Microsoft has announced its first dedicated mobile device management server and a strategic new business partnership to complement the Windows Mobile operating system and help more businesses take advantage of mobile solutions for their employees.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has unveiled several strategic offerings by saying “People expect to be able to do more and more with their mobile phone, We’re building on our expertise across servers, operating systems, and services to deliver Windows Mobile-based experiences that bridge the things people want to do at work and at home.”
Responding to customer needs beyond mobile email and calendaring, Microsoft introduced the Microsoft System Center Mobile Device Manager 2008, a new mobile-dedicated server that helps companies manage Windows Mobile phones similar to Windows laptops and PCs.
With Mobile Device Manager, companies can deliver new applications to phones over the air, as well as connect people via Mobile VPN (virtual private network) to more securely access critical data like expense reports or customer information.
To help more businesses purchase and manage mobile phone deployments, Microsoft announced a strategic partnership with Enterprise Mobile, a new mobile enterprise service partner created by Corporate Software founder and PC-reselling pioneer Mort Rosenthal.
Enterprise Mobile will build, deploy and manage custom-made solutions that will work with a variety of mobile operators and phone manufacturers.
AT&T has announced that it will support Mobile Device Manager for business customers next year, and Sprint has also announced it will enhance its portfolio of Windows Mobile phones in 2008 to support Mobile Device Manager.
The AT&T Tilt and other Windows Mobile 6 smart devices to be introduced by AT&T later this year also will support Mobile Device Manager. Other recently launched phones in the US include the HTC Advantage, Mogul by HTC from Sprint , Touch by HTC from Sprint, , T-Mobile Wing, Verizon’s Motorola Q9m, Verizon’s Samsung i-760, Verizon Wireless SMT5800 and Verizon Wireless XV6800.
Additionally, new phones or updates to support Mobile Device Manager are expected to be available beginning the second quarter of 2008 from HP, HTC, i-mate, Intermec, Motorola, Palm, Inc. and Samsung.
The new server, a first for the Mobile Communications Business at Microsoft, is expected to be available in the first half of 2008.
Mobile Device Manager is a single solution for managing Windows Mobile phones that addresses business’s needs to manage complex environments by enabling IT departments to cover a series of activities related to device management.
Mobile Device Manager allows businesses to use a single window to inventory and manage all deployed Windows Mobile phones. IT. It also allow IT managers to add and provision Windows Mobile phones, including a self-service device enrollment model that gives IT professionals a simple way to provision phones.
The platform offers new features and tools to help IT professionals control and protect sensitive corporate information on Windows Mobile phones. As part of these new features the improve security management using Active Directory and Group Policy will allow organizations to set and control policies in a single environment, similar to desktop and laptop management.
IT administrators can configure rules for any number of their Windows Mobile phones to meet organizational requirements such as managing communications and camera functionality.
Mobile Device Manager uses file encryption on the phone to protect data such as email and calendaring, My Document Folders and the Microsoft Internet Explorer Web cached directory. When combined with storage card encryption enabled by Windows Mobile 6, IT administrators have complete data encryption capabilities on the device.
Using the new Mobile VPN, Mobile Device Manager provides security-enhanced access to data behind the corporate firewall, opening up a world of possibilities for businesses to offer a variety of line of business and productivity applications available for Windows Mobile such as Flowfinity, Formotus, Microsoft Dynamics Mobile, Mobitor, Pyxis and SAT.