Network Management Goes Cellular
Category: Tablets, Smartphones, Notebooks
The industry is rich with products to manage your computers and mobile devices, but once the devices go out on the cellular networks these capabilities are lost to IT managers. Tracking devices is difficult, if not impossible with conventional tools.
NetMotion Wireless has a solution to this problem with its Locality service. Client systems, both PCs with cellular modems and mobile devices, run an agent that reports back to the service. This allows Locality to create a coverage map for the company not based on the carriers' account of service, but on the actual available service. Consider the image below:
The image shows metropolitan Seattle. The software can show multiple views on the data collected, such as the signal strength of various carriers (NetMotion Wireless partners with "all major US and Canadian wireless carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless and Telus," according to the company). By zooming in on a particular location you can see specific details of the connection for a particular user at a particular point in time.
Even without sharing data, the service has clear benefits for smaller companies, such as inventory management of mobile devices. Even many large companies keep track of mobile devices using informal mechanisms like an Excel spreadsheet. Because these devices are mobile, the are, almost by definition, inaccurate, because they can't track location. But Locality does this automatically, presenting IT with a list of devices under management, which users are supposed to have them, their last reported location, and the date of their last report.
For clients, Locality currently supports Windows (Intel-based notebooks with cellular modems, not Windows Phone or RT) and Android 2.2 or higher. The company says it is working on an iOS client, but the nature of the app in that it gathers and reports field test data from the phone creates a conflict with Apple's developer guidelines for the App Store. NetMotion Wireless says the iOS version will be available Q3 2013.
Monitoring and management of mobile devices is more critical to some customers than to others. NetMotion Wireless has many government customers that use the service to track roving social services workers and police, among others, and the value in these cases is high as it helps the organization to maximize the effectiveness of the remote worker. But even among less travel-bound organizations this service should appeal to the IT department.
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