Nokia taps security channel for mobile email vision

Nokia taps security channel for mobile email vision

Nokia's plans to extend its corporate presence through a new mobile email server will be heavily reliant on its existing local distribution relationships for security products.

The Nokia Business Centre product, a server-based offering for making email accessible on Java-capable mobile phones and other handheld devices, will be rolled out in Australia from January 2006.

Brightpoint Australia will be the local product distributor, while CSC and Alphawest have signed up as resellers.

"We are focusing firstly on Alphawest and CSC mainly because we have had ongoing relationships with them around our firewall and gateway business, and they've expressed an interest in moving into the mobility space," Nokia's enterprise solutions division marketing manager, Brad Reed, said.

Experience in integration issues was also critical for the success of the product, and any future resellers would require demonstrated competence in that space, he said.

No additional resellers will be taken on until the existing partnerships are well established in the market.

Incentive programs to encourage uptake of the new platform were under development, but details would not be released prior to the January launch, Reed said.

Despite the focus on integration, such schemes are unlikely to include bundling deals combining the two product families.

"There's no intention at this point to bundle with the firewall," senior vice-president for Nokia Enterprise Solutions, David Petts, said.

However, creating a secure environment around the email server would be a critical task for integrators.

"Offering a complete security solution is key if IT managers are going to adopt this," Petts said.

Nokia is hoping that the Business Centre will stem the rapid growth of Research in Motion's BlackBerry device family, which dominates the mobile email market with around 3.5 million units sold.

One selling point for the Nokia platform will be tighter security control. While BlackBerry relies on all mail passing through RIM's network operations centre in Canada, the Business Centre solution will run on a business' own servers.

"To date, the penetration of mobile email has been pretty small," Petts said. "It is a huge opportunity."

Of around 650 million corporate email inboxes worldwide, just 6 million had mobile access, he said.

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