IBM: Going Mobile with two big announcements

Today IBM announced some important enhancements to its Mobile strategy for supporting customers looking to grow and transform their businesses, whether they are B2C, B2B, or B2E.

IBM Advances Mobile Capabilities with Acquisition of Worklight

From the press release:

In a move that will help expand the enterprise mobile capabilities it offers to clients, IBM today announced a definitive agreement to acquire Worklight, a privately held Israeli-based provider of mobile software for smartphones and tablets. Financial terms were not disclosed.

With this acquisition, IBM’s mobile offerings will span mobile application development, integration, security and management. Worklight will become an important piece of IBM’s mobility strategy, offering clients an open platform that helps speed the delivery of existing and new mobile applications to multiple devices. It also helps enable secure connections between smartphone and tablet applications with enterprise IT systems.

IBM Announces New Software to Manage and Secure the Influx of Mobile Devices to the Workplace

From the press release:

IBM today introduced new software to help organizations better manage and secure the explosion of smartphones and tablets in the workplace, while also managing laptops, desktops and servers.

IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices helps organizations support and protect the growing mobile workforce. Through this software, firms can use a single solution to secure and manage smartphones and tablets, as well as laptops, desktop PCs, and servers. It manages Apple iOS, Google Android, Nokia Symbian, and Microsoft Windows Mobile and Windows Phone devices.

The software extends security intelligence to deal with the growing threats from mainstream adoption of the BYOD trend. Organizations can install the IBM software in hours, remotely set policies, identify potential data compromises and wipe data off the devices if they are lost or stolen. The software helps configure and enforce passcode policies, encryption and virtual private network settings.

Why I think this is important

After spending the last several months speaking with customers, I’ve concluded that 2012 will be a very significant year for Mobile in the enterprise. I think this is the year when customers will decide on the mobile platforms and tools that will carry them into the middle of the decade, and begin to discard earlier experiments.

The old category of MAP or MEAP (Mobile Application Platform or Mobile Enterprise Application Platform) is not sufficient anymore. Customers need everything to build, run, connect, manage, and secure mobile applications. Remember that we’re not just talking about the apps on the devices (and there are many devices), but also the backend server infrastructure necessary, and this needs to be enterprise-ready. By this I mean that it needs to scale and you must be able to integrate it with the services, applications, processes and data that are essential to your organization.

Therefore the modern Mobile platform needs device-side and server-side application development and lifecycle tools; support for multiple devices and mobile operating systems; mobile application an device management; security capabilities from the devices all the way to the back-end; and scalable, transaction-capable connections to the IT systems on which your organization depends for its business. This is what IBM is demonstrating today in these strategic announcements in addition to its existing products and solutions.

Join me today in Tweetchats

I’ll be using Twiiter today for 2 one hour sessions to discuss these announcements with Scott Hebner, VP of Marketing and Channel Management for IBM Tivoli.
The first session is planned for 10:30 to 11:30 AM ET and the second for 1:00 to 2:00 PM ET.

Both sessions will use the hashtag #ibmmobile. My Twitter name is @bob_sutor and Scott’s is @SLHebner.

You can follow us via your usual Twitter client or else use the Tweetchat tool at

Also see these blog entries

IBM mobile infographic

Daily links for 01/26/2012

  • “The new Lumia 900, which had been announced earlier this month at CES for AT&T’s network, will sell for $99.99 with a two-year service contract starting March 18, sources with knowledge of the launch plans told CNET. The Boy Genius Report first reported the pricing and launch date of the device as part of a leaked road map from AT&T the site said it received.”

    tags: nokia mobile

  • “The technology developed by OBS and SITA does not require an actual NFC chip to function. Instead, the companies’ innovation allows boarding pass data to be written directly on an NFC-enabled SIM card, which will likely lead to greater consumer adoption. Customers won’t have to purchase an NFC-capable phone to use the technology, and the card will be readable even when devices power off.”

    tags: plane smartphone mobile

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Daily links for 01/25/2012

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Daily links for 01/24/2012

  • “Specifically, 50 percent of the rival phone jumpers polled by CIRP upgraded from a Blackberry, 39 percent from an Android phone, and 10 percent from a Palm device. Only 21 percent switched from other mobile phones or picked up an iPhone as their first cell phone. And a full 43 percent of all iPhone 4S buyers upgraded from an older model iPhone.”

