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Keeping the smart in smartphones

BY CSA STAFF

By Martin Brewer, [email protected]

According to most estimates, the number of people in the United States who own smartphones is rapidly approaching 80 million. What used to be viewed as just a cell phone has evolved to a robust palm-size computing device that has the potential to make employees more productive when outside of the office. Workers can be connected to the office around the clock; However, this leaves the IT department scrambling with how to properly secure and provision the various types of smartphones that can access the corporate network and carry sensitive data.

No one will argue that smartphones have altered productivity for both consumers and business professionals. In fact for retailers, it has opened up an entirely new method of communication with customers. With new mobile applications for smartphones, retailers can push out coupons and allow customers to check inventory and compare prices, all before or while shopping in their store.

With all the new makes and models of smartphones coming out everyday, how does an organization manage, secure and keep track of such devices? In today’s business environment, employees are showing up with their own personal smartphone, and it is the job of the IT department to determine how to effectively integrate a hodgepodge of BlackBerrys, Androids, iPhones and Windows Mobile phones into the company’s infrastructure. Combine that with the strong potential of iPad-like devices gaining traction in the business environment and odds are that the mobile landscape will only get muddier as more and more devices are introduced.

If a smartphone is not properly secured, it could mean an organization is liable if sensitive customer or proprietary data is found on a device that is left at a restaurant or at an airport. Security is a real concern as cell phones are the most common electronic devices that are lost or stolen. Sensitive information can be found on the phone or on the removable memory card. Data can also be exposed if a phone is sold or sent in for repairs without its memory first being erased properly. There is also the risk of VPN-connected devices that could expose corporate networks to hackers and malware intrusions. And there’s a growing potential for viruses to attack the phones themselves through SMS hacks.

Traditionally, CIOs managed smartphones and other mobile devices by keeping users on a short leash, but that approach will simply no longer be viable as technology has changed. Organizations have historically strictly controlled the products and applications that staff members could use. Many companies have tried to take control by purchasing standard phones on a Windows Mobile platform for employees so IT only needs to support a single operating system. But the growth of smartphones and the advances in technology has made that option much more difficult to enforce.

Despite all the security concerns, providing associates with better tools remains a key priority for retailers. The retail IT community clearly recognizes that a successful store experience goes beyond having great tools. There is a critical relationship between the tools themselves and the ability for them to be accessed and utilized properly. A recent survey from IHL Group found that a significant portion of retailers see the potential for Apple mobile products to play a key role in accessing information and delivering actionable customer service within the store. For example, customers at a restaurant could view its menu on an iPad, they could see additional color/style combinations at a soft goods retailer, or they can be shown digital photographers of what a room would like look like with particular paint. All of these examples provide a better customer experience to drive revenue and loyalty.

As IT managers are tasked with provisioning, updating and securing the wireless network and managing the variety of smartphones, IT administrators need the proper tools in place along with a strong network policy to streamline and simplify its management of its wireless ecosystem.

When looking at a mobile device management solution there are a few things that retailers should consider:

Support for a wide range of devices. Find a solution that will support all of your wireless assets. Some solutions don’t support all makes or models and are limited in what they manage.

Think beyond just smartphones. Look for a solution that manages all of your wireless devices including rugged handhelds and printers.

Security Settings. Allow the IT department to provision different settings and set and enforce wireless parameters for the device.

Device Locator. Using GPS technology you can track the wireless device and see where it has been to help maintain security.

Data Protection and Wipe. Make sure the system can remotely encrypt the data and wipe the device if it becomes lost or stolen. With this remote capability, users can return the device to factory settings.

Hardware and Software Control. Find a solution that has hardware and software controls so you can turnoff the phone’s camera and disenable the browser and any games.

Helpdesk Support. For your helpdesk support find a solution that does remote screen capture and can track battery life to help eliminate downtime for the user.

Customer Base. Find a provider that has a strong customer base, and don’t be afraid to ask for references.

Smartphones are everywhere and will only continue to gain in popularity as technology evolves. With devices like the iPad and other smartphones, the possibilities are even greater for mobile computing and productivity. It is critical that IT administrators address the challenge of integrating these devices into the network infrastructure and find a way to secure the data and easily maintain such devices.

