cl-nz logo
Story image

Mobility: eight business opportunities to explore

01 Mar 2007

* F-Secure

Although it’s been in the security business for 20 years Wellington-based Scientific Software and Systems (SSS) has only recently stepped into the mobile security market.Ashton Jones, SSS product manager, strongly believes mobile security is the next gold rush.“Now is definitely the time to get into the market especially with the increased range of smartphones entering the market over the next few months. While the threats are low at the moment I expect it to really peak towards the end of the year,” he says. SSS distributes FSecure’s Mobile Anti-Virus for Businesses, which allows automated distribution of the antivirus updates directly to the mobile device over a wireless connection. It provides real-time in-device protection with automatic over-the-air antivirus updates through a patented incremental SMS update mechanism or HTTPS connections. To prevent infection, all files are automatically scanned for viruses when they are saved, copied, downloaded, synchronized or otherwise modified. For mobile devices with WLAN connectivity, an integrated firewall safeguards the mobile device from any type of attack, from intrusion attempts to malware.Jones says mobile malware such as viruses, worms and trojans have become an increasing nuisance for smartphone users, especially in the European market.Malware can cause unwanted billing, delete valuable information on the device and even make the phone unusable. For businesses, mobile malware poses extra security risks that cause direct productivity losses and business continuity problems.As one of only two certified FSecure training partners in the Southern Hemisphere SSS is easily able to provide training to all levels of FSecure partners.  At this stage Jones says corporate customers are the most receptive to the mobile security message.“I’ve seen a lot of interest in New Zealand from end users, in fact it was customer demand that led to SSS deciding to take on the mobile product from FSecure.”

* HPAccording to Warwick Grey, HP SMB marketing manager, mobility isn’t just about one or two devices but is a combination of technology and need. “Customers want to create, access and share information and mobility is the framework that allows that to happen. Resellers need to take a holistic view of the size of a customer’s business, bear in mind the businesses objectives and show customers how to get what they want,” he says. Successful partners are driving sales by offering a complete solution, rather than focusing on selling a piece of hardware, says Grey.  With this in mind HP has created a new campaign to help its partners sell end to end solutions based on the key areas of share, create and access. Simon Molloy, business notebook product manager, believes mobility is about enabling people to be productive out of the office.“For some customers that’s just a matter of accessing their outlook schedule while others need to access their full CRM back-end system,” he says. HP’s tagline – working smarter not harder – is relevant to many business people says Molloy. “Mobility devices are ubiquitous to the way we work these days and are a vital means of achieving work/life balance.” Practising what they preach both Molloy and Grey , who both report to regional offices in Singapore, say having the flexibility to work between 7 and 9pm is invaluable. The only downside as far as Molloy can see is that, as yet, there are no established protocols for switching work off in the home. “For me that’s not so much of a problem as I find it easier to do my strategic and proactive planning when I’m away from the office but it does raise issues of being always at work, regardless of location.” When it comes to notebooks Molloy says purchasing is still very much a personal choice and customers want to touch and feel the product.

* NuanceIf it’s a horizontal opportunity you’re after then it’s worth taking a look at Nuance’s mobility software offering – Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred Mobile. Derek Austin, Nuance’s ANZ sales manager, says anyone who uses a device to record information is a likely user of Dragon. “Anyone who records information in the field is a candidate for this software – doctors, lawyers, architects – anyone,” he says. The Preferred Mobile edition of the Dragon software comes bundled with a Philips digital recorder, however Austin says resellers can create their own bundles. “As part of a solution sell the software may be linked in with a new PC or laptop. The beauty of Dragon Preferred Mobile is that the file can easily be downloaded and converted, saving users a lot of time.” According to Austin, Nuance is continuously releasing systems that don’t require time consuming voice training. In particular Austin points to Nuance’s mobile speech platform which he describes as a groundbreaking architecture of tools and components that provide a seamless speech experience. “We believe speech is the easiest method of interacting with devices in the field, whether it’s a professional user or consumer.” Applications designed on the Nuance platform allow users to speak natural queries to dictate email or SMS, search the web or locate nearby services – for example, the closest petrol station. “It largely eliminates the need to use structured phrasing and filters “um” and “ah” utterances for fast and accurate recognition. At the moment Nuance is pitching this at the telco space, however there are definite opportunities for mobile application developers.”

* SOPHOSZoe Nicholson, Sophos channel sales manager, says that while the probability of threats in mobile phones is relatively low at present it won’t stay that way for long. “As mobile phones and their capabilities become more pervasive, and common operating systems come into widespread use, there’s a greater opportunity for more malware to be written for the platforms,” she says. “Many end users are in the mindset that it’s all ok at the moment and think they don’t need to worry about mobile phone security just yet.”Furthermore, as cyber attacks are becoming increasingly subtle and targeted, businesses need to consider protecting their confidential data on every level, no matter how small the risk, says Nicholson. Sophos has identified more than 200 examples of malicious mobile code. The threat has been growing steadily year-on-year, and continued growth is forecast as mobile devices become more widely used.In a Sophos web poll in June 2005, 70% of respondents said they thought that some security vendors had overhyped the mobile virus threat. Nevertheless, in a web poll conducted in November 2006, 81% of respondents expressed themselves worried that mobile phones will be targeted more by malware in the future, although 64% of companies have admitted that they don’t have any protection in place on their mobile smartphones and PDAs.Nicholson believes education is the key to successfully selling Sophos’ recently released mobile security product. The product secures sensitive information and ensures business communication continues uninterrupted by detecting and disinfecting mobile viruses and spyware on Windows Mobile devices. “Many corporate customers don’t seem to understand the concept of putting in place policies around mobile security and that’s something resellers can help them with,” she says. This is a new opportunity for resellers, says Nicholson, who can use the product as a lead into an account – offering consulting, implementation and ongoing services to a client. Nicholson says Sophos’ mobile security product is extremely simple and won’t cost partners valuable time in upskilling. “It’s a single management console that isn’t taxing on anyone. It’s another example of Sophos’ commitment to providing pro active control rather than just anti-virus products.”

