Conference Buzz: Security and Mobility
This year’s Wireless Enterprise Symposium 2006 is wrapped up, but the buzz continues. The two topics on most attendees’ minds this year are no surprise to this newsletter’s audience: mobilizing applications and security.
Almost three thousand attendees took in three days of seminars this past May covering the gamut of BlackBerry® solution and mobile enterprise topics. From hands-on labs for IT administrators to advanced strategy sessions for corporate managers, there was something for everybody.
“Clearly wireless data is by far the greatest productivity opportunity before business today,” said RIM Co-CEO Jim Balsillie, explaining the objective of this year’s conference. The key questions to answer being: “How can people unlock that possibility; how can they pursue that opportunity?”
Mobile Application Adoption
Forrester Research VP and Research Director Ellen Daley set the stage in her keynote presentation, noting that adoption of mobile applications is growing faster than planned, with a boost of almost 10% in implementations in 2005 vs. the number planned in 2004. The greatest number have been customer-facing applications and information for employees. But where mobile email has needed little justification, more scrutiny and a requirement to prove business value is being demanded before extending mobile applications. Adidas is an example of where that value was easily found; their mobile application was paid for with just one order. (They were a winner of a BlackBerry Corporate Application Award.)
Ms. Daley said we are just finishing the period defined as “networked computing” where we’ve seen the adoption of enterprise applications and the Internet. She explained technology comes in waves of 10-20 years. Each phase is a 16-year cycle of two parts, the first half being innovation and growth, followed by a period of refinement and digestion. We are just about to enter a new stage of innovation and growth starting in 2008 of the period which shall be known as ubiquitous computing (others may prefer the term pervasive computing), essentially wireless networks coupled with mobile computers that can go anywhere.
Today, enterprises see mobility in three parts: information users who need constant contact with the office, whether in a meeting room or in a sales meeting cross-country; mobile workers like field service engineers, onsite inspectors and others; and the instrumented enterprise using tracking and tagging systems, remote equipment monitoring or supply chain management.
Businesses are now starting to invest in mobility with IP and the convergence of voice and data. But now mobility must be enterprise-ready (secure, reliable and manageable) and an end-to-end solution. The future of ubiquitous computing will see an extension of the Internet into the physical world, from our automobiles to machinery, home appliances and beyond, where billions of endpoints are awaiting connection.
Security Requires End-to-End Solutions
RIM Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis concurred with the need for end-to-end solutions because of the need for security. Solutions must include strong security features or IT will not deploy them. Not only does the data transmission need to be secure, but the devices themselves. He said RIM will continue to offer IT departments more tools to manage their enterprise solution for both control and flexibility. BlackBerry Connection will be covering much more on this topic in upcoming issues.
Mr. Lazardis sees the challenge ahead of organizations is protecting operation environments with strong encryption and managing and sorting increased amounts of data, including the treatment of voice as another piece of data. He raised the question of whether we will consume too much bandwidth beyond the capacity of carriers to profitably support it. To date most mobile technology research has focused on speech compression, but as consumption of wireless data increases that focus needs to switch.
He concluded that mobility has become as necessary a part of business as the fax or phone, and that BlackBerry solutions are at the forefront of a new wave of technology adoption. RIM is providing the foundation for wireless applications that give organizations a continuing competitive advantage.
Now is the Right Time
Between sessions, conference attendees were asked to weigh in on whether now is the right time for organizations to develop and implement a mobile enterprise strategy. These were their comments:
“Now is the right time because of the mobility of our users – more and more users are out of the office and need to be in touch. They need instant access to email.”
“All this investment and use of mobile data services is really picking up. Email was the first, but you’re starting to see more and more stuff becoming mobile, becoming wireless.”
“Now is the best time to move forward with your wireless strategy because you’ll be way behind the curve in a short amount of time.”
They cited these reasons:
“We’re in the healthcare market and the way healthcare is going is towards e-charting. We’re looking at how to roll that out in our organization so our nurses can have their information on demand.”
“In our environment IM on the desktop has become almost a necessity.”
The benefit is obvious to this manager, “Spend more time with the customer instead of spending more time completing paperwork.”
While many organizations are grappling with their enterprise mobility strategy, one of the highlights each year of The Wireless Enterprise Symposium is to see the latest and greatest in new solutions. In his presentation, “Cool Stuff for Your BlackBerry Device,” Alliances Director Jeff McDowell highlighted just a few of the thousands of applications available from over 400 BlackBerry Alliance Members, many of whom were at the conference. Here are just a few examples:
- GPS tracking for transportation businesses and consumers;
- ShowMate from Impatica that hooks up your BlackBerry device to a projector for making presentations without needing to carry a laptop;
- Multimedia applications such as Sona Mediaplayer and QuickPlayer for enhanced media services on your device;
- Bluetooth® peripherals including wireless data capture devices, micro and desktop printers, keyboards and pens; and
- Personal applications for travel, getting organized, staying healthy and of course games!
You can find these and many more in the BlackBerry Solutions Guide.
Don’t miss next year’s Wireless Enterprise Symposium. Mark your calendar for May 8 – 10, 2007, in Orlando, Florida. To receive advance notice of registration and speaker updates, sign up here.
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