Good looks for common mobile management platform

Good Technology, with sister company Symbol, is set to offer products that can support all types of mobile devices.


Good Technology, with sister company Symbol, is set to offer products that can support all types of mobile devices.

"A Symbol device on the loading dock doesn't have the same security policies and applications as smartphones, but you don't need two products to manage them," said Brian Havener, group product manager at Motorola's Enterprise Mobility team.

In the coming months, Good plans to release more products and services that let an enterprise manage devices from the "shop floor to the corner office" using the same systems, he said.

Since Motorola acquired Good last year, Good has been working on ways to combine its enterprise e-mail offering with products from Symbol, which was also acquired by Motorola in 2007. Currently, the companies offer a variety of products in different "silos" within the same group, Havener said. "In the last six months we've been working on: Where does it make sense to put the investment to break the silos and have a common foundation of services and products," he said.

Good's product comprises two pieces: the email client and the back-end server. In the next release, expected to become available in a couple months, the server will have many more management and security features, he said. It will support other mobile applications in addition to email and will allow IT administrators to secure and manage devices as they operate over cellular networks and Wi-Fi networks.

Despite Good's ties to Motorola and Symbol, the technology will continue to support devices made by any manufacturer, Havener said. Other mobile-device management providers, like Nokia's Intellisync, have similar policies, but it's one that sets Good and Intellisync apart from a notable competitor: Microsoft.

"We don't have a single customer today, nor will we tomorrow, that has Exchange 07, all Windows Mobile 6.1 devices and the chops to essentially deploy a [Network Operations Center]," said Havener. In order to use Microsoft's Mobile Device Manager, enterprises must be running Exchange 2007 and only use mobile phones running Windows Mobile 6.1, the software that will become available possibly as soon as the second quarter this year.

Good argues that deploying its system will be easier than Microsoft's product and can offer some advantages. Because traffic to and from devices running Good's software passes through Good's network operations center, IT administrators can monitor that traffic. Checking the Good management console, they can discover a range of data about each device, including pending messages, device status, connection to networks and other history. He doesn't expect that Microsoft's Mobile Device Manager will offer all of those types of information about users.

Also to come in the near future is integration between the Good client and the PBX, Havener said. That will allow mobile users to take advantage of PBX features on their phones, such as four-digit dialling, conference calling and unified phone numbers.

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