Wavelink Blog

Tag: mobile ecosystem strategies

The Enterprise Mobility Mix – Consumer and Rugged Mobile Devices

The Mix of Consumer and Rugged Mobile Devices in the Enterprise

Has your experience at retail stores been different lately?  Or perhaps you’ve had a different experience at a medical facility?  Maybe your own work has changed recently.  A significant change across industries has been in the number and types of mobile devices being used by all sorts of workers.  Whether you’ve completed a sales transaction by signing on a smartphone, or checked in at your doctor’s office using a tablet, there is no denying that mobile devices are proliferating in enterprise use cases.

In most mission-critical mobility deployments, enterprises have deployed rugged mobile computers.  Consider the devices carried by parcel couriers, stockroom workers and others.  There’s an obvious need for durability, so that these mobile computers can withstand frequent drops, extreme temperatures, and in some situations, hazardous environments (think oil rigs).  Technologies that help these workers accomplish their tasks include advanced data capture capabilities, such as barcode scanning, RFID, and perhaps payment transaction capabilities.

A retail associate uses a mobile device to check out a consumer

A retail associate uses a mobile device to check out a consumer

As consumers, we don’t often interact with these workers as they complete their tasks.  The use cases are not typically consumer-facing.  However, there is an increasing contingent of enterprises that are placing more mobility into the hands of workers who are visible, and directly interacting with consumers.  These workers are still performing mission-critical activities – particularly in revenue generating roles, for the enterprise.

Over the past few years, companies have explored the evolving smartphone and tablet options for these workers.  In some cases, the benefits of these consumer-grade devices have proven not to be the best fit for the business, due to fragility, theft, or other limitations.  These enterprises have generally opted to revert to the familiar – the rugged mobile computers that are likely being used in traditional task-based use cases.  By contrast, there are enterprises across industries that have chosen and successfully deployed consumer smartphones and tablets into consumer-facing use cases.

There is no denying the selection of enterprise mobility hardware has expanded significantly over the last five years.  Whether going with traditional, rugged mobile computers, or consumer-grade devices, it is exciting to see the accelerated adoption of mobility across enterprises – especially as it gets into the hands of the workers with whom we, as consumers, interact.  However, this also creates a new IT challenge: Some workers are carrying rugged mobile computers, others have consumer devices.  There is overlap in applications and content access as well.  For all these users, there is a bottom line benefit to their mobile productivity.  Fortunately, Wavelink Avalanche is there to be able to ensure all these users – task-oriented and customer-facing, are optimally productive.

Voice: Because Talk is Cheap and Time is Money

Speakeasy in Action

It’s obvious that companies only implement technology when it will benefit the business in some way.  Most often, it is the hope that technology yields some financial benefit – perhaps in the form of increased productivity and efficiency.  However, every technology vendor also recognizes this and therefore makes their sales pitch around the promise of some great savings.  But talk is cheap – so how best to separate the promises made in words, and those that are based on factual evidence?Speakeasy in Action

Selling technology has been tied to an ROI for decades, and today, nearly every company has an ROI calculator with which they can show how your investment in their product will put your business in the green.  What’s more credible?  Consider reference companies that already use the solution and explain the return on investment in their own terms.  Just as the reasons a business will choose to invest in technology may vary, so do the primary components of their own ROI calculations. (more…)

Securing the First Responders: With today’s critical infrastructure threats, how can you ensure your city’s response team’s rugged devices are secure?

In an emergency first responders need to be focused on their number one priority – be it saving lives, protecting citizens and preventing crimes. Worrying about the security of the technology they have with them shouldn’t be of concern. In fact keeping onboardPolice Car laptops and smartdevices that are the make-up of numerous fleet vehicles, such as police and fire vehicles secure shouldn’t even be a secondary thought. It should be simple and should just run in the background. With technology changing rapidly it is vital to ensure information that is sent to public servants, law enforcement officials and military personnel is secure. But while technology is changing rapidly it doesn’t mean that budgets are increasing to account for all these new devices or the changing climate of new threats.

Simple to use, simple to manage device management that protects the infrastructure of every city’s government is possible and in most cases requires very little in way of investment.

What should a city or government entity look for in a mobile device solution?