    tags: iphone android blackberry

  • “The idea is that consumers can control the devices, which can communicate wirelessly, with their smartphones, tablets or televisions. So the owner of a smart refrigerator could check what’s in the refrigerator on a smartphone, and in some instances, send photographs to be displayed on the refrigerator’s LCD screen.”

    tags: m2m wireless mobile

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Daily links for 01/23/2012

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Daily links for 01/20/2012

  • “As before, the RHEV hypervisor, which is only a few hundred megabytes in size, virtualises using KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) and integrates many RHEL core components – however, the new RHEV uses components from the current RHEL version 6.2 rather than RHEL series 5. Consequently, the new RHEV-V offers many improvements that have been available in RHEL 6 for some time – for example, guest systems can now access up to 64 virtual CPU cores and up to 2 TB of working memory. Technologies such as vhost-net, Transparent Huge Pages (THP), x2apic and KSM (Kernel Shared Memory) are designed to improve performance and increase efficiency.”

    tags: Red Hat virtualisation

  • “Apigee, a provider of API management products and services, which we’ve referred to in the past as a “Google Analytics for APIs” has acquired the mobile cloud platform Usergrid. For those unfamiliar, Usergrid helps to make mobile app development easier by providing the APIs needed to manage data, users and events. The company provides these kind of core APIs for the backend so mobile developers can speed their time to market.”

    tags: api management mobile

  • “It used to be that Linux gained its market-share from cannibalizing Unix servers. That seems to no longer be the case. According to this study, in the last two years 71.6% of new Linux deployments have been in brand new applications and green deployments. By comparison, 38.5% were migrations from Windows and 34.5% were from Unix.”

    tags: linux windows

  • “Dubbed iBooks Author, the free Mac OS X application lets authors create textbooks and other books with simple drag-and-drop mechanisms. According to Apple, the application gives authors basic templates to quickly create titles that offer both text and interactive elements such as videos and images. To add multimedia content, iBooks Author lets users drag and drop content onto pages.”

    tags: apple author creators

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Daily links for 01/19/2012

  • “But 2011 was the tipping point. iPhones now have more users than BlackBerrys within corporate environments, and Aberdeen Group mobile analyst Andrew Borg notes that many organizations have figured out how to handle the Apple security model comfortably, lessening the dependence on BlackBerry Enterprise Server outside of a small percentage users with special security requirements. Additionally, iPads became the corporate standard, with Windows-like market share, for tablets the same year. In fact, Aberdeen Group says that 96 percent of businesses have at least one iPad in use. Who’d have thunk it?”

    tags: apple mobile blackberry

  • “Among the more than 700 IT professionals polled for a Check Point study (PDF) out today, iOS accounted for 30 percent of the collective traffic on their networks. But RIM’s BlackBerry was hot on Apple’s trail with 29 percent. As BlackBerry has long been a corporate standard, the rise of iOS is a clear sign of the consumerization of IT in which employees want to use the same devices at work that they use at home. The trend is even more notable since Apple gears its products for individual consumers with little focus on the enterprise market specifically.”

    tags: apple ios blackberry

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Thoughts on mobile management

What does it mean to manage a mobile device, say a smartphone like an Apple iPhone or one with Google‘s Android operating system?

At the lowest level, the device level, you might want to

  • establish a policy for length and structure of passwords
  • set or reset a password
  • detect whether the phone had been jail-broken or rooted
  • configure device-wide VPN
  • set power management policies
  • manage the low level security of the filesystem or other local storage
  • wipe the device entirely or reset it to factory settings

Above that, at the application level, you might want to

  • inventory the device for installed applications
  • install or update applications
  • set security policies for use of the applications, their data, and their network connections
  • selectively remove an application or its data
  • configure application-specific VPN
  • manage anti-virus and other security tools for browsers and other applications that access the web
  • manage installation and use of an enterprise application store behind a firewall, private hosted outside, or via external sites like the Apple iTunes Store or the Android Marketplace

The first list of items, with additional functions, is part of Mobile Device Management, or MDM. Note that people do sometimes confuse “MDM” in this context with “Master Data Management.”

