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Interviews With Mobile Computing Vendors
- Synchrologic -

MobileInfo.com Interviews Bill Jones - Synchrologic’s V.P. of Product Management for an Update on the Market in 2003

Question #1. 
Please update us on Synchrologic's success in the mobile computing enterprise marketplace. 

Answer: 

  • Synchrologic has established itself as one of the dominant players in mobile device asset management, handheld e-mail handheld data synchronization segment of the mobile computing market.
  • Synchrologic has a viable business model and it has reached a breakeven point in terms of financial metrics.
  • In the beginning, our mission was to provide synchronization of CRM data systems, management installation, file management, etc. Now, Synchrologic provides through its Mobile Suite four key functions - email acceleration, data synchronization, file synchronization and systems management.
  • Even in a difficult IT market, Synchrologic is on track for its growth. Our revenue grew by 40% last year. We now have over 200 corporate customers ranging from Cisco, Philip Morris, Fedex, Nintendo, and Citibank - all blue chip customers!

Question #2. 
What do you see important trends in the marketplace. 


Answer:

In our discussion with enterprise customers, we see both positive and negative trends. Here are some of these trends as they affect us and our enterprise customers:

  • Device standardization continues to be a major problem in the industry. With increasing proliferation of devices, we do not see a solution in the short term. No single converged device can meet ever body's needs. 
  • Carriers have come to the realization that enterprise wireless data market is important and their marketing relationship with large enterprises will be as suppliers of wireless data pipe integrated into the network infrastructure of these large enterprises. The value-add, hosting and ASP models have failed in the large enterprise segment. The enterprises want to control their own network and applications infrastructure directly or through out-sourced infrastructure arrangements. Unlike the consumer market, the carriers are no longer trying to be the suppliers of complete wireless application services, including wireless hosting.
  • Sometimes in future, hosting services business will re-emerge in the SME (small and medium enterprise).
  • Device standardization will be dictated to a large extent on the wireless data agreements that IT departments may strike with one or two major carriers and the devices these carriers support.
  • Wireless network coverage is not such a major problem, as some users tend to indicate.
  • Wi-Fi is great technology in its local environments but any talk of its making 3g wide area networks redundant is hype. We need hybrid networks with seamless connectivity.

Question #3.
Could you give us your opinion as to which are the most popular handheld devices and operating systems supporting these devices? 


Answer: 

  • We find that large footprint devices like notebooks and work-specific ruggedized devices, from vendors such as Symbol continue to be the workhorses of operational applications in the enterprise. 
  • Smart phones, by and large, are being used primarily for e-mail. Integrated keyboard is almost mandatory for serious data applications. A keyboard and touch screen are essential features in a handheld device.
  • Voice input will take quite a while to become a viable alternative to traditional methods of input. Ability to input data in noisy environments, varying pronunciations and language issues will continue to be challenging. 90% accuracy is not good enough in data applications.
  • Pocket PC provides a very tightly defined platform that application developers find attractive. On the other hand, Symbian platform is very fragmented with many non-standard implementations by handset manufacturers for creating differentiation. 
  • HTC Pocket PC, Sony/Ericsson's PA800 (expected to be replaced by PA900 or some number like that), Nokia 6800, Palm's Tungsten-W and Treo 600 are popular devices worth evaluation. Blackberry, while hugely popular as an e-mail device, is not a major operational application device.
  • While it would seem that device vendors would want to supply their devices to vendors like Synchrologic so that software vendors could develop management and synchronization support before the product ships, Synchrologic finds it very hard to get its hands on pre-release versions of the devices.
  • Wireless network coverage is not a major impediment in 2003. The value of a PDA increases substantially, as you add a radio i.e. add a wireless modem to it. Therefore, it makes sense to provide true wireless capability to devices.

Question #4.
What should we expect from Synchrologic in 2003 and 2004?

Answer:

You can expect from Synchrologic continuous enhancement of its products and services especially the following:

  • Expanded support of more devices
  • More network-awareness, including Wi-Fi support and other evolving networks.
  • Better integration of its software with mobile applications

Question #5.
What advice would you like to give to enterprise IT professionals? 

Answer:

  • Develop your mobile applications for real-time wireless connectivity - assume it is there or will be there soon. 
  • Design into your implementation plan appropriate security, data and software synchronization as well as systems management.
  • Do not over-engineer your application - keep your user interface simple. 

Question # 6.
When can we expect the "year of the wireless" to happen? 


Answer:
In the context of current IT climate, mobile computing and wireless projects are making significant impact in the enterprise. However, it will take another two years before wireless and mobile applications become mainstream. Therefore, 2005 is my best forecast.

MobileInfo Comments and Advisory:
Synchrologic is a young emerging company based in Atlanta, Georgia that recently has become an important player in the mobile systems management and synchronization space. One of the major challenges facing mobile workers today is to be able to synchronize information, wherever they are, at any time. Synchrologic's Mobile Suite product family provides an enterprise-focused and server-based solution for deploying and managing application software as well as synchronizing PIM data, files and data to a broad variety of mobile devices (Palm® handhelds, Pocket PCs, and PCs/laptops) which connect to enterprise networks via wired and wireless networks, including, of course, the Internet. 

Bill gives realistic and pragmatic answers to several high-level questions facing IT professionals who are trying to deploy mobile applications. One of the major challenges in mobile computing is the selection of handheld devices and preferred network carrier by the enterprise. IT departments want to maximize its return on the wireless data dollar. Therefore, they are negotiating special deals with carriers. Not all carriers support all handheld devices. While corporate IT must minimize the number of handheld devices, it must be pragmatic enough to support more than one device. More importantly, it must select mobile systems management software that supports all the selected devices through a common interface. 


Acknowledgement: 
MobileInfo.Com thanks Bill Jones, VP of Synchrologic's Product Management for this interview.

For more information on Synchrologic solutions on this website, click here.  To go to vendor site, click here.

All comments in this interview are the property of MobileInfo.Com website. They may not be reproduced without written permission from us.


Related Resources:
> Synchrologic 

 

 
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