Enterprises increasingly rely on mobile devices, working on multiple carriers, and yet most have little control over, or visibility into, the quality of the networks their workers are connecting to.
"Locality makes cellular just as measurable and manageable as an in-house wired or WiFi network," NetMotion Wireless CTO Joe Savarese said in an Oct. 21 statement, announcing a new cloud-based addition to the company's enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution.
Locality Cloud is a new, fully hosted, subscription-based version of NetMotion's Locality solution, currently being used by more than a million workers. In addition to saving customers the up-front cost of an on-site solution, it offers broader platform support, now working with Android-, Windows Phone- and iOS-running devices, and it can scale up to 5,000 licenses, with the potential to scale up to 10,000 coming soon.
"The whole purpose of this is to ensure mobile deployment success—to make sure that field workers are connected where and when they need to be," Mark Pendolino, NetMotion's director of marketing communications, told eWEEK.
The norm has been that users have lots of tools to help them meet their service-level agreements (SLAs), Pendolino continued. "But the key is, how can you get end-to-end visibility into the performance of those tools?"
Locality has three areas of focus: connectivity, which includes helping workers leverage multiple networks, improving app performance and keeping data secure; visibility, which enables IT to identify poor signal quality and see real-time carrier coverage; and control, which includes empowering IT to set policies by network and time, to block or prioritize traffic, and to set controls by device and user.
End-to-end visibility into performance has been a "huge blind spot" for enterprises, says NetMotion.
In a recent survey, NetMotion asked its customers about their top concern regarding their cellular data deployments. The overwhelming answer (55 percent) was a concern about how to make connectivity more reliable.
Further, it asked customers who had said that troubleshooting connectivity issues wasn't difficult what their primary method of resolving issues is. Thirty-three percent said they call the user in the field, while another 28 percent said they call the carrier.
"A lot of manual time is being spent trying to figure out these issues," said Pendolino.
The Locality solution includes coverage maps that, street by street, show the quality of coverage, from no signal to excellent on all four major networks. (If, for example, a dispatcher is sending emergency vehicles to an accident on a bridge, he would know in advance which carrier has the best coverage at the location and how best to communicate with the workers there.
Additionally, if a device is having connectivity issues independent of the network coverage, IT can see the device specifics remotely and push out any necessary updates, enabling a worker to stay in the field and productive.
One Locality customer, the St. Paul (Minn.) Police Department, says the solution has helped on a number of fronts, from improving cellular coverage for officers to speeding help-desk ticket resolution. Additionally, when an officer previously brought in a computer that wasn't working well, the IT staff would often replace the modem, if it looked beat up—a solution that was time-consuming and expensive and not always effective. With Locality, they were able to pinpoint the actual issue. This included realizing that one of its carrier partners wasn't performing adequately.
Visibility into its resources also enabled the department to better allocate its investments—wireless cards that it saw weren't being used by some officers were redistributed to others who needed them.
"Locality makes sure enterprises' mission-critical apps are working in the field," said Pendolino. "And with Locality Cloud, they now have even more options."