by February 1, 2010 0 comments

There is a powerful device that stays with your employees 24×7— their
mobile phones. If one could enable this device to carry business applications,
it could enhance productivity manifold. Mobile phone penetration in the world is
far ahead of broadband penetration. Add better connectivity options like 3G
(whenever it comes to private players in India) and we have a veritable platform
to carry out business activities on the go.

That’s why we’re seeing a lot of action in this space, with every mobile
platform vendor enhancing their offerings, and independent software vendors
building innovative solutions around mobility. The range of solutions that are
available today range from software for enhancing individual productivity to
enterprise class solutions that an enterprise can deploy for its entire employee
and customer base. Banks today for instance, are providing different levels of
mobile banking for their customers. Some provide applications that need to be
installed on a smartphone, while others provide WAP based browsing, and yet
others provide SMS based querying, etc.

Architecture of iAnywhere that enables wireless email,
calendar, contacts and task information from Lotus Domino and Microsoft
Exchange to various devices.

Personal productivity apps
At the individual level, there’s a plethora of different types of mobile
software for personal productivity. We’ve given a list of list of these
elsewhere in this story. Among these mobile software, Google’s mobile
application stack is fairly well known, which comprises of Google Mail, Picasa,
Google Maps, YouTube, and many others. The best thing about all of these
services is that they’re free for anybody to use. You can for instance,
configure your Gmail account to fetch email from your corporate email account
and then access it freely from your phone. So you’re not paying any vendor for
email services, only the standard GPRS charges applied by your telecom service
provider apply. Since these services are free, you’re on your own if they don’t
function or cause things like data loss, crash your phone, etc. That’s where the
paid counterparts like BlackBerry, Nokia’s latest mobile messaging platform come
in. They charge you hefty fees for uninterrupted services on your mobile phone.
Another one is the Sybase iAnywhere Mobile Office, which enables wireless email,
calendar, contacts and task information from Lotus Domino and Microsoft Exchange
to various devices such as iPhone, Windows Mobile 5/6/6.1/6.5, Nokia S60 3rd and
5th Editions, and Sony Ericsson UIQ 3.0. Its features include ability to
integrate into native applications available on devices, on the fly client
provisioning and deployment and software upgrades, device security with data
encryption, lock down and remote wipe.

Sybase Afaria

This is an enterprise solution that enables one to
manage mobile devices like PDAs, smartphones, laptops, etc using a browser
based console. It enables one to keep mobile data and devices up-to- date,
reliable and secure. Afaria also has a number of components that perform
critical tasks. This includes the following:

1. Anti-virus and Firewall Manager to secure mobile
devices by conducting scans for malicious content both on-demand and on the
fly. Plus, it can perform inbound and outbound traffic monitoring and data
filtering based on ‘Black list’ and ‘White list’, and perform automated call
and message filtering.

2.Backup Manager to automatically backup critical user
data as well as archive its data, applications and hardware configurations
to a centralized location. It can remotely download lost data, applications
and settings to replacement devices.

3.Configuration Manager to ensures that remote devices
and systems are configured properly, required connection settings are
enforced and it also lets one to securely and centrally configure and
maintain system attributes, preferences and settings for remote devices.

4.Document Manager that enables a user to have updated
content on their devices. The synchronization is done intelligently by
updating only the differences in data and not the complete document, thus
optimizing bandwidth.

5.Inventory Management that keeps track of devices and
applications installed on those devices. One can also lock stolen or lost
devices using this component.

6.License Manager that allows one to compare software
usage against software purchases and license agreements.

7.OneTouch which simplifies the process of connecting
to a network, logging in, and completing critical application-related tasks
like security checks, synchronizations and backup.

8.Patch Manager that enables automated patch management
for software residing on mobile devices. For giving remote connection
capabilities to desktop machines from mobile devices.

9.Remote Control that consists of two components: a
client and a console. The former resides on mobile devices, while the latter
is installed on machines to be accessed on the go.

10.Security manager for handhelds and laptops that
provides features such as enforcing power-on password, full disk encryption,
updating signature files and antivirus engines, and managing the
configuration of the device.

11.The last but one component of this series is Session
Manager that uses session-oriented approach, allowing one to automate
business processes and increase in communication efficiency for
intermittently connected devices and systems.

12.Software Manager that makes it easy for your
administrator to centrally distribute, install, maintain and support
frontline applications, no matter where users are located or what kind of
device they’re using.

Enterprise mobility apps
Further up are all the enterprise software vendors who can provide field
force automation software for your entire mobile work force. Some of the more
well-known ones are, which provide CRM clients for your mobile
phone. We’ve also given some success stories on mobile field force automation
solutions elsewhere in this story for your reference.

Besides enterprise apps, mobile databases and management systems are also
there, like Sybase’s SQL Anywhere, which is a database management system for

Enterprise Mobility Solutions
Finally, there are also vendors that provide complete mobile solutions for
an enterprise. The Sybase Unwired Platform is one such example. This includes a
tooling environment that integrates with commonly used integrated development
environments like Visual Studio and Eclipse. This helps in house developers to
develop applications for mobile platforms from an IDE that they’re already
familiar with, and then deploy them to different mobile devices and platforms
like Windows Mobile, Windows 32 (laptops/tablets), RIM, etc. This solution
comprises of the Sybase Unwired Server that helps in packaging and deployment of
mobile applications to mobile devices. This server also handles enterprise data
source and application access, communication between back-end and mobile
devices, scheduling, security and transaction processing.

The Sybase Unwired solution also has a Control Center, which is a web based
console for configuring and managing the Unwired Server and its components. The
last component is Sybase Unwired Workspace, which is a development environment
designed for mobile application development, testing, and deployment. Unwired
Workspace is like a plug-in to Eclipse and Visual Studio development

The architecture of Sybase Unwired Platform. It includes a
tooling environment that integrates with commonly used integrated
development environments like Visual Studio and Eclipse.

Integration with enterprise business apps
Another common trend being observed is the integration of mobile apps with
enterprise business apps. There are manufacturing companies for instance, that
provide an SMS service for their dealer network. The service integrates with
their ERP back-end, and the dealers could for instance, query about their
shipments, complaints, and much more. All this is done via SMS. The Sybase
platform we just talked of for instance, also allows this sort of integration
with business applications like SAP and other database oriented applications.

One challenge an enterprise is likely to face while developing mobile
applications is their management. Since the data is present on so many mobile
phones, how do you secure it? How do you reach out to different mobile devices,
etc? Can you centrally manage your mobile workforce?

Click here-

Useful Apps for Smartphones

the Right Mobile Platform

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