Mobile Security and Application Ecosystems in Flux

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Managed mobility services for TEM/MDM are maturing and commoditizing, and the ecosystem of vendors partnering with carries and SIs has settled down to a handful of leading platforms.
  • Now that mobile apps and mobile security are leading opportunities for service providers, they may once again have to pick the right partners, this time from a complex set of vendors which each approaches the market differently.

Mobile operators and IT service providers have been offering managed mobility services for several years, but the set of services is expanding.  While TEM (and associated logistics for ordering and provisioning devices and services) and MDM were the primary offers, there is currently a focus on new services for mobile application development and management and for mobile security.  On the application development side, while carriers had initially made partnerships for mobile enterprise application (MEAP) services using the platforms of vendors such as Antenna Software and SAP/Sybase, there is now a broader ecosystem of vendors that offer development tools, pre-written mobile apps, and enhanced enterprise app stores.  Mobile application management (MAM) is also a relatively new category, offering ongoing lifecycle management and usage analysis/optimization of mobile apps once they have been deployed.  On the security side, application-level security (also called ‘app wrapping’) is being offered as an alternative or complement to device, network, and perimeter security options to safe-guard data accessed from or resident on mobile devices.  There have also been a number of recent acquisitions that will affect the choices of vendors made directly by enterprise buyers and by service providers. Continue reading “Mobile Security and Application Ecosystems in Flux”

Software-Defined Networking: Part 2

M. Spanbauer
M. Spanbauer

Summary Bullets:

  • NEC, IBM BNT, HP, and Juniper have committed to support and released OpenFlow-capable code.
  • The greatest impediment to mass-market adoption will be commercial support.

If you have read the trade magazines and press materials around network technology over the last six to twelve months, you have noticed a decided uptick in the number of articles that focus on SDN and OpenFlow.  These articles have covered the topics from the technology vendor perspective, as well as highlighting the academic and research communities’ support and interest in it.  There are commercial products available today through a joint effort from NEC and IBM.  HP announced the general availability of OpenFlow-capable switch software on a large swath of its switches, and Juniper committed to supporting OpenFlow within the SDK for its Junos developer community.  This is a demonstration of the networking community’s belief that there is promise and a bright future for this enabling technology.  Though conceived originally within the academic world for the purpose of network control and segregation to enable researchers, it has long since been perceived as a solution for certain ailments in the enterprise to address the scale and flexibility of networks.  It is clear with the increase in inquiries from both enterprises and observers, however, that interest in this movement is reaching critical mass.  The question is: When will it be commercially available, at scale, and supported in complex environments? Continue reading “Software-Defined Networking: Part 2”

The True Value to Business Users of UC Service Features

M. Halama
M. Halama

Summary Bullets:

  • UC services are becoming increasingly feature-rich.
  • Not all features are valuable enough to sway business buying decisions.

Unified communications (UC) have long held promise for service providers as an opportunity to differentiate services, add value for the customer, add revenue streams, and make their services ‘stickier,’ and in 2012, more players are building up a head of steam to drive new service elements such as video conferencing.  Those already in the video conferencing game will respond by offering more features or competitive pricing.  Each UC feature has a value in price for the service provider, as well as a cost in development and manufacture that they pay technology vendors.  Even long-established, standard features are an ongoing cost in order to keep them interoperating with new features.  There are already numerous features offered in today’s UC services, for instance: abbreviated dial plans; call hold; music on hold; caller ID presentation; call waiting; call logs; directory/contacts; call park; find-me/follow-me; click to call; dial ‘0’ for company operator; softphone; audio conferencing; distinctive ringing; do not disturb; net conferencing; direct international dialling; call forwarding; reservation-less, scheduled and assisted audio, video and telepresence conferencing; real-time utilization statistics; and many, many more as standard and optional. Continue reading “The True Value to Business Users of UC Service Features”

Who Should Provide Your Cloud Infrastructure and How Would You Like to Pay?

M. Halama
M. Halama

Summary Bullets:

  • Data centres and networks, above all else, are key to enabling any cloud service.
  • The gatekeepers of infrastructure will not reap the early and mid-term rewards of cloud services.

Data centres and public networks are key to enabling clouds, whether they are IaaS, PaaS or SaaS; hybrid, private or public clouds.  The very notion of ‘the cloud’ springs from the visualization of networks and data centre elements as a cloud.  Without data centres, cloud content and applications have nowhere to be stored and interaction would not be possible.  Without public networks, cloud customers could not access centralized data centres.  So, data centre owners and network providers reasonably expect to gather a major chunk of the value from customers’ spending in the growing cloud market. Continue reading “Who Should Provide Your Cloud Infrastructure and How Would You Like to Pay?”

