CTIA Service of the Day: Mobility that works with any platform

Mobility as a service is a new term, but cloud-based solutions, managed services and platform ubiquity play well in the enterprise.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- For the last month I have received a press release and a sales pitch from every mobile maker of software, machine-to-machine client, security company and application-maker, as well as applications by themselves, public relations firms, their mothers and Gallagher.

Yes, really. Gallagher, the comedian who punishes watermelons on stage to the benefit of … well, I am not sure who that benefits. It certainly is not the watermelons.

Anyway, the Mobile Platform has made the trek down to Orlando this week for the Cellular Telecommunications and Industry Association wireless convention (CTIA Wireless 2011) at the Orange County Convention Center, where 40,000 attendees will be vying for the attention of 1,100 journalists and analysts and whomever else will pay attention.

So, while at CTIA, I figured that instead of my normal App of the Week, I would write about an app or device or service of the day each day during the convention. Certainly, I have no shortage of things to choose from.

A late entry from the preconference on Monday is neither an app nor a device.

Therefore, the CTIA Service of the Day is MaaS360 by Fiberlink.

What is it?

You have heard of software as a service (SaaS). There is cloud as a service (CaaS). I am sure there are many things … as a service.

Yet, until today, I had not heard of mobile as a service (MaaS). That is where you find MaaS360.

MaaS360 is a cloud-based mobile device management tool that leverages the cloud to support any type of device in an IT environment and can provide any of the managed services that an enterprise might need, including detailed visibility, over-the-air configuration, business intelligence dashboards, device restriction policies, authentication and quarantine.

“Mobility as a service is about being a cloud-based solution as it relates to a SaaS architecture,” said Jonathan Dale, product manager for Fiberlink and MaaS360. “Multitenant infrastructure is hosted by Fiberlink. So, when we work with organizations they don't have to dole out their data center infrastructure perspective. There are no clients or servers within their infrastructure. We host everything.”

MaaS360 can manage any smart-phone operating system, integrate ActiveSync and Lotus Notes Traveler and play nice with BlackBerry.

What is the buzz?

Honestly, I had never heard of Fiberlink or MaaS360. Dale says they are working with the General Services Administration and have “thousands of seats [devices] with the agency.” GSA representatives were unavailable to confirm this as of this report.

Yet, there is an annual event at CTIA called ShowStoppers where a little party is thrown and a bunch of journalists are invited to a room full of companies looking to make their pitches. I have been getting e-mails about ShowStoppers for a month and was not all that excited about what I saw. Yet, MaaS360 stood out for its enterprise mobility solutions and its government ties.

Why does government care?

Fiberlink has had mobility solutions for the past five years or so, starting with desktops and laptops and now moving into smart phones and tablet PCs. The company is mature (read: no silly start-up) and has the scalability solutions to handle bigger agencies.

Mostly, it is cloud hosted, it is secure, it is managed services, and it is platform ubiquitous. All of these add up to a rapid return of investment, and the cloud pay-as-you-go model cuts down on data center needs and costs.

Why do I care?

I am kind of a sucker for “as-a-service” products in the enterprise because it is the way IT is trending. Put the play on words to make mobility as a service and you got my attention. Add some government use case and platform ubiquity and I am sold on the idea. Then again, I am not in acquisitions for a federal agency, so take that as you will.

I put the screws to Dale and made him do about a minute-long elevator pitch on camera. Take a look below.

Oh, by the way, I had a conversation with Gallagher at ShowStoppers, and he is one odd man.

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