Michael Finneran
Michael F. Finneran, is President of dBrn Associates, Inc., a full service advisory firm specializing in wireless and mobility; services...
Read Full Bio >>

Michael Finneran | January 23, 2012 |


IBM Goes Wide and Deep on Mobility

IBM Goes Wide and Deep on Mobility Mobility managers with large numbers of devices and applications to support, particularly those in companies with an investment in Lotus Notes, should keep IBM in their game plan.

Mobility managers with large numbers of devices and applications to support, particularly those in companies with an investment in Lotus Notes, should keep IBM in their game plan.

I just returned from 3 days at IBM's annual Lotusphere conference in Orlando, and while IBM is focusing primarily on bringing social media concepts into business processes, particularly with their Connections product, there is a mobility element into everything they do. However, IBM doesn't do anything from just one angle, and behind the scenes the company has been developing a raft of mobile security, device management, and applications development tools.

The one problem with IBM's mobility offerings is that they have so many of them and they all have names that provide no clue as to what they actually do. Fortunately I got to spend some time with Rob Ingram, Senior Manager, Mobile Social Business Strategy, who moderated the session "Strategy in Action: IBM Mobile for Social Business", and he walked me through the forest.

First, IBM does offer mobile clients for the Apple iOS and Android platforms under the name Sametime Mobile Client; their partner RIM offers one for the BlackBerry platform. The iOS and Android clients got an upgrade this past August and now offer presence and IM (individual and group with picture capabilities), as well as push notifications, so a user who has been off-line receives alerts regarding text or other items received as soon as they log in. The network (e.g. Apple's Push Notification Server) doesn't deliver the actual message, only the "alert". The user connects to Sametime when they are back on line and the message is delivered directly over a secure connection.

With that upgrade, IBM also included location-based presence on the Android implementation, so the user's location can be provided along with their presence status. For privacy reasons, the user has the ability to limit which colleagues are allowed to see that location.

However, IBM's offerings reach into several other areas of mobility. First, there is Lotus Notes Traveler, IBM's push email and PIM (personal information manager) synching capability. Like Microsoft's Exchange Active Sync (EAS), Traveler also provides some basic mobile device management (MDM) capabilities like policy enforcement, remote wipe (partial and full), plus the ability to block unencryptable transmissions and deactivate the device’s camera (on iOS devices).

For MDM capabilities beyond Notes Traveler, IBM is rolling out the Tivoli End Point Manager. An extension to the Tivoli Management Framework that provides hardware and software inventory and software distribution capabilities for large networks of desktops and laptops, the End Point Manager will extend those capabilities for mobile devices. The product is based on IBM's acquisition of BigFix, Inc. in July of last year, and the Tivoli End Point Manager will support iOS, Android, Symbian, Windows Mobile, and Windows Phone devices.

While it can detect "jailbroken" (iOS) and "rooted" (Android) devices, the Tivoli End Point Manager still doesn't include an "internal app store" function, though IBM has developed (but not yet productized) that capability and uses it on its own internal network. Detecting "jailbroken" or "rooted" devices is critically important for enterprise security because those compromised devices can allow non-sanctioned software to be loaded on someone’s personal device. It also supports application blacklisting to prevent specific applications from being installed.

Further on the security front, IBM is upgrading a legacy mobility product called Lotus Mobile Connect (LMC). Originally developed for laptops, LMC provides a secure tunnel between the mobile device and the corporate network with the ability to maintain that security as the user roams across 3G/4G and Wi-Fi networks; that security is FIPS 140-2 compliant. This is similar to the persistent wireless connectivity provided by NetMotion Wireless. LMC can do clientless secure proxy access for any device, and they are evaluating a future client for Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) VPN APIs.

IBM is looking at other options for remote security. In the IBM Labs pavilion, developers were showing a further enhancement to LMC that would provide secure access on an application-by-application basis. Using a VPN secure tunnel connection might not be good enough for all enterprise users, according to IBM; the problem is that once the secure tunnel is established, any application on the mobile device can access the enterprise network through it. So if the user has installed a compromised application, that secure tunnel just gave it access to the entire corporate network.

Most MDM solutions address this concern with application white/blacklisting, but the IBM developers feel that might not be not proactive enough, as there can be a time lag before a blacklisted application is identified. With this capability, access for a particular application can be cut off immediately. This enhancement will work with the core LMC capability, allowing a user to roam across multiple wireless networks with the secure tunnel intact and without requiring the user to reauthenticate.


March 7, 2018

Video collaboration is experiencing significant change and innovation-how can your enterprise take advantage? In this webinar, leading industry analyst Ira Weinstein will present detailed analysis

February 21, 2018

Business agility has become the strongest driver for enterprises to begin migrating their communications to the cloud-and its a benefit that enterprises are already realizing. To gain this benefit

February 7, 2018

Enterprises are starting to grasp the critical importance of security and compliance in their team collaboration deployments. And once the risks are mitigated, your enterprise can integrate these n

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.