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Fooling around at the less glamorous end of mobility

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Mobile workshop We spent some time last week discussing requirements for mobile devices and got quite a bit of feedback on how to select and deploy the right kit for professional users.

This culminated in a poll towards the end of the week in which we learned, perhaps not surprisingly, that while many with smaller installations offer their users quite a bit of freedom, things need to be more controlled when you get beyond a user base of about 10.

At this point, the usual practice seems to be to define a series of standard devices which are used for business purposes. These may then be used to offer users choice in a more controlled manner (more common for mid-sized installations) or allocated to specific job roles and issued very prescriptively (the approach favoured for larger scale deployments).

We'll issue a report with some of the specific numbers included at some point soon, but in the meantime we want to turn our attention to the less glamorous end of mobility – using mobile technology to introduce efficiencies into more "blue collar" areas such as field service management and logistics.

We know from the survey we conducted earlier in the month that quite a few of you are active in this area, but the big question we have is whether you should think of this as separate to dealing with the needs of the professional white collar contingent.

Should you, for example, be looking to put separate solutions or infrastructure in place for mobile email on the one hand and access to your SAP system or similar on the other, or is it sensible to look for a platform and management framework that can deal with both?

At a higher level, we could even ask whether any of the mobile stuff should be separate to your existing middleware, security, and management framework anyway, and if not, in which areas is it particularly important to be properly integrated or coordinated.

So, if you have grappled with these or related questions before, we'd be really interested in hearing about your thoughts and experience, and particularly any advice you have for others trying to make decisions in this area. You can give us your feedback as a comment below. ®

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