Ericsson, Tivoli Team on Mobile Device Management

L.M. Ericsson Telephone Co. and Tivoli Systems Inc. announced on Wednesday they would collaborate on developing remotely-managed mobile devices. "As future generations of mobile devices become more robust, the management of this technology will become more critical," said Robert Davis, vice president of Net generation management solutions with Tivoli, during a teleconference. "We believe we can make it easier for consumers and businesses to use these products."

Ericsson will incorporate Tivoli device management technologies into its forthcoming products for networks based on GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) and UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) technology, it said in a statement. The first crop of new products with the management technology are expected during the second half of 2001, said Anil Raj, vice