In the Spring of 2006, I created a Mobile Device Management (MDM) package for Microsoft called Windows Mobile Provisioner. It was used by Microsoft IT (MSIT) to rapidly provision and manage Windows Mobile devices / smartphones for our employees in the years before we developed and shipped System Center Mobile Device Manager 2008. I drew on my experience in designing, developing, shipping, marketing, and selling the NetPerceptor MDM package for the cloud (Level 3) back in 2003 with my co-founder Darren. Of course, OMA DM and CSPs made creating an MDM system much easier in 2006.
Windows Mobile Provisioner fully integrated with Active Directory to allow the management of policies, settings, and over-the-air (OTA) software distribution based on Microsoft users and groups. As you might imagine, there was a Management and Reporting dashboard as well as a mobile client for user self-service.
The first image below shows the client app where a user could rapidly configure Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) from a single screen:
The second image below shows the client app’s ability to configure the data connections for different mobile operators globally:
The last image below shows how the client app allowed users to change the themes of their smartphone:
Of course, my MDM solution sent health metrics as well as device and app inventory to the server for analysis. Administrators could push out patches, anti-virus definitions, ROM packages, and other software to selected devices. Apps could also be remotely uninstalled. In addition to the features described in the images above, the rich client app that accompanied the MDM agent gave users the ability to view and download apps, ring tones, and other content made available to users and groups via Active Directory security. I certainly hope the MDM solution your company is using “at least” does all the stuff I just mentioned from a long time ago.
It was a great experience being an early pioneer in the Mobile Device Management (MDM) space; and the first to do it in the cloud at the beginning of the 21st century. Back then, I could count all the MDM competitors on my two hands. Fast-forward to 2012, I think there’s over 100 different players in this space. The majority of them are indistinguishable from each other as they all target the identical MDM APIs exposed by iOS and Android. As usual, differentiation will be invented by marketers.
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