Nokia Pitches Device Management

As enterprises launch a myriad of mobile applications on a wide range of wireless devices, Nokia is betting that companies will increasingly look for soup-to-nuts administrative support.

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IT administrators are already struggling to support the glut of new wireless applications and devices being adopted within their organizations, and will increasingly look to adopt management services that help support all these tools, according to handset maker Nokia.

As a result, the company launched a new device management package at the CTIA Wireless convention in Las Vegas, a product the company contends will help mobile operators generate more revenues from their existing customers. The new offering is one of the first products born of Nokias buyout of Intellisync, completed in February, which specialized in applications designed to support mobile business applications, specifically wireless e-mail.

Dubbed Intellisync Device Management for Carriers, the package is part of the companys broader Nokia Unified Device Management package, and promises to help carriers offer services such as device memory backup and restoration, device provisioning and configuration, software updating, security and policy management, and diagnostic and repair services.

Nokia executives said the growing adoption of mobile enterprise applications and so-called smart phones, handhelds with PC-like capabilities and software underpinnings, should also begin to drive uptake of device management services.

"Every single time a device is connected to a companys network, it is imperative that the device be managed correctly so that content and security are being kept completely up-to-date," said Tom Libretto, director of marketing for Mobility Solutions in Nokias Enterprise division. "As more smart phones hit the street and companies deploy enterprise applications on those devices, we see a huge opportunity for carriers to provide support for all of those technologies."

Libretto said the Intellisync acquisition helped Nokia take a "drastic step forward" in terms of maturing its management software business, one of the primary reasons the handset maker went after the company. By adding support for many vendors through the deal, the company is trying to establish itself as a less proprietary vendor of carrier services, he said.

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Because Intellisync supported a wide range of devices and operating systems before being acquired, the management package is aimed at far more than Nokias existing customers, company executives said. The product currently lists support for devices from Nokia rivals such as Motorola, Samsung, LG, Palm and Sony Ericsson, and mobile platforms including the Symbian OS, Palm OS and Microsofts Windows Mobile.

The service is being offered to carriers via two delivery models, using either a central NOC (network operating center) hosted by the operator, or as a behind-the-firewall system, which is aimed at larger enterprise customers, allowing customers to control all aspects of the system. Nokia is pitching the service under both perpetual licensing and under the monthly subscription packaging popular among users and vendors of hosted applications.

At least one analyst said that demand for device management services should grow in the coming years as companies continue to add new wireless services, forcing major mobile operators to begin looking at alternatives now.

"Mobile device management and mobile security is now a critical component to an enterprise deploying a mobile solution," Stephen Drake, an analyst at IDC, in Framingham, Mass., said in a statement. "The delivery of mobile device management and mobile security solutions through a carrier empowers an increasingly important channel within the mobile ecosystem for both managed services and on-premise offerings to the enterprise."

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