The second collection is part of Mobile Application Management, sometimes shortened to MAM.

The first thing to notice is that what I deemed “management” often has a lot to do with security, especially when the phone is used to access enterprise data and systems.

Second, in practice, those who provide MDM functionality often provide some MAM functionality, and vice-versa. That is, a vendor might say “I can give you an enterprise app store but can also wipe devices.”

BYOD, or “bring your own device” complicates things because I probably do not want the organization for which I work to impose overbearing policies that affect my personal use of my phone. I certainly don’t want them to wipe my entire device if I leave the organization juto remove all traces of enterprise data or network access.

So the line is blurry between MDM and MAM, and I think we should get rid of the distinction altogether. That is, let’s just talk about Mobile Management and combine the two categories above. It will simplify things, remove the imprecision of the definitions, and bring better clarity to what vendors do and do not offer.

So if we can agree that Mobile Management consists of 27 common capabilities (for example), a vendor that offers 5 of them can be more fairly compared with one that offers 25.

No doubt that vendor proving minimum capability will embellish the description by adding “but we do it from the cloud!” (grin)

Daily links for 01/18/2012


Virtual Worlds

  • “WonderBuilders, Inc. has created a virtual world called “Singapore Games Village.” Announced as part of the Media Development Authority of Singapore’s new Games Solution Center (GSC), this virtual world allows locally developed games to be showcased to prospective publishers who can then select the titles which they wish to license. The Games Village includes customizable game kiosks. Each kiosk displays games that can be played in a browser or on a mobile platform. The game kiosks are multi-user. As one person plays a game in-world, other remote participants can watch the game play and talk about the action. Users can also take turns playing the game.”

    tags: singapore games virtual-world

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Mobile BYOD is not unbounded

BYOD, or “bring your own device,” is an important topic in today’s discussion of mobile in the enterprise. Employees buy their own smartphones or tablets, love them, then bring them to work and want to use them to access company data, systems, and applications.

For the CIO, this represents an opportunity to save money by not having to pay for and provide devices, but opens up many questions about how to allow secure access and management of the enterprise portions of those devices. I’m here at the Lotusphere conference in Orlando, so it shouldn’t surprise you when I say that many of IBM‘s customers are looking at Lotus Traveler for secure access to email, calendar, and contacts on mobile devices, for example.

BYOD does not mean that any employee can bring any device to the office and demand that it be allowed access to the company’s digital infrastructure. That said, if the CEO brings in his or her sexy new smartphone, the CIO may feel more inclined to make that work.

In practice, CIOs will say that certain devices running specific mobile operating system versions, augmented by security and management software and policies will be allowed access to the company’s network. That is, “bring your own device” really means “bring your own device as long as it is one of the following.”

Many enterprises already support Blackberrys, so that will be relatively easy. There’s not too much variation among Apple iPhones and iPads beyond the major version numbers. So while a 3g phone might work, I think many enterprises will insist on a 4 or 4s phone, probably running the latest version of iOS.

Android is more problematic because there are many handset providers and many versions of the operating system. Expect individual handset vendors to negotiate directly with CIOs to allow use of their devices in the CIOs’ companies, even if those devices are bought by the employees.

The wildcard here will be Windows Phone and the devices that support it. While Apple iOS and Android are very different, both technically and culturally, Windows Phone is different yet. While Mango is quite nice looking, as I saw from the Nokia team at Lotusphere, will individual purchasers and CIOs wait until Windows Phone 8? Will the rate of adoption allow it to be accepted into the enterprise any time in 2012 or might it even be 2014 before the demand is sufficient for supporting it inside companies?

My advice to CIOs is this: if you support Blackberrys, you will need to support them for the foreseeable future. The newer iPhone and iPads will need to be given enterprise access because of their marketshare and the demands of senior management. For Android, pick a couple of handset vendors, perhaps based on a survey of your current employee users, and settle on the level of the operating system you will support. Educate yourself about Windows Phone, but the above combinations are probably of more immediate and higher priority.

