MOBI, a vendor of mobility management software, said this week it has added laptops, desktops, wearables and IoT sensors to its platform.
The addition of compute devices other than smartphones and tablets propels the company into the category of unified endpoint management (UEM) vendors.
Enterprises are being pushed toward UEM, which in many ways represents a return to mobile device management (MDM) capabilities through the use native mobile management APIs included in modern operating systems. Those APIs allow companies to manage desktops, laptops, mobile devices and – in some cases IoT devices – via a single console. And UEM is meant to be operating system-agnostic.
UEM software such as Microsoft's Intune arose as companies were being forced to manage a sudden onslaught of devices accessing corporate data and networks - fallout from the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend that took off after the release of Apple's iPhone in 2007.
MOBI's new products fall into three core areas: enablement, integration and orchestration, the company said in a statement.
In addition to adding laptops, desktops, wearables and IoT sensors to devices under its management console, MOBI introduced two new tools: a UEM reporting product and a workflow tool that enables IT to create custom forms to collect information from users and automate actions based on their responses.
The reporting tool allows IT to manage corporate devices from one location. MOBI argues that its\ previous management software – and competing UEM platforms from VMware, MobileIron and SOTI – actually silo data instead of providing a unified view.
"This unified view is the first and only of its kind, and enables users to identify and contextualize UEM data alongside MOBI's program management information," the company said. "Moving forward, a combination of UEM and [mobility management software] data will give businesses greater insights into their mobile security, leading to better decision-making processes and ultimately cost savings."
To be successful, according to research firm Gartner, any comprehensive UEM product will need to integrate with client management tools and meet the following objectives:
■ Provide a single console to configure, manage and monitor traditional mobile devices, PCs and device management of IoT assets.
■ Unify the application of data protection, device configuration and usage policies.
■ Provide a single view of multi-device users for better end-user support and to gather detailed workplace analytics.
■ Act as a coordination point to orchestrate the activities of related endpoint technologies such as identity services and security infrastructure.
Jack Gold, a senior research analyst with J. Gold Associates, said the "one pane of glass" management mantra has been touted by UEM vendors for a long time. But most platforms just move client-based management platforms to a web-based browser that consolidates the various interfaces into one.
"That said, most of the major vendors have already spent a good deal of effort in moving to the one-pane-of-glass management environment, so I'm not sure exactly what MOBI does that the others have not already done in their own systems," Gold said.
"They all have reporting systems, and many have already moved down an AI path to make things more intuitive and provide real analytics of the UEM environment," he added.