Remote Device Management

  By Ron James, Senior Sales Executive, Adaptive Data Inc.

There are many different offerings on the market today for Remote Device Management with varying capabilities. Some of the packages are proprietary, offered by a manufacturer to enhance the value of their equipment over their competitors. These are typically lower in cost, but have the obvious disadvantage of only being able to support that manufacturer’s solutions.  If you are limited on budget, or have a particularly strong affinity for a specific technology manufacturer, these tools may be fine for getting you on the road toward better device management.  However you should be aware that this approach is often proprietary and will limit your choices when it comes to deploying new devices.

Fortunately, there ARE solutions out there to cope with today’s world of Windows Mobile and Android devices.

What should I consider before using these tools?

One of the largest concerns for using a Remote Device Manager is simply this: Is your network ready to provide the necessary pipeline that these solutions require? Issues such as firewalls, or specific port availability, can cause grief and delays during installs.  You should read any install notes relative to network and client requirements very carefully.

Is deployment easy?

Ah – an overly simplistic question that deserves a complex answer that starts with “It depends . . . "

The answer to this question depends upon the tool set you choose. For many proprietary solutions deployment can be eased by the fact that the equipment-specific firmware is already being installed. That said – your NETWORK may still require certain attentions, so the emphasis cannot be solely on device software requirements.

The more comprehensive the tool, the more pre-installation preparation you will need to perform.  The old adage “Good Wine takes Time” is appropriate. Time spent is certainly rewarded well, so make sure you study your specific toolset’s requirements to lessen the likelihood that your implementation will go through several false starts due to network questions, concerns or security requirements.

Finally – considering that these tools sets rely on the foundation of your network – it cannot be over-emphasized that you should involve someone familiar with your network in your effort – at the very least have them standing by for the questions that will surely arise due to the dependence of these tools upon existing communication infrastructures in place.

Do these tools introduce performance delays/concerns on devices?

Some toolsets do not require ANY device-based software other than the firmware provided by the manufacturer. This certainly makes installation a breeze, but likely will limit the amount of functionality you can receive from such a tool.

For the most comprehensive toolsets, you may need a ‘client stub’ installed on every device. This agent performs the communication foundation to the server-based toolset.

Fortunately these toolsets are usually designed so that the client stubs may be nearly invisible to a user, and with the power of today’s devices there are typically no perceived performance impacts for your workers.

Are these toolsets hard to navigate?

Generally speaking – if you take the ‘drill down’ approach – these tools are often somewhat intuitive. For example – most of the ‘console’ views will be as shown – your devices will be listed with some ‘snapshot’ information about each. Device-specific information will be accessible by clicking on a specific device. A great tool will allow you to use it as if you were physically in front of the device, while providing functions beyond the scope of the device itself!

So – Should I do this thing?

Our experience has been this – once deployed - you will find yourself delighted with having a management tool that exploits the capabilities of modern networks and devices, and that will make the life of the IT organization rest more comfortably knowing that their deployed technology can be managed from a central desktop, saving time and travel, while allowing them to be more responsive to field workers.

Read more on Remote Device Management

Tell us what you think.  Share your comments and experiences with Remote Device Management.