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Taking the Enterprise Mobile: Developer Roundtable

Though it is certainly exciting and fast moving technology, mobility has still managed to schlep sloppily into the enterprise. It's here, arguably, but its transformative powers are elusive. Find out what four developers say about the recent past and the immediate potential for a truly mobilized enterprise in this fast-paced roundtable discussion with DevX editors.


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n February, DevX Editorial Director Michael McCarthy and Editor-in-chief Lori Piquet sat down with four developers—two in the U.S. and two in Europe—to discuss the mobilization of the enterprise. Why don't we have more choice in enterprise applications? Why is all the choice on the consumer side? Do the carriers have too much power? What's holding us back? Device power, bandwidth, platform issues, or something else?

Think nobody knows the answers? These guys do.

Our panel:

  • Nadav Gur, Mobimate
  • Tapio Jokinen, Medixine
  • Craig Senick, Mobility Electronics
  • Glenn Bachmann, Bachmann Software







Nadav Gur,
Mobimate
Tapio Jokinen,
Medixine
Craig Senick,
Mobility Electronics
Glenn Bachmann,
Bachmann Software

DevX: There's two basic sides of the mobile industry. One, obviously, is the consumer space. But it's a lot harder to get good information about what's going on in the enterprise—what the enterprise is likely to want, how that market's likely to move, and how it differs from the consumer market. So today's discussion will focus on the enterprise.

First, let me go around the group and ask each of you to tell us what your company does in the mobility space and who your primary markets are.

NADAV GUR: Mobimate is involved in packaged software applications for mobile devices. Our main product, especially for the Nokia platform, is World Mate, which is basically a suite of applications and online services for business travelers. We do sell some packed software to corporate, but most of this is to the end users. In a lot of cases, we end up selling to the corporation in the sense that these sales are expensable, but we do not sell to the corporation in the strict sense.

TAPIO JOKINEN: Medixine has two series of products. The first is directed toward consumers: wellness MIDlets for weight loss or fitness, that kind of thing. But we are in healthcare, so the corporation is a hospital or a healthcare center. For these customers we launched last December a mobile disease management solution where we use mobile phones as patient terminals in a centralized server-based system.

DevX: And is that sold as packaged or customized to each hospital?

JOKINEN: It is actually a package, but the integration to the local patient management or hospital information system always needs to be customized.

CRAIG SENICK: I work for Mobility Electronics. We developed the Quickoffice suite of applications for Palm as well as Symbian OS devices. We classify our market as what I like to term a 'pro-sumer' market. It's similar to Nadav's selling strategy where we sell applications to a mobile professional who is on the go and needs easy access to their PC-based applications such as a presentation application, word processing, and spreadsheet applications.

We primarily sell to those pro-sumers on an individual basis—though they do possibly expense those purchases—and we work in coordination with many of the large manufacturers to deliver our applications through carriers to the end user.

Our applications really are designed to extend the enterprise to wireless devices. Our software suite consists of Quickword, Quickpoint, and Quicksheet.

GLENN BACHMANN: My company is Bachmann Software. We provide file and printing software and applications for mobile devices, Palm, Pocket PC, and Symbian-based handhelds. Many of these devices are packaged as not much more than basic PDAs with calendaring and contacts. For those customers who are seeking to use their PDA as more of a mobile computer than a contact manager, there are a set of expectations, and those expectations include the ability to manage files, organize your applications and your files on your handheld, as well as to be able to perform printing of the contents, such as documents and spreadsheets from your handheld.

In terms of market and who we sell to, it is a mix. We do a brisk business selling direct to customers. In the enterprise space, they generally find us; we don't have an enterprise sales force. It's a challenge to reach the enterprise customer, especially if you're talking about a large corporate buyer. The supply chain there is fairly deep, and your software really needs to start being carried by resellers and system integrators and folks along that food chain. We have been successful, though, with specific vertical market applications that absolutely must print, such as delivery trucks and warehousing-type applications.



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