Mobile Enterprise Tools, Part 2: The Roadside Desktop

Industry analysts report that the mobile enterprise application market reached US$1.2 billion in 2005 and is forecast to grow to $3.5 billion in 2010. Other industry studies predict that at least 40 percent the workforce will be mobile in 2007.

Part 1 of this two-part series dealt with the advantages and risks faced by companies looking to make their workforces more mobile. Part 2 details some of the specific software, hardware and applications available to help a mobile workforce take the entire office on the road.

“Integrating mobility into an enterprise is a proven way to increase employee productivity and foster a more creative working environment. As enterprise organizations grow, they need communications solutions that keep their employees connected, while meeting bottom line objectives,” Ben Guderian, vice president of marketing at SpectraLink told TechNewsWorld. SpectraLink provides workplace wireless telephone services.

A growing inventory of WiFi-enabled devices such as PDAs and dual-mode handsets will help drive enterprise demand for WiFi access in the workplace, according to Guderian.

Wireless telephony is emerging as a key choice for enterprises looking to upgrade their communications systems, as it combines the interoperability and cost effectiveness of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) with the mobility and efficiency of WiFi.

New products and services are flooding the marketplace as the mobile workforce searches for new ways to stay connected and be productive. TechNewsWorld found several very interesting products currently available that can make the mobile worker’s daily on-the-go work routine more enjoyable and productive.

International Cell Calls

MobileSphere provides wireless international long-distance solutions to enterprises, consumers, entrepreneurs and road warriors.

Typically, small business owners and consumers do not use their cell phones for international business calls because of the added expense.

“But workers are now getting rid of traditional landline phones at home. It’s just a question of time before the cell phone becomes the only phone,” said Gavin Macomber, executive vice president and cofounder of MobilSphere.

MobileSphere offers consumers and small business mobile workers Cellular LD, a service that provides discounted international calls from a cell phone.

The service can save users up to 70 percent on direct-dial international wireless calling and 40 to 50 percent over corporate calling card solutions. CellularLD reaches over 220 countries. There is no subscription plan or detailed enrollment process. A free registration on the company’s Web site and a credit card are needed.

The calling process is much the same as using a phone calling card. Using the cell phone, the user dials MobileSphere’s access number. At the prompt, the user enters the destination number followed by the pound (#) sign without pressing the cell phone’s Send key.

Macomber’s company also has a similar service for larger enterprises. CellularLD for Enterprise allows up to 20 workers to charge all usage to one corporate credit card.

“This is not yet a trend, but it is getting there,” said Macomer.

Joopz for Texting

Another service that MobilSphere provides mobile workers is Joopz.com. Joopz users can send and receive text messages between any PC and cell phone in the U.S. and Canada. While similar PC-to-cell phone texting services are available, Macomber said Joopz is the only one to provide two-way communication.

There is no software download needed, as Joopz texting is a Web-based service. The basic service for Joopz is free. Features include group messaging and message broadcasting. The basic free service limits users to sending 10 messages per month. The paid service costs $2.95 per month or $19.95 per year for unlimited messaging.

The basic service provides unlimited usage for incoming messages, two-way web texting (similar to instant messaging), group chatting, group broadcasting, scheduled texting, reminder messages, SMS (Short Message Service) forwarding and basic contact management.

“Joopz replaces the need for a Smartphone, Blackberry or Treo service. Plus, texting is easier to use than a cell phone’s small dial key pad,” said Macomber. “Texting works better than e-mail in delivery availability.”

Poor Man’s Tablet PC

Adesso’s CyberPad is a tool that turns a standard desktop or laptop computer into a tablet PC. It does not require a computer until the user is ready to transfer the data, handwritten on standard paper, to the computer.

CyberPad links handwritten notes and graphics to the computer via a USB cable. Bundled software lets users convert their handwriting into digital text. An optional SD slot provides for additional storage capacity.

CyberPad lets mobile workers draw sketches, charts or renderings and write notes, e-mail content and handwritten documents in permanent ink on any paper pad. Once tethered to a laptop or desktop computer, the user can view, edit, organize or e-mail the handwritten notes. Writing created on the CyperPad can be stored in its graphic file format or converted to text and copied into a word processing or e-mail program.

The CyberPad includes 32 MB of internal memory. This provides 26 directories (A-Z) with 99 pages available in each directory. Once connected to a PC, Adesso’s CyberPad can also convert into a fully-functional PC tablet, providing an input solution for computer artists, graphic designers, photo editors, MS Office and CAD/CAM applications. Other emerging applications include Internet whiteboard graphics and signature verification for e-commerce.

Mobile E-mail

Emoze offers free software that lets mobile workers receive and send e-mail to and from their e-mail-capable mobile phone or wireless PDA. This can be a cost-free alternative to maintaining expensive mobile messaging accounts.

Emoze pushes e-mail, calendars, tasks and contacts to mobile devices as soon as they are sent, delivering real-time synchronization anytime. Security issues do not exist, as Emoze uses 128-bit encryption with a unique key distributed during registration.

The Emoze system works across any mobile service provider network. It delivers data to and from leading brands of mobile devices, including Motorola, Nokia, Palm and Samsung. It supports all popular e-mail data sources including Lotus Notes, Microsoft Exchange, Outlook and OWA (Outlook Web-Access), POP3, Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo. It is compatible with popular mobile device operating systems including Symbian and Windows Mobile. Emoze works behind corporate firewalls regardless of the type of network and security restrictions in place or on PCs at home or on the road without any modifications.

The software application runs in the background of the Windows-based PC, integrating with the MAPI (messaging application programming interface) component of the mail application on the PC. The software monitors the activities in the mailbox and transfers all changes, compressed and encrypted, to the Emoze Global Service Network (EGSN).

A second software client resides on the mobile device and communicates with the EGSN to receive in-coming e-mails and authenticates, decrypts and sends them onto the mobile device inbox. The Emoze application does not slow down the general operation of the mobile device or interfere with other device functions.

Mobile Enterprise Tools, Part 1: The Road Warrior’s Gun Belt

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