Managing a mobile mess

Managing a mobile mess

With mobility on the rise, so too are IT administrator bugbears. Yet, the mobile mess should be seen as a channel opportunity.

Global marketing manager for the popular Windows Mobile-based device manufacturer i-mate, Allison Caruk, recommended only downloading the headers of emails to see whether the message warrants further reading. She suggested users turn on Wi-Fi roaming when in a local network, and syncing email and applications via an offline cable when in the office or at home to save on download volumes.

Thankfully, mobile data prices are decreasing. An as-yet-unreleased report by Ovum found a price war in the laptop data card market has flowed through to handsets.

In June 2007, for example, a Telstra PAYG plan was $15 per megabyte. It’s now just $2 per megabyte. In June 2007, where Optus’ $14.95 plan included 20MB of data, users can now enjoy 500MB.

5. Performance

How does the organisation ensure the mobile solution performs on a network adequately to ensure the desired productivity?

With all the overheads associated with mobility, one needs to ensure the networks being connected to perform well enough to enable the productivity pay-offs.

While 3G networks and especially Telstra’s Next G has broadened the reach of high-speed mobile broadband, remote work is still fraught with performance problems, blackspots and situations where it’s either too much of a struggle or too bigger expense to gain remote access corporate applications.

Organisations such as Citrix, Cisco and Riverbed offer solutions in this space.

One solution oft-considered is thin-client technology such as Citrix’s ICA protocol – in which an organisation might host an application in a datacentre, deliver screenshots out to devices, but limit the amount of throughput to a threshold of say, 20kb.

Riverbed (SteelHead), Cisco, Citrix (WANScaler) and several other organisations offer an alternative – WAN optimisation. Generally sold via a network appliance, the technology uses compression, caching, and the streamlining of network protocols, to basically “make networks run faster”.

Riverbed offers a stripped-down version software that can be uploaded to a Windows or Mac laptop to connect back to the corporate datacentre – but this software isn’t yet available on smaller devices.

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