Remote Control for BlackBerrys, Enterprise Mobile Management Support for iPad
Mobile management software firm Zenprise today introduced smartphone remote control capabilities to its MobileManager platform for use with the BlackBerry OS.
Also in Zenprise news today: the company is providing enterprise support for the Apple iPad.
The new remote software lets mobile IT staff remotely connect and view a user's smartphone screen, in the same way similar applications do for desktop PC troubleshooting.
BlackBerry Remote Control is available today as part of Zenprise Device Manager. In addition to Device Manager, the Zenprise MobileManager platform includes modules that automate service, security and expense management for smartphones, and now, also for the iPad, which goes on sale April 3.
Though Remote Control currently only supports the BlackBerry OS, it will soon also be available for iPhone, Windows Mobile, Palm webOS and Android platforms, Ahmed Datoo, vice president of marketing at Zenrprise, told EnterpriseMobileToday.com.
He said remote control functionality prevents downtime, as mobile managers, frustrated by trying to troubleshoot without seeing the device, often wind up having users out in the field ship the smartphone back to the IT support office to be fixed.
"Generally, trying to solve problems with users' smartphones can be categorized in two buckets. The first is, 'How do I do that?' for instance, create a calendar. The second is, 'Something's not working correctly,' they're not getting e-mails or something like that. Remote Control lets IT fix problems by seeing what's running on the smartphone, and by giving them the ability to fix it themselves. One of our clients has 85 different firmware versions running on 8,000 devices, so it's hard to troubleshoot unless you can see what's going on," Datoo said.
Remote Control is accessed through a Web-based interface from the Zenprise Device Manager console. All software is deployed and installed over-the-air. Role-based views can be created for IT managers, IT administrators and help desk representatives.
BlackBerry Remote Control Key Features: Mobile Management, Mobile Security
Once mobile managers remotely log onto an employee's smartphone to see and control the device's screen just as if they had the device physically with them, there is an added benefit. Once in control, the employee can watch the representative navigate the screen, which can be helpful in training the employee on how to best use the mobile device.
Remote Control can also allow support staff to move quickly to resolve mobile security issues -- remotely navigating a smartphone's screen, IT can change configurations, troubleshoot operating system issues and isolate and contain threats before they spread to other smartphones by disabling network access, killing rogue processes, uninstalling applications and removing malware.
The new service can also help recover lost smartphones and protect stolen ones. It allows IT help desk representatives to remotely enable the device's ringer and call the phone, allowing the employee find and retrieve the device on their own. Lost or stolen smartphones can also be located and wiped to ensure corporate data is not compromised.
iPad as Next Big Enterprise Mobile Device
Meanwhile, on the Apple front, Datoo expects the iPad will mirror the iPhone's pattern in terms of workplace adoption. The iPhone first entered the enterprise following widespread consumer adoption, he said, and if the iPad is to follow a similar trajectory, consumers will likely seek to connect their personal iPads to the corporate network.
"In today’s enterprise environment, an employee’s mobile device is an increasingly personal choice and end users want flexibility on which device to use when they’re mobile. Zenprise’s ability to support mobile devices such as the iPad right at the onset of consumer adoption is a major advantage for our enterprise customers. Automating and quickly remediating device issues allows IT departments to be just as flexible in supporting, managing and securing whatever device the employee uses, including the iPad," said Datoo.
The iPad MobileManager software will automatically identify all iPads connecting to the enterprise and provide reports of iPads by user, department or geographic region.
It will also detect infrastructure-related problems that would prevent an iPad user from accessing enterprise resources such as e-mail and can flag corporate access network problems, carrier issues, backend mail server problems or Web server issues, according to the company.
Zenprise MobileManager can also help mobile IT managers adhere to corporate security policies by ensuring iPad users have appropriate security policies applied, for example, making sure an iPad has a password, will auto-lock after periods of inactivity and so on.
It also runs automated troubleshooting tests to identify and remediate user configuration errors, server configuration problems, network issues or server availability problems.