Martin Brewer is director of research and development at Wavelink Corp., a provider of multi-vendor mobile device management, wireless infrastructure management, terminal emulation and voice-enabling software. Brewer has 20 years experience with technologies including data networking, security, network management, wireless and device management, specializing in software and its application into data communications. He can be reached at [email protected].

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M.Misiek says:
Jan-21-2013 03:27 pm

As IT managers are tasked with provisioning, updating and securing the wireless network and managing the variety of smartphones, IT administrators need the proper tools in place along with a strong network policy to streamline and simplify its management of its wireless ecosystem. place zabaw kraków Fotografia ślubna Kielce pizzerie kraków Producent kartonów Pomorskie Biuro księgowe w Białymstoku Usługi Ogrodnicze Leszno Wentylacja Warszawa angielski wejherowo filmowanie poznań katalog stron

M.Misiek says:
Jan-21-2013 03:27 pm

As IT managers are tasked with provisioning, updating and securing the wireless network and managing the variety of smartphones, IT administrators need the proper tools in place along with a strong network policy to streamline and simplify its management of its wireless ecosystem. place zabaw kraków Fotografia ślubna Kielce pizzerie kraków Producent kartonów Pomorskie Biuro księgowe w Białymstoku Usługi Ogrodnicze Leszno Wentylacja Warszawa angielski wejherowo filmowanie poznań katalog stron

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Walmart dumps the extra waste

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart announced it has eliminated more than 80% of the waste that would go to landfills from its operations in California by implementing a comprehensive waste reduction program. The results far exceed national average where EPA estimates only 45% of waste is diverted from landfills and the California rate of 65%.

The program is now being rolled out across the chain’s 4,400 stores, Sam’s Club locations and distribution centers in the United States, moving the retailer closer to its global goal of creating zero waste.

Achieving a similar 80% reduction in its landfill waste across the country would help Walmart prevent more than 11.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

“We are committed to buying, operating and selling for less, and our waste program is a great example of developing new ideas that help us save our customers money. Through this program we are able to provide the raw materials needed to make new products, recycle millions of pounds of commodities and reduce the environmental impact of landfills,” said Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart U.S.

Walmart began implementing and consistently tracking its new and existing waste reduction efforts in California in 2009. A third-party review has shown Walmart uses an appropriate process to establish its waste reduction data. The nationwide program, based on the California model, will include an ongoing review to monitor the program’s success

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Consumer insights conference comes to NWA

BY CSA STAFF

A first of its kind conference focused on shopper behavior is scheduled for May 12 in Fayetteville, Ark., home of the Center for Retailing Excellence within the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. The conference is called SHOP and features a number of thought leaders in the field of consumer research and shopper insights and was designed to complement the Center’s Emerging Trends in Retailing Conference that is held each fall.

“Our board was looking for a way to build on the success of the Emerging Trends conference and determined that assembling a group of thought leaders to share the latest insights on consumer behavior would be a good way to accomplish that objective,” said Center director Claudia Mobley. “Shopper behavior is typically an area we address at the fall conference, but with this new event the shopper will be the sole focus. That is an important distinction because shoppers behavior is changing rapidly we felt it was time to have an event exclusively devoted to it.”

Among those slated to speak are best-selling author Paco Underhill who serves as CEO of Envirosell, a behavioral research and consultancy firm who wrote the book Why We Buy and the more recent What Women Want. Joining Underhill on the program will be Ken Nisch, chairman of JGA, a brand strategy and retail design firm, Herb Sorensen, scientific advisor with TNS Global Retail and Shopper Practice and author of the book Inside The Mind of the Shopper: The Science of Retailing and Bridget Brennan, CEO of Female Factor and author of the book, Why She Buys: The New Strategy for Reaching the World’s Most Powerful Consumers.

SHOP runs from 8 a.m. until noon and will be held at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Enterprise Development at the Sam M. Walton College of Business. For more information visit: http://cre.uark.edu/hh4.asp.

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