, or a particular network interface used by the employee - they could be on a wireless LAN versus a carrier cellular data network. The user could even be associated with a particular SSID [Service Set Identifier, a 32-character unique identifier attached to packet headers sent over a WLAN that acts as a password when a mobile device connects to a base station]. We have a working knowledge of all those things and we can dynamically change what the user has access to and change the behavior of our VPN most of the time to make people more productive and to ensure that they’re getting the best service from their data carrier and for their specific applications.”

“So, we’re not a traditional locationbased application, where a user says, ’I’m in a certain location. What are the associated services around me such as hotels and restaurants?’ Instead, we focus quite heavily on making the worker productive based on their location,” concludes Knopf.


Remote Access

One of the earliest technologies to make workers mobile was remote access. It’s modern descendant is still going strong today.

At Aventail (news - alert) (, Director of Product Marketing Chris Witeck says, “We’re fundamentally a remote access control company. We examine the different ways a user potentially can gain access to information and applications on the network, as well as really increase the functionality of mobile devices as a market driver. But then, the definition of mobile driver devices includes many things. Just over the last two years we’ve expended effort into developing, in particular, for traditional PDA and phones and to allow users to control access to those devices. But we also take into account the fact that another trend has been going on for a longer time - the fact that laptops are much more cost-effective these days, and you’re increasingly capable of putting other things on your laptop that traditionally were in the realm of the mobile device, such as a VoIP softphone.”

“The convergence of voice and data requires IT to look at remote access differently,” says Witeck. “There are more and more use-cases where users can work remotely; there are more devices and connectivity is available at higher bandwidths and at more locations. People are also outsourcing their supply chains and are working more with people who are in a different location. Aside from these factors, companies used to have a ’voice team’ that would buy phones for employees, and then there was a ’data team’ handling data connectivity and network access reliability. Put voice on the same device, and you start to see the IT guys get more involved in the voice decisions and the voice guys get more involved in the data decisions. That changes things to a certain extent within an organization.”

“From our perspective, this all raises the strategic profile of remote access quite a bit,” says Witeck. “Much of this is being driven by the fact that increasingly functional devices that can handle both voice and data are appearing. We see a big surge in interest in phones or PDAs becoming remote access platforms, and that’s driven by Windows. Palm was an early vendors to deploy a functional PDA device, and Blackberry was an email-only device. But given that IT guys are interested in both data and voice, interest is driven with devices that can be increasingly functional for both access to voice-based services and to specific applications.”

Let’s hope the world’s employees don’t become peeved by these gizmos that enable them to be reached by anyone, anytime, anywhere.

Richard Grigonis is Executive Editor of TMC’s IP Communications Group.


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