  1. 802.11 provisioning with industry standard encryption and authentication protocols
  2. Access Point (AP) detection and reporting with various IDS-oriented enhancements to assist with identification, alerting, monitoring and reporting of potential threats and a holistic view into the state of the agency’s security
  3. Ability to remotely manage configurations and updates of all Access Points across a city from one location
  4. Encryption of all communication channels and database encryption
  5. Device location mapping; enabling the lock down and wiping of devices when needed
  6. Push down all device software updates over the air without the need to physically bring in critical devices that are needed 24/7. Industrial laptops are powerful tools but they can be rendered virtually useless in an emergency if they are not kept up-to-date. Push down a security patch from a central location and save critical time and money
  7. Device management that doesn’t take up valuable bandwidth. Send out a software package in seconds without it hindering GPRS that is being used not only to update software applications but basic data communications with officers and firefighters out in the field
  8. Security for all wireless data transmissions that includes a seamless handoff between the various wireless network infrastructures in operation

Remember you don’t need to buy the latest and greatest device with the pretense that because it’s newer it’s going to be more secure. By making simple IT infrastructure changes using existing devices it is more than possible to stick to the budget without sacrificing security. A simple to use centralized mobile device management solution that plans, deploys, secures, monitors and maintains enhances the reliability and security of the tools first responders need to use.

Cutting to the Chase: Let’s Talk MDM

Everyday, I see updates and conversations on various sites and forums about MDM/BYOD/etc. Many are from LinkedIn forums, which usually contain some initially good discussions, before they turn into sales pitches for various providers. Nowadays, with all of the buzzwords surrounding the enterprise mobility space, it’s hard to weed through the murky stuff, and get to the bottom of what’s important about MDM: defining your mobile ecosystem.

Until your mobile ecosystem is defined, it’s hard to determine what the needs are, and ultimately, will delay your return on investment. As we’ve discussed in the past with many BYOD topics, it’s important to have a clear plan on what your unique needs are in the enterprise. What’s the landscape of devices like? Do you have all rugged devices, or do you also have smart devices you need to manage? What about network infrastructure? Do you need to manage the wireless access points in addition to the devices? Do you have one, or many locations you’ll need to have insight over?

The point is that every mobile ecosystem is different, and take caution when doing your research, as to not get caught up in the buzz and spin. The truth is that very few enterprises are alike, and being able to work with a trusted advisor to determine the best plan of action will lead to quicker implementation, faster ROI, and a more efficient enterprise.

As a side note, if you would like to join a LinkedIn group that avoids the jargon, we’re looking to get a solid group who are interested in discussing topics, not sales pitches, in our Mobile Ecosystem group. Check it out, and strike up a conversation!

Questions to Ask About BYOD – Part 2

Good afternoon! Last week, in Questions to Ask About BYOD – Part 1, we discussed whether or not BYOD will save your company money.

Today, we will look at the second aspect of BYOD that needs to be considered, and is closely related to the IT cost benefits: What security challenges and risks will face your IT folks in a BYOD world? The IT and security challenges are complex and many. What happens when someone’s device is lost? What happens when a CEO becomes a victim of corporate espionage (this is not just paranoia, it actually does happen) and her device is stolen by the competition? How much control can the company have over employees’ devices? There’s obviously a myriad of other security questions that need to be addressed for BYOD security but you get the picture, it’s daunting.

Most experts agree that the single most important element in a BYOD environment is having explicit policies surrounding employee devices. In fact, in a recent article by Muneyb Minhazuddin of Australian-based Dynamicbusiness.com it’s as important as having a phone number or a quality Web site.

That being said, policies are only effective if they are adhered to and enforced. Penalties for infractions need to be clear, concise and, most importantly, enforced. Sometimes employees make mistakes; sometimes they are outright stupid. When rules are broken there needs to be a clear solution available to fix any problems the infraction may have caused and people need to be reprimanded accordingly.

Even with strong BYOD policies in place keep in mind that the human element tends to really mess things up. Look long and extremely hard before you enter the BYOD arena.


Questions to Ask About BYOD

BYOD. Today it seems everyone involved in any way with enterprise mobility management is constantly being barraged with the term. It’s a buzzword that just isn’t going away, at least not anytime in the foreseeable future. It seems like everyone in the industry has a different take on whether BYOD is a positive or a negative. There are definitely many cases for and against it, but I think most people considering BYOD don’t even ask the most important question: What is the real reason they want to implement BYOD?

BYOD in the Mobile Ecosystem

It sounds basic but this is something that’s almost always overlooked. Is an organization doing it to save money? Is a company looking to BYOD to help increase employee productivity? What IT and security challenges will implementing BYOD raise for a business? In regards to making a decision on BYOD a company needs to weigh both pros AND cons. It’s important that they don’t just jump on board because it’s the hot trending topic. It may be right for your organization or it may be entirely wrong.

In what will be a two-part series, we’re going to focus on two of the questions listed in the paragraph above: the cost of BYOD for a business and IT, and security challenges of implementing BYOD.