Check-mate

Dubai-headquartered smart mobile device manufacturer i-mate has been enjoying a growing measure of success in targeting the enterprise market with mobility solutions. CommsMEA talks with Jack Craine, i-mate's global sales director, about the company's expanding solutions and devices portfolio.

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By  Tawanda Chihota Published  July 2, 2006

|~|imatechap200.jpg|~|i-mate's Jack Craine says the company is really excited about its product road map for the coming year and are looking forward to a busy GITEX.|~|CommsMEA: Earlier this year i-mate introduced the i-mate Suite solution, targeted at business users. What are the main characteristics and benefits of this solution, and how far across the handset portfolio will the solution be introduced?
Jack Craine: i-mate Suite offers something for both the enterprise and consumer audience. For businesses large and small, it allows for total command and control of a company's mobile data and Windows Mobile 5.0 devices. This 'plug and play' solution quickly enables a mobile workforce for any business.

This solution works with all familiar Windows Mobile 5.0 devices to safely extend the corporate networks beyond the office. Comprising three modules — i-mate Control, i-mate 1-View and i-mate Backup — the software offers true mobile functionality without losing control of either security or compromising data.

i-mate Suite complements our mobile devices as users can manage their Windows Mobile device securely wherever they are at any time.

CMEA: i-mate recently entered into a mobile email agreement with Jumeirah comprising of i-mate devices, corporate applications and support services. Given the buzz currently being generated regarding enterprise mobility, what does i-mate believe is required for it to continue being awarded contracts similar to the Jumeirah deal ahead of competitors such as Nokia, Ericsson and RIM?

JC: i-mate has a very comprehensive offering for enterprises large and small — one that is unmatched by any other handset vendor. We have customisation solutions, content, support and a wide range of form factors that make IT sense to any company…all based on the world's most familiar operating system.

Global warranty, 24/7 multi-lingual technical support and www.clubimate.com, our dedicated portal for our device owners are all indispensable tools for our corporate customers. i-mate supplies a dedicated support team for each corporate customer so that clients always deal with the same person who is familiar with their devices, history and preferences.

Highly-functional converged devices are virtual computers — i-mate gives its customers the support and content they need to make the most of their devices in order to give them back what is most important to today's busy employee — their time.

Customisation is an important part of our edge — customers can choose to have their devices customised to support their IT policies and requirements, including security settings and out-of-the-box integration of their own applications as well as extending the company's visual identity to the i-mate devices.

Our deep understanding of the Microsoft Windows Mobile platform puts us in a perfect position to develop software that fully utilises the functionality and capability of i-mate mobile devices. No other company currently has the capability to offer these kinds of solutions.

CMEA: Scale is of obvious advantage in the global mobile handset business. Given i-mate's relatively small market share of annual handset shipments, what strategies does the company have in place to remain competitive in an industry that is becoming increasingly commoditised?

JC: Two very simple strategies — value-add and support. The key is being able to provide premium support so customers can make the most of their device — this is why i-mate has created from the very beginning www.clubimate.com, a device-owner dedicated portal which has come to be known as the world's largest Windows Mobile user community. i-mate has also moved into the software space... if you deliver the right applications and solutions, like i-mate Suite, a device soon turns into a invaluable productivity-enhancing business tool and a way of life.

With the Microsoft Windows Mobile market projected to grow by more than 400% in the coming two years, i-mate is in an ideal position to lead this growth. A recent report published by analyst house Nomura says that i-mate's "strategy is spot-on for delivering what corporations require from mobility." The report continues: "To date only i-mate with Microsoft has decided to enter the market for offering enterprise grade mobile solutions, and as a result we expect that in 2006, the bulk of Microsoft mobile-enabled devices will be shipped by i-mate." We look forward to 2007 with significant confidence.
CMEA: Is the smartflip the first flip phone from i-mate? What other new directions can we expect i-mate to develop in the short to medium-term?

JC: The i-mate Smartflip is our first clamshell smartphone. We are really excited about our product road map for the coming year. i-mate has many hardware and software solutions planned to launch at GITEX (in November), our annual global launch platform.

CMEA: i-mate is generally perceived as targeting high-end and middle market devices. Is this a fair reflection of the manner in which the company is trying to position itself?
JC: i-mate has an offering that is clearly a winning proposition to the high-end business market as well as the equally important consumer market.

We are really excited about our product road map for the coming year and we are looking forward to a busy GITEX this year. There is a real momentum in the market and we are moving with it.
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