Also see: “10 predictions for enterprise mobile for 2012″

Daily links for 01/17/2012

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IBM Mobile Team at Lotusphere 2012

It’s an artifact of today’s spread out worldwide working culture that many people in large companies never get to meet each other if they work in different locations. I’m down at IBM‘s Lotusphere conference this week talking about Mobile for the Enterprise, meeting with partners, doing press interviews, and having discussions with learned industry analysts. There are also several members of the extended IBM Mobile Team here as well, so I’m going to try to photographically document their presence.

In this first installment, from left to right we have Dirk Nicol and  Christian Hunt from my mobile team and Yakura Coffee from my WebSphere Foundation team. They’re manning peds in the Solution Showcase and, if you are at the show, I encourage you to stop by and pay them a visit. This is the first time I’ve met Yakura and Christian though we’ve worked together for over half a year.

members of the IBM team

Note the snazzy shirts. I’m not sure if they glow in the dark, but, by rights, they should.

IBM Mobile Technology Preview v3, now with iOS support

IBM just released the third drop of the IBM Mobile Technology preview at, with details of the update on the tech preview blog.

This release includes updates to the mobile application manager with social feedback, SMS support, tools, and, perhaps most important, support for Apple‘s iOS mobile operating system. The first two releases supported Android only.

This drop also includes the latest version of the Liberty Profile for the WebSphere Application Server. It’s a great example of how we think customers will use the Liberty Profile and OSGI in action.

The Mobile Tech Preview is our way of giving you a glimpse of what is going on in the IBM labs around the area of mobile application development, tooling, security, and management.

Daily links for 01/16/2012

  • “Happy 2012! I enjoy kicking each New Year off with a posting of my top technology trends. These trends represent areas in which we are driving new technology innovations into our WebSphere and Software Group portfolios. Last year, I accompanied my trends with a rock and roll video. This year, I am practicing what I preach. Given Social Business is one of my top trends; I’ve placed the detailed description of the trends on a Facebook page, which I hope will allow richer social interaction around these topics. I am also using a prototype SMS-based app, which is aligned with our Mobile for Enterprise trend, to allow you to review, rate and receive notifications, when I publish new information on these trends throughout the year.”

    tags: technology trends websphere

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Mobility and Endpoint Management at Pulse 2012

Pulse banner

From March 4 through 7, IBM will be holding its Pulse 2012 conference at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. One of the main streams of the event will be the Mobility and Endpoint Management track, and I’ll be a member of the keynote panel kicking off the discussions.

With the ever-increasing number of endpoints organizations must manage – physical and virtual servers, desktops, laptops, point of sale and mobile devices – it is imperative to gain visibility, control and automation. These devices simultaneously represent security risks, employee productivity, and new business opportunities. Join us at Pulse 2012 to hear from your peers and IBM experts on how to minimize risks, increase productivity, and increase innovation.

Mobile devices in particular have a very large impact throughout the organization today. Their rapid adoption over the last several years has significantly increased the “consumerization of IT” and forced IT departments to adopt Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies. At IBM we understand this goes well beyond the devices themselves though – it impacts network traffic, internal software development and custom applications, employee collaboration and use of social media, and much more. We are enabling businesses to build mobile applications, run and connect them to backend systems, manage their devices and applications, and secure their businesses on mobile – all to help our customers create new business opportunities and extend existing business capabilities.

You can register today for the conference and don’t forget to mention Mobile as one of your main interests in attending.

Daily links for 01/12/2012

  • “We are very excited to bring you IBM Sametime for Android! This gives you access to IBM’s award-winning platform for Unified Communications on today’s hottest Android devices.”

    tags: mobile lotus sametime android

  • “AT&T is planning to launch a store for mobile Web applications that run in the browser. The company has released a set of JavaScript APIs and a software development kit (SDK) that provide Web developers with access to certain mobile network features. Platform fragmentation has long been a major concern for AT&T. The company has repeatedly expressed frustration with the difficulty of making applications that work across the full spectrum of poplar mobile operating systems. Previous development frameworks that had the potential to unify the mobile application landscape, such as Java ME, largely fell short of expectations. AT&T is hopeful that standards-based Web technologies will finally solve the problem and provide a ubiquitous target for third-party application developers.”

