Cisco Jasper has announced an extension to its IoT platform to enable the same level of connectivity, data usage and general operations monitoring to enterprises’ mobile devices as is currently afforded to IoT devices.

Dubbed ‘Control Center for Mobile Enterprise’ (CCME), the platform – which will be accessible to enterprises via their mobile network operators – supplements the company’s Control Center IoT service platform, and targets an enterprise’s mobile phone and tablet fleets.

The online platform is designed to help enterprises lower operational costs and enable better management of their mobile services in three ways:

  1. Real-time visibility into usage and charges – CCME enables real-time insight into the data usage rates and associated costs incurred by employees, enabling preventative steps to be taken more quickly
  2. Automated control over costs and services – To avoid ‘bill shock’, CCME can enable roaming data policies that automatically upgrade to the next level when data limits are reached, or automatically detect and suspend any SIMs that are removed from devices, preventing fraudulent use
  3. Enterprise-grade self-serve management – Enables enterprises to better manage their own mobile service requirements such as adding features, suspending subscriptions, swapping SIMs and upgrading devices, eliminating the need for manual processes or time-consuming interaction with mobile network operators

Cisco Jasper’s head of IoT strategy Macario Namie said in a statement: “Management of any connected device consists of common challenges like unpredictable service costs and inefficient management processes, and this is especially true for business mobile phones and tablets.”

“Cisco Jasper has partnered with over 50 service providers worldwide to enable enterprises to automatically connect and manage their IoT services, and now we are extending the same proven capabilities to business mobile devices.”

Canada’s mobile network operator Telus will be the first to implement CCME, offering the platform to its business customers as part of its new business mobility solution, Telus IQ Smart Mobility Management.

Craig Thornton, Telus VP of business mobility solutions, said: “The Control Center for Mobile Enterprise platform, as an integral part of Telus IQ, has enabled us to truly transform our corporate client experience, delivering instant visibility and controls to our customers.”

Carole St. Arnaud, procurement administrator for Telus IQ customer QuadReal Property Group added: “With the capabilities enabled by Cisco Jasper Control Centre for Mobile Enterprise, we can self-activate or suspend lines online and instantly detect heavy data users during the billing cycle, providing the management control we need in a concise viewing platform.”

From IoT devices to mobile devices

IoT Hub spoke to Pallavi Vanacharla, head of product marketing at Cisco Jasper, to discuss why the company decided to make the move from managing IoT device connectivity to also managing mobile devices.

“For the past several years, a lot of our enterprise customers have been asking us to extend our automated, connectivity management platforms to all of their cellular devices. Until now, we’ve only been helping them manage their IoT devices, and they wanted us to extend to their employees’ business mobile phones as well,” she explained.

“From their point of view, it makes logical sense. You’ve got a platform that essentially helps manage cellular connectivity on one device, and you’ve got the same cellular connectivity on another device from the same service provider, and the question they ask is ‘Why can’t I just put all of these devices together on the same platform?’”

For Cisco Jasper, the company’s journey started over ten years ago with IoT devices, which later extended to connected cars.

Now, Vanacharla says, the company is “closing the gap on all connected devices”.

She also said the platform is designed to replace the management web portals that have traditionally been provided to enterprise customers, and also the extra layers of complexity in managing multiple corporate devices.

“For an enterprise with thousands of devices, there’s no way to scale and manage devices on an individual basis, so they’ve usually called upon third party service providers to aggregate invoice data from the mobile network operator to provide a unified view and perform the manual mobile service requests on their behalf,” she explained.

“These service providers usually charge per device they manage for an enterprise, and then charge per service request they action, which becomes very costly for the business.”

Moving forward

Vanacharla declined to mention if any specific mobile network operators in Australia would start to use the new platform locally, but said that the initial rollout with Telus has given Cisco Jasper the expertise and knowledge required to start conversations with its global MNO partners.

“What we’ve done with the platform is proven the model out, figured out the integration points, and gotten it to market with Telus,” she said.

“Based on the learnings we’ve gotten from this rollout, we’re now ready to have conversations with the rest of our partners, which will be happening in the near future.”

She also said that there are no plans yet to incorporate functionality found in other enterprise mobility management (EMM) and mobile device management (MDM) platforms such as application access and control, or device security, but future partnerships with such platform providers could be a possibility.

“So far, we’re playing to our strengths. We’ve developed a platform that’s capable of automating connectivity to mobile networks, and we believe that the EMM and MDM players in the world have provided robust platforms as far as device security, app configuration and management, and content management is concerned,” she said.

“We definitely want to partner with them and integrate with them in the future, because it’s extremely complimentary to what we do, and IT teams in enterprises truly want an end-to-end solution and have a platform that integrates with EMM that combines security and connectivity, providing a unified experience.”