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UAE entrepreneur creates Android platform

Droid Shield is designed as a Android device management system for users and enterprises

UAE entrepreneur creates Android  platform
Mohamed Hamedi, creator of Android enterprise platform Droid Sheild, said there was a hole in the UAE market for an Android-based solution.

Droid Shield, an innovative enterprise platform for managing Android-based devices created by UAE-based Mohamed Hamedi is poised to hit the Dubai marketplace.

Hamedi developed the idea of Droid Sheild after noticing a lack of enterprise capabilities and solutions for Android devices in the UAE market. This led Hamedi to look at what kind of features people would want in an enterprise application for Android, and how he could create a solution to meet those requirements.

"I looked at the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, what are the key features people are looking for and why does it not exist on an Android platform, and then I tried to add development features from there," Hamedi told ITP.net.

Once he had discovered what people were looking for, he began creating Droid Shield.

"I spent a couple of months designing the architecture behind it, designing the feature set and there are certain key points I wanted to do, basically I wanted to focus on Android. I did not want to spread myself thin and support multiple platforms, I wanted to be the best at delivering an Android solution. The other thing is I wanted to have a scalable solution where I can benefit by being in Dubai but also benefit by having access to the global market," he said.

Hamedi, and his team of five developers, has created Droid Shield in a software-as-a-service model, so it is easily scalable, customisable and can be localised for the specific requirements of clients.

The company is focusing the software specifically on the Middle East market for the moment, even though the region does not have a huge penetration of Android devices, Hamedi says the reason for this is that there are other Android enterprise applications in other regions, but he wanted to be the first and give a high-quality experience to customers.

"In this field where you have the 800 pound gorillas who may not have the cost-effective structure to deliver cost-effective solutions to smaller markets, I don't have that high cost, I can go to smaller countries which may not have massive penetration and say ‘I can give you a specific solution', and be the first to enter that market, so this is really the thinking behind [developing for the Middle East]," said Hamedi.

One of the other differentiators between Droid Shield and its competition is that Droid Shield will not be sold direct, but rather delivered as a service to partner companies.

"Our strategy is to work with our partners, we will do revenue sharing. We have two models at the moment. We can host Droid Shield on our own cloud architectures and host online and we can whitelabel, so company X sells our solution, as they sell we will do revenue sharing with them, or, where they might not want their content to be hosted with us, they can run their own on-site server and we will sell it to them on a license basis," Hamedi added.

The key features of Droid Shield can be broken down into two categories, firstly the soft features which are customer-based. These include features such as being able to locate your device through their individual Droid Shield online platform. Users click a locate button within their interface and a map pops up showing the exact location of the device.

"Many of the features came about from everyday usage, because all of the phones have GPS and other tricks, you can even create digital parameters for what the customers want," said Hamedi.

Other soft features include digital remote locking, so no-one can access a user's phone, remote wipe in case the phone is stolen and an audible alarm.

"If I put my phone on silent, I can't call it to find it, but if I go to our remote portal, I can go to audible alarm, it can disable the silent setting so it can make a noise and I can find it," said Hamedi.

One of the key features Droid Shield will be providing to their partners is the ability to create an apps store and push apps to users. These apps can be sold specifically to their customers and the company can install or uninstall applications.

The hard features, or enterprise capabilities Droid Shield will deliver are more security focused, and address compliance issues, according to Hamedi.

"One of the things we will be rolling out is managed email clients, so as an employee, all your emails will be controlled by your company or corporation for auditing and so on," he said.

The company will also be offering a whitelisting service, this is particularly necessary in the unregulated Android marketplace says Hamedi, to allow an enterprise to control how many and what applications a person can install onto their device, and only enable apps that have been approved.

"As an enterprise you want to be able to say you can only install X amount of applications, you cannot install anything else, but what we have done is allowed the flexibility that the customer in the future can request authorisation for an application," he added.

One of the other important features of Droid Shield is user visibility on the permissions for a lot of the applications. According to Hamedi, a lot of rogue apps have recently appeared, which are disguised as a useful app, but once installed, begin sending SMS messages to premium rate numbers, that are controlled by creators of the rogue app..

"What we do is analyse the apps you have pre-installed and we will be able to show you what permissions you have authorised. So we can give you a report saying which app uses what," he said.

Since Droid Shield debuted at DemoCamp Dubai 2010 last month, there has been much interest in the company.

"DemoCamp was a great opportunity to pitch the product. Right after the meeting there were a couple of interested parties and there are a couple that have worked in the telco market and we are going to be working with them quite closely to introduce out product to the telcos and some service providers," said Hamedi.

Droid Shield is currently in talks with interested parties and will be announcing investors later this month.

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