AT&T's acquisition of certain inCompass Wireless assets will enable the carrier to help enterprises do what it did for consumers with the iPhone: Use apps.
AT&T announced Nov. 2 that it has acquired assets and took on some
employees from inCompass Wireless, in a move to expand its enterprise-mobility
solutions and professional-services expertise.
A mobile systems integrator and technology provider, inCompass Wireless
provides mobile application and wireless solution development with back-office
systems, mobile managed services, and wireless technology integration and
implementation, AT&T explained in a statement. Financial details of the
acquisition were not disclosed.
"With the acquisition of inCompass Wireless, we're strengthening our
already strong foundation to enable business model transformation through
mobile applications, machine-to-machine [M2M] solutions and mobile services,"
Michael Antieri, president of AT&T's Advanced Enterprise Mobility Solutions
group, said in a statement.
Antieri added that the inCompass team brings with it "end-to-end
solution design, software system integration and device management skills"
that will enable AT&T to reach out to broader customer bases in vertical
markets, such as field force automation, sales force automation, fleet
management, the supply chain and wireless infrastructure."
A number of enterprises are adopting mobile applications, but they don't all
have the expertise to tie those applications into their back-office systems,
says analyst Ken Hyers, of Technology Business Research (TBR). With the
inCompass acquisition, AT&T will be better able to provide consulting to
those companies, he says.
"AT&T is expanding very aggressively into the M2M space,"
Hyers told eWEEK. "TBR believes
that, by 2015, the number of global M2M connections will exceed the number of
wireless voice connections-this is a belief validated by AT&T's and other
operators' rapid expansion into the space. Much of that growth will come from
enterprises, which are using M2M and related applications to automate their
services and increase efficiencies."
AT&T is more popularly tied to the Apple iPhone, the device that started
the consumer application craze. While it has been the exclusive U.S.
provider of the iPhone since 2007, it's expected to lose that status in early
2011-a scenario that's been described as "problematic"
for the carrier. Over the last year, AT&T has worked to round out its
portfolio of mobile products with Android devices and gained exclusive rights
to a number of other smartphones, such as the BlackBerry Torch and several
Windows Phone 7 handsets.
While the inCompass acquisition isn't tied to the iPhone, said Hyers, its
devices, such as the iPhone and iPad, as well as smartphones that followed from
the iPhone, will likely be running the enterprise apps AT&T is looking to
help companies deploy.
"I think it's safe to say that AT&T is looking to broaden its
portfolio and products so that its business and future growth is not tied to
any one device," said Hyers.
AT&T formed its Advanced Enterprise Mobility Solutions group earlier
Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.