iOS Woes and BlackBerry’s Morning After

    As always, there was a lot of interesting and valuable information on the Web this week. At the highest level, the issue is that a tremendous number of new technologies are rolling out and being perfected in parallel. Each of these techniques or platforms is evolving. This simultaneous evolution clearly impacts the ways in which new technologies can be linked.

    The first two items fit together nicely:

    ABI Research posted an interesting press release that suggested the security of machine-to-machine (M2M) applications is inadequate. If not tended to, according to ABI senior cybersecurity analyst, Michela Menting, the otherwise rosy future of M2M will be threatened. The piece suggests that security concerns generally are addressed on the network level. She says that the industry must go beyond this to address security at all levels, including the applications themselves.

    Frost & Sullivan looks at an advance in the near-field communications (NFC)-based mobile payment arena that may help it realize its significant potential. The firm said that newer systems are not storing user financial data on the device. Instead, the data is sent to a presumably more secure cloud-based storage repository. The release lays out some of the intricacies of mobile payment security and point to the rationale for involving the cloud:

    A cloud-based m-payment solution involves the use of a mobile app, such as PayPal, that requires an individual’s authentication prior to connecting with the account details stored in a cloud to process the transaction. The biggest advantage of using this payment solution over NFC is that the transaction can be carried out using any device with network connectivity. Further, in a cloud-based solution, data is stored virtually and is not easy to access or track— assuming the cloud provider offers appropriate protection.

    The bottom line is that all the new platforms simply won’t survive unless security is as airtight as possible – and people believe that is the case. The continually evolving state of security, M2M, NFC and electronic payments means that there is a great opportunity to nail down these security concerns. But it must be done – and a compelling case must be made to the public. The use of the cloud to insure the security of m-payments seems to be a good approach.

    Microsoft and Apple agree, according to a story at ComputerWorld, that a bug in iOS 6.1 can cause Apple devices to excessively ping Microsoft Exchange email servers. This leads to a spike in network traffic and cuts the battery life of the iPhone or iPad generating the messages. In a support document, Apple acknowledged the problem, offered a work-around and promised a fix, according to the story.

    Things like this are bound to happen in a world characterized by shorter timeframes for releasing new platforms and issuing software updates. Things simply happen faster than in the past, and mistakes are inevitable.

    The key is for the companies to jump on them quickly – which apparently is the case here – and to minimize the impact on consumers, folks using the devices at work through BYOD programs or companies that have given the Apple devices out.

    It is the general belief that BlackBerry did itself a lot of good with the introduction of the BlackBerry 10 operating system and two handsets on Jan. 30. InformationWeek reports, however, that things have not gone smoothly in the intervening couple of weeks. Writer Eric Zeman opens his story with a quote from a financial analyst suggesting that the Z10 – one of the new handsets – is good, but the new hardware and software is not enough to reverse BlackBerry’s decline.

    Other bad news in the story: Home Depot is moving from BlackBerry to iPhones, former Co-CEO Jim Balsillie dumped his entire stake in the company late last year and IDC reported that the company’s market share was more than halved between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the year-ago quarter.

    Despite the generally good notices that BlackBerry got on the new hardware and software, the general state of the waterfront remains the same. Increasingly, it looks like the company will rue the long delay between when it promised BlackBerry 10 and when it eventually was released. In short, it is possible for a large group of people to recognize that a new platform is great without trading in a competitive platform with which they are satisfied. The question is how many people made their decisions during BlackBerry’s long delay.

    The gradual melding of the cellular and Wi-Fi networks has a great deal of consequences and ramifications, both intended and hidden. Joanie Wexler at Webtorials reports that 78 percent of 101 enterprises said that they make no decision on whether employees use cellular or private Wi-Fi networks for in-building voice communications. It’s an interesting finding: There are significant management, network operations, security, cost and other differences between the two platforms. Simply not specifying which simply leaves a tremendous amount up to chance.

    Another reality of the quick pace of change is that subtle issues – some of which are quite important – go unnoticed. Wi-Fi has blossomed as an enterprise tool quickly and, in the big picture, quite recently. Choosing it or cellular for internal mobile phone service goes to the very core of what IT does. Planners – both in IT and at the C-level – should pay far more attention to this important choice.

    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk is a long-time IT and telecom journalist. His coverage areas include the IoT, artificial intelligence, artificial intelligence, drones, 3D printing LTE and 5G, SDN, NFV, net neutrality, municipal broadband, unified communications and business continuity/disaster recovery. Weinschenk has written about wireless and phone companies, cable operators and their vendor ecosystems. He also has written about alternative energy and runs a website, The Daily Music Break, as a hobby.

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