Meeting mobility needs

Nokia’s acquisition of Intellisync was a signal of intent in the mobility market from the comms giant. Francois Bornibus reveals the firm’s next big moves

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By  Chris Whyatt Published  May 28, 2006

|~|Bornibusbody.jpg|~|Nokia is concentrating on providing devices specifically for business use and solutions for firms, says Bornibus.|~|Global comms giant Nokia is launching a fresh assault on the enterprise mobility market following the firm’s recent acquisition of Intellisync, a firm that provides platform-independent wireless messaging and applications for mobile devices. “This acquisition puts Nokia in an unparalleled position in the business mobility market,” claimed Mary McDowell, executive vice president and general manager, Nokia’s Enterprise Solutions business group, after completion of the deal in February. Francois Bornibus, vice president Nokia EMEA, Enterprise Solutions, talks to IT Weekly about the vendor’s plans in the mobile enterprise space. Enterprise Solutions is a fairly new set-up within Nokia. What is your section responsible for? We are addressing business needs; from the small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to large enterprise accounts. So our role is to address these customers and develop products and solutions to meet their needs. To do this we have two pillars: one is devices, which are specifically engineered for business use. The second is solutions. We are launching a range of devices in Q206, mostly within the E-series range. These vary in terms of what the user wants to do with them. Some are very e-mail intensive. Some are more voice intensive, but where they also want to look at their e-mails occasionally — for this the keyboard is smaller because all they really want to do is look, read —or respond yes or no. What do you think will make these devices stand out in the crowded mobile market? One of the benefits of the E-series for the enterprise also is in terms of internal operating systems. Once an operation qualifies a product, and the other one follows very quickly, you don’t have to test all the products because the platform behind it is the same: it’s totally consistent. We also support all these devices with software addressing device management. Enterprises now see these devices as part of their IT infrastructure. CIOs are starting to look at the devices and thinking ‘how can I have this in my management tool?’ So, device management is something that the enterprise really relies on. It appears that mobile e-mail is becoming increasingly essential for businesses in the Middle East. Yes, definitely. A growing solution that we see within the enterprise in terms of penetration is e-mail. We all know that mobile e-mail is currently touching the top part of the organisation. The existing barriers of today for mobile e-mail penetration are not only cost for the organisation but also choice of devices. That is why we want to provide these kind of devices. Our acquisition of Intellisync addresses the mobile solutions market. We want to provide different solutions so that behind the firewall solutions you have caustic solutions which you can add to your server. The Intellisync solutions also support Microsoft Exchange and also Lotus Domino. In terms of supporting the back- end of the enterprise, it’s very open. Intellisync is open to all devices so an organisation can use different devices, not just ones from Nokia. Our e-mail solutions with Intellisync will be diagnostic. We will get the best out of the NBC (Nokia Business Center) and the best out of Intellisync, and so will the enterprise. What are your plans for enhanced mobile voice solutions for enterprise? CIOs are starting to care more about mobile [phones] as it becomes part of their IT infrastructure. Previously, it was only voice, but because it can now receive e-mails it can also receive data. CIOs are beginning to take into account all the devices, so now you have a fixed infrastructure in terms of voice and you also have a mobile infrastructure in terms of voice — two things which are totally different to manage. One is from the mobile operator and one is fixed, and they are thinking about how to manage this — that is what we call enterprise voice. When you can have a mobile with the same functions as your deskbound landline phone, companies start to think ‘okay I don’t need my desk phone, why do I have a desk phone? Get rid of the desk phone and I‘ll just have a mobile with just one number to use.’ So you have all these enterprise solutions with the capability of the mobile, not only to go to GSM, but to go to the private branch exchange (PBX). This is a very fast growing requirement within the enterprise. What trends has Nokia identified in the enterprise mobility space? The first trend is around mobile e-mail, but we see enterprise voice solutions coming very quickly. The demand for mobile e-mail is coming from the business and they then have to convince the CIO. Wireless e-mail is by far the most general mobility solution requested and enterprise voice is coming. But we also see more solutions tailored specifically for vertical industries. We are addressing this with our partners such as Symbian. Security and synchronisation is extremely important for the enterprise. This is also a benefit from our Intellisync purchase; they started with the synchronisation of the personal digital assistant (PDA) and the desktop with a wire. For example, you are a salesforce and every morning when you go and see a customer you have a new price list. You need a system to automatically synchronise your data from the mainframe or from your enterprise to your device. This is becoming very important. The enterprise wants a total solution. And the cost of phone calls is getting cheaper, calling from PBX rather than digital subscriber line (DSL). Another key trend is centralised phonebooks. For the CIO there is an immediate interest: cost, flexibility, and convenience leading to increased efficiency and productivity. Who do you work with to provide a solution package for a customer? We have partnerships with Cisco, Avaya and Alcatel. The first question I have after we do a presentation is ‘what about security?’ The information I have on the device is probably worth 15 times more than the device itself. That is a question we had not encountered until we formed enterprise solutions two years ago. If you have a large enterprise, they really want a hosted solution that someone else is taking care of (mobile e-mail network). But for an SMB that already has someone taking care of it, we migrate the NBC into Intellisync and they offer the hosted solution. Mobile e-mail will filter down, it’s just a question of time. One way is cost and devices. A lot of the solutions are linked to a specific device. We have hosted solutions and non-hosted solutions. What do you see as the benefits of enterprise mobility? Doing all the chores on your device, rather than having to touch base back at the office. Dubai is a good example, as the hub for the Middle East. For CIOs, the issue is ‘what do I do if my employee loses its device?’; ‘I need a new application on my devices, how do I do it?’. With our solutions you press one button on the IT backbone, and immediately all these things are implemented. How to manage them all is the key. The solution is central device management: The ability to erase applications and ‘kill’ devices if they are lost and the capability to load new applications over the device over the air. ||**||

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