Notify unveils multi-platform management software for mobile devices

Notify Technology has announced a new hosted management service aimed at enterprise deployments of different mobile platforms, including iOS, Android, BlackBerry OS, webOS and Windows Mobile.

The service includes a small agent downloaded to the device, and a server application running as a hosted service (Notify will also offer a traditional enterprise server license option). The agent connects to the server, which can use Microsoft Active Directory or another LDAP directory server to authenticate the mobile user.

Starting Feb. 1, companies can sign up for a 30-day free trial of the hosted service, registering up to 50 mobile devices.

NotifyMDM relies on Microsoft ActiveSync, which is now licensed by most of the major mobile platform vendors, in order to access Microsoft Exchange Server for synchronizing e-mail, contacts and calendar information. Exchange also supports a range of policies for some management and security functions.

But, says Paul Depond, CEO and founder of San Jose-based Notify, "Exchange isn't really an MDM platform: it's an e-mail platform."

Notify was founded in 1994 to offer a synchronized wireless e-mail and PIM product NotifyLink, along with some management and security features for enterprise customers. Depond says "tens of thousands" of enterprise iPhones make use of this software. The management and security features in NotifyLink have been pulled out, expanded and packaged with a new administrative GUI, to create NotifyMDM.

Mobile users can register themselves or they can be pre-provisioned via Notify on a given mobile device.

The new product incorporates a policy-setting program, so administrators can set policies that can specify password requirements, for example. If policies can not be supported on a device, NotifyMDM will send an alert and prevent the device from accessing corporate servers.

Wizard-based setup menus guide both users and administrators through the set-up process. And the software monitors the devices, reporting real-time activities and trends through a bunch of pre-configured charts and graphs. Administrators can see information on user phone logs, SMS and MMS traffic, the amount of free memory on a device, whether it has a SD card, whether it's roaming to another cellular network and so on.

There is also a self-service portal where end users can reset their password, wipe their device and do other self-service administrative functions.

Notify competes with a wide range of rivals, including AirWatch, MobileIron, Sybase, and Zenprise. Most of these "solutions" are also client-server applications that make use of the management and security features exposed by the operating system vendor, married to a management GUI, with a policy engine and reporting features.

The NotifyMDM hosted service will be available for free trial on Feb. 1. General availability is scheduled for late March or early April 2011. Pricing has not yet been finalized, but will be announced Feb. 1.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnww

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