- MobileCon, held from October 16-18th in San Jose, was the last trade show of its kind, as CTIA prepares to merge its bi-annual shows (roughly divided in 2013 into enterprise mobility this October and “everything else wireless” last spring) and re-emerge a bigger and better show next fall. Needless to say, there was a lot of the usual grumbling among exhibitors about lack of leads and many more vendors than buyers.
- However, many of the leading enterprise MDM and mobile security vendors showed up to demo their wares, and a few really interesting companies appeared on analysts’ radar screens with innovative solutions. Carriers were largely absent, although Verizon demoed Isis/NFC-enabled payment solutions, and Sprint hosted a “hackathon” in which developers had a few hours to come up with reasonably usable mobile apps using state of the art development tools and enabler.
So if lack of enthusiasm and sales leads constituted the “low lights”, what were the highlights? For me they included talking to innovative companies like GLOBO and Macheen. GLOBO focuses on the nascent SMB BYOD segment and is a $100 million, 17 year old company traded on the London Stock Exchange. It has been white labeling to 20 operators in 30 countries a suite of services under the brand name of “GO!” which make features phones act like smartphones. This core business and its infrastructure provides GLOBO with capital for expansion into new areas. GLOBO now offers an app store downloadable GO Office application which provides a secure container, secure browser, secure camera utility, secure peer to peer messaging solution for team communications, and an application development utility called app zone in which codeless drag and drop apps can be deployed on all major OSs. GLOBO acquired a little-known MDM vendor named Notify, to provide it with a basic MDM platform as well. GLOBO also offers “Enterprise Mobility in a Box” for SMBs which includes all of the above plus ten Microsoft Office 365 licenses, for $699 a year with 10 Gig of cloud storage per device per year. GLOBO has an SMB-friendly distribution channel, which includes Dell, Staples, Office Depot, and Tiger Direct, tech distributor Ingram Micro, and major league SIs such as IBM Global Services.
Macheen is a three year old company that provides multi-country access with a single Gemalto SIM (with “blended” roaming rates in 80 countries and local rates in 11) and is now devoted to making broadband available to everyone by breaking the traditional carrier model and functionalizing applications in the cloud, so that customers only pay for what they need. For example an employee might only need Outlook email and SFDC access, so why pay for an expensive monthly data plan? Macheen is a new brand formerly hidden behind white label solutions such as Lenovo Multi-Access and Dell Net Ready brands. Its goal is to connect the end-user and his/her devices to just the sites, services and applications they need, for the devices they need it on, wherever they are, without a data plan or “Wi-Fi leash”. The Macheen cloud provides: connectivity plans by time, application, location and policy; individualized connectivity to specific cloud services and network apps without requiring carrier data plans; ability to switch subscription policy and plans over-the-air based on dynamic rules; cross-carrier, cross-border connectivity with single SIM; customizable roaming zones; a powerful analytics engine; and “Pinpoint” technology that applies policy to mobile data traffic.
In short, it’s still worthwhile going to CTIA shows because there are always a few surprises like these to keep analysts not only awake but enthusiastic.