Taking Your BYOD on Easter Vacation – Securely

B. Ostergaard
B. Ostergaard

Summary Bullets:

  • With the holidays, we take corporate data on our mobile devices to exotic locations.
  • We are not always the best people to ensure the safety of that data.

As we all get into the Easter vacation spirit and pack our bags for holiday destinations, the mobile device and the tablet are right there with us. However, not everyone heading to a sunny destination has the same state-of-the-art mobile gadgets as the average American or European traveller has these days, and a lot of devices with corporate data on board are about to change hands, albeit illicitly.  So, what should a mobile device ‘sun screen option’ provide us holiday-makers with to protect our data, and who should be managing the device from a corporate perspective? Continue reading “Taking Your BYOD on Easter Vacation – Securely”

App Platform Vendors Add to Enterprises’ Confusion over Mobility

C. Dunlap
C. Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • Application platform providers’ general lack of a mobility strategy adds to the market confusion over mobile application platforms.
  • 2012 will be a key year in integration projects between EAP and MEAP.

No one needs a PowerPoint slide to convince a CIO of the unprecedented speed with which the mobile revolution has hit the industry.  Most execs are scrambling to get a mobile strategy in place after realizing the importance of mobile applications to their business’s future growth.  However, many receive a rude awakening when they learn that not all traditional application platform providers have a mobile strategy in place themselves which provides enterprises with the middleware integration necessary to connect mobile applications with back-end systems.  This integration is critical both from a B2E perspective, so that businesses may react more nimbly to the real-time needs of their customers, and from a B2C perspective, so consumers receive real-time information about services and products based on factors such as their location and history. Continue reading “App Platform Vendors Add to Enterprises’ Confusion over Mobility”

The Independent Data Center: Carrier Customer, Channel, Competitor?

B. Washburn
B. Washburn

Summary Bullets:

  • Despite providing advanced services to an enterprise base, FiberMedia executives note that carriers can have trouble seeing the carrier-neutral data center provider as an important customer.
  • tw telecom stands out as explicitly interested in end-to-end networking into third-party data centers; other big providers may choose to do so, but have not gone public with their plans.

Though they can be a significant draw to network revenue, service providers seem mixed on their ties with third-party data center partners.  Take FiberMedia Group, for example; it is a carrier-neutral, independent data center/cloud services provider mostly in the New York City area, with six facilities and 140,000 square feet of floor space.  Like its peers, the company is working to increase data center value per square foot.  The company is strong in storage, disaster recovery, and business continuity; it sells private and public cloud services, the latter built with vendors such as VMware, HP, Dell, and IBM.  FiberMedia makes ongoing investments in tools in its customer-facing management portal.  The company also has added metering equipment, providing options such as metered electrical billing for larger customers. Continue reading “The Independent Data Center: Carrier Customer, Channel, Competitor?”

Communications Market Needs More Fish Out of Water

B. Shimmin
B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • Despite marketing rhetoric, Enterprise Connect and its exhibitors are still struggling to blend communications and collaboration.
  • One solution is to invite unusual exhibitors steeped in collaborative business solutions outside of the realm of unified communications.

As a dyed in the wool software enthusiast, I often feel a bit out of my element at trade shows like last week’s Enterprise Connect, where solutions come in rack unit increments and business value is measured in port densities. Over the past year, especially after show organizers dropped the VoiceCon moniker in favor of a less PBX-centric name, Enterprise Connect has shown signs of becoming a venue capable of reflecting the needs of enterprise customers both today and tomorrow. That is, an enterprise where collaboration and communication not only co-exist but also understand and directly drive business value. But as my compatriot IT Connection blogger, Jerry Caron, pointed out yesterday, most of the vendors exhibiting at Enterprise Connect have not yet heeded this memo. Continue reading “Communications Market Needs More Fish Out of Water”

Collaboration and Communications: A House Divided

J. Caron
J. Caron

Summary Bullets:                

  • The Enterprise Connect event delivered on key social, video and hosted themes
  • Generally, though, the bigger Collaboration issues were sidelined—at least temporarily

Social is inevitable. Video is hot. Hosted is intriguing. Looking for themes from the 2012 edition of the Enterprise Connect conference held last week in Orlando? There you have them. And not a terribly surprising bunch they are. Indeed, the industry of technology suppliers and service providers dutifully followed through on promises to focus their energy on these issues at the event. Rightfully so, as these issues are the most important drivers for next-generation enterprise communications – a communications environment that embraces social networking techniques at its core, that handles personal video as if it was simply voice, and that can be deployed in any way that the buyer’s heart desires. Continue reading “Collaboration and Communications: A House Divided”