Two recent articles indicate there could be some changes when it comes to integrating mobile devices in the enterprise.
Let's start with the Microsoft rumors. No doubt you've heard Microsoft plans to offer its Mobile Device Manager this year, but it's pretty Windows-centric and it might not be the tool for you unless you're dying to replace all your non-Windows based phones.
But now the buzz is about Live Mesh, which is expected to be unveiled April 24, according to this CNET news blog item. The word is Live Mesh will be a "cloud" solution -- aka, a service -- that can synchronize data between devices.
It's not clear if this is a consumer solution or aimed at businesses, but you can certainly see the business appeal. You'd be able to add contacts and other data to your PDA or mobile phone and easily "send" that information to your network via the cloud -- and, one assumes, not via e-mail.
This March article, also from CNET, shares how Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's chief software architect, explained Live Mesh in a recent speech:
"Just imagine the possibilities of unified application management across the device mesh, centralized, Web-based deployment of device-based applications. Imagine an app platform that's cognizant of all of your devices."
Oh, I'm imagining, Ozzie. I'm imagining. Now imagine no fee and support for non-Windows platforms -- it's easy, if you try.
Which reminds me: Will it work with the increasingly popular iPhone?
We'll have to wait until next week to find out more.
The second news item, published on CIO.com, noted that Good Technology and sister company Symbol are working on products that will support all types of mobile devices.
This solution seems to be more focused on phones and allowing IT to manage those phones from one system -- as opposed to separate systems for smartphones and cell phones. What Good Technology believes will differentiate its product from, say, Windows Mobile Device Manager, is its support devices made by non-partner manufacturers.
There are plans to make a product that will integrate PBX features -- four-digit dialing, conference calls and unified phone numbers -- with the Good client so users can access those features from their mobile phones.
If you really want to dig deeper into how IT can integrate mobile devices, check out the most recent issue of The Architecture Journal online. The entire issue is devoted to mobile devices and architecture, but "Extending Enterprise Applications to Mobile Device" includes a list of best practices and explains the components to an enterprise architecture for mobile devices.