    tags: mobile at&t developers

  • “Jane Silber is on a mission to get the Ubuntu Linux distribution onto mobile devices and TVs, rather than be stuck on desktop PCs. The CEO of Canonical (which makes Ubuntu) took over from the previous CEO, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth, in March 2010, but has been with the company since shortly after its 2004 founding.”

    tags: ubuntu tablet

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Daily links for 01/11/2012

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Daily links for 01/10/2012


  • “Among the more popular tools for pulling off this Web-powered multi-device strategy has been PhoneGap, an open-source mobile-development framework from Nitobi Software, which Adobe acquired in October. When Adobe announced the acquisition, the company said it planned to donate the PhoneGap code base to Apache, where the project will go by the name Project Cordova. (It was briefly named Project Callback.) PhoneGap 1.3 began shipping in December, with Windows Phone 7 support as its headline feature. WP7 joins iOS, Android, BlackBerry, WebOS, Symbian and Bada in the PhoneGap-supported platform lineup.”

    tags: mobile phonegap

  • “Developers must rewrite native applications to run on iPhones, Android smartphones, Windows Phones, and BlackBerrys. HTML5 simplifies things for developers by letting them instead build apps that run in a browser accessible by any smartphone. HTML5 apps look and act similar to a native app. By 2016, 85 percent of smartphones will have browsers capable of running HTML5, Christopher said, citing a prediction made by Strategy Analytics.”

    tags: html apps mobile

  • “It seems like a fairly straightforward question: As a developer, business and enterprise, do I develop Web apps, native apps or some combination thereof? Answers to that question are anything but simple. Who is your target audience? What is the purpose of the app? There are a series of diverse questions that must be answered before jumping right into development. “

    tags: hybrid html native apps mobile

Virtual Worlds

  • “The process is simple. Applicants get a set of papers to sign — basically saying they won’t share their access codes with anybody else — and then add a few lines enabling Vivox to their opensim .INI file. The voice never actually passes through the simulator — the voice stream goes directly from the viewer, to the Vivox data centers, and back again — so there is no additional load on the region.”

    tags: opensim business voice

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My talk at Lotusphere 2012

Next week is IBM’s Lotusphere conference in sunny and, I hope, warm Orlando, Florida. For those of you attending, I’ll be giving a talk called “Harnessing the Power of Enterprise Mobility” on Monday, January 16, from 11 to 12 AM. The session number is 1582A and the room is Swan – SW 7 – 8. The abstract is

It’s hard not to talk to an enterprise customer these days without getting into a discussion about Mobile. By 2012, the shipment of smartphones and tablets is expected to exceed that of traditional personal computers, including laptops. Enterprise CIOs want to use these personal mobile devices to give better access to their internal data and processes for employees, as well as enabling better purchasing and support services for their customers. Complicating this is the variety of devices used, employees who wish to use their own devices at work, application level and device management, cost controls, and security concerns. In this session, Bob Sutor will discuss his views on the foundational needs of enterprises for a mobile application platform, mobile device management, and security along with comments on how IBM can help you become a social business that leverages experts wherever they are working.

I’ll also be hanging out at the Enterprise Mobile booth from time to time, talking about the IBM Mobile Technology Preview. Stop by and say hello!

Daily links for 01/09/2012

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Daily links for 01/06/2012

  • “As William Eshagh, who is spearheading the project wrote on the NASA open-source blog, NASA is first “focusing on providing a home for the current state of open source at the Agency. This includes guidance on how to engage the open source process, points of contact, and a directory of existing projects.””

    tags: nasa open source

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Daily links for 01/05/2012

  • “The iPhone 4S will then be available in 90 countries in total, making it Apple’s “fastest iPhone rollout ever,” according to Apple CEO Tim Cook. The new countries getting the iPhone on Jan. 13 include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Botswana, British Virgin Islands, Cameroon, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, China, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada, Guam, Guinea Conakry, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Niger, Senegal, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos and Uganda.”

    tags: mobile iPhone apple

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Daily links for 01/03/2012

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Daily links for 01/02/2012

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