Intermec moves into mobile management

Skynax 8 is the first full release under Intermec ownership of the software for mobile device management and security

Intermec, which has made a name for itself over four decades as a provider of rugged mobile devices mainly for service delivery and warehouse use, is moving quickly into mobile management software and services.

Today, Intermec announced Skynax 8, software for integrating management of mobile data exchange, application and device management and support, and security. Skynax 8 is the first full software version sold by Intermec, after the company acquired Skynax and two other software companies in 2010 as part of an evolution of the traditional hardware maker into one that offers software and services as well, said Larry Klimczyk, vice president of Intermec Global Solutions.

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The software is designed to unify various tools under one system for customers in field service, transportation and logistics, public safety, and other industries, Intermec officials said in a telephone briefing.

Garrick Fiala, Intermec's manager of software engineering, said the software is distinct among mobile management products because it provides management of network connectivity and data over wireless links.

For example, software on a client device, such as a rugged computer in a truck, will switch a connection from Wi-Fi to a 3G network to save costs and maximize throughput, he said.

The software also enables network resilience, he said. In one example, a customer running a dairy operation with 6,500 truck drivers and other users was able to restore network connections 15 minutes after the dairy's data center went down.

The average price for Skynax 8 will range from $60 to $85 for each mobile device -- a price that includes licenses for client devices and servers, Fiala said. Intermec will also host the software for customers. The software is fully open and supports Intermec and devices from other manufacturers, he added.

Eric Klein, an analyst at VDC Research, said Skynax's biggest advantage will be the ability to incorporate a diverse range of mobile applications, making it flexible enough to use with custom applications built by companies and developers.

Adding Skynax and other software to Intermec's offerings "has been a good strategy," Klein said, noting that it is the strategy used by Intermec's biggest competitor, Motorola Solutions. Intermec and Motorola Solutions are the best known for rugged devices and software, while companies such as Good, Airwatch and MobileIron appear most focused on management of consumer-grade smartphones and tablets used in businesses.

Klein said he expects that Intermec will eventually sell Skynax software through wireless carriers.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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This story, "Intermec moves into mobile management" was originally published by Computerworld.

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