* VantexEric Ryda, Vantex mobile wireless manager, has been doing the rounds to educate and inspire end users about the benefits of the Ultra Mobile Personal Computer (UMPC). “As with most things in life, size is an issue, and mobile computing is no different. Traditional PDA form factors are ideal for applications which require the operator to be on the move, such as couriers or meter readers, and call for only a limited amount of data is collected.  However, tablet and laptops have been problematic when used by service personnel or sales reps and merchandisers,” he says.Ryda says Microsoft and Intel identified a gap in the market – when a PDA is too small and a laptop too big – and sponsored the Origami project, which led to creation of the UMPC standard. By virtue of its size, shape, functionality and price Ryda says UMPC presents a completely new set of opportunities not suited to laptops or PDA style devices - from media centre remote control to plan-grams for in-store merchandisers.  Customers already using UMPC include the Victoria Police department for secondary data entry in police vehicles for incident reporting and handwritten notes, rural frebrigade services for helicopter telemetry, data logging and positioning and News Ltd in Sydney for mobile sales force enablement. Vantex’s strength lies in vertical markets with a strong focus on application-specific technology. Ryda says the company offers a wide range of mobile hardware solutions including RFID readers and infrastructure, wireless LAN networking equipment, handheld mobile computers and accessories. “We provide onsite sales training for partners, technical pre and post sales support, equipment staging and connection to mobile networks. It’s all here and we’re happy to help our partners.” Ryda says that applications and solutions that maximise vehicle utilisation enable field-based personnel to operate more efficiently and address fundamental business issue will enjoy the most growth over the next few years. Traditional mobile solutions in verticals such as warehousing and retail will continue to see activity and steady growth, with many systems installed around the turn of the century coming up for renewal, he says. “Advances in mobile technology now mean more applications than ever before and many IT managers have been waiting for technology to catch up with their needs in order to upgrade their current mobile systems.”New technologies enable new opportunities, says Ryda, and as traditional ROIs become best practice, mobile solution providers need to become more creative in finding new reasons for adopting mobile technology and learn how to communicate the benefits to their customers. Otherwise providers face being seen as just another one of the bunch.* IDC OPINIONLiam Gunson, IDC senior analyst, says the key drivers for mobility are connectivity and applications. “Apps are a huge driver in the mobility market, at the moment push email is the killer app that’s getting users excited in the smart phone space and, as more become available, things will really take off,” he says. Gunson notes there has been strong migration to converged devices rather than PDAs, however he says PDAs will remain in fashion for a long time  in niche markets. Notebook adoption continues at a fast rate – mostly in the consumer space – with notebooks representing 48% of the market in 2006. In comparison, says Gunson, the split in Australia still sits at around 60% desktop to 40% notebook. “While there’s been some rollouts of converged devices, the main purchases are still coming from the business professionals buying their own device and using it for work.” That causes continued security headaches for CIOs, says Gunson, with regards to data walking out the door and devices being lost. Looking further ahead Gunson says the IEEE 802.11n standard will start to provide the high speed wireless that the market has been waiting for. “Two of the main inhibitors to wireless adoption by SMEs are complexity and the fact that you currently receive much faster data speeds over Ethernet. 802.11n will help to remove the speed issue, paving the way for increased adoption. This new standard, once ratified, will also provide added benefit to the home market enabling high quality video streaming.” HP'S FIVE WAYS TO TALK MOBILITY * Get the basics right Make sure you cover the basics. Find out all you can about your customer and their business: what they do, about the company, its workers, the location and geographic spread. Find out how tech savvy the work team is, and find out what has or hasn’t worked in the past. Knowledge is power. * Find out what mobility means for them Ask your customer this very simple question: ‘what does mobility mean for you?’. Mobility means different things to different people. For some it’s a remote access to emails so staff can work from home. Other companies want to power up their sales force so they can place orders while on the road. It’s important to remember that no two solutions will be the same. * Talk benefits to sell People are often more interested in what the product can do for them rather than the model number. Talk about accessing emails and making calls on one device first, then show them the product. Product specifications are important – but they should support the solution that you’ve got the customer excited about. * Think about verticals Think about on the job requirements – a tablet may be the perfect solution for landscape gardeners to sketch up ideas on the job.  For example HP’s  new range of notebooks are ideal for accounts as they have a full size keyboard with a separate numeric keypad. For example: HP Compaq nx9420 * View documents side by side with a 17” widescreen * Easy for beanies: full sized keyboard and separate numeric keypad – great for accountants or jobs that involve lots of numbers or data entry * Speedy – thanks to Intel Core Duo processors * Optional Bond-like security – this comes with an optional fingerprint sensor – the ultimate security device * Tell stories If you’ve got a customer who loves their new mobile solution  and has benefited from technology – tell their story. SMEs can be apprehensive about investing in technology and real stories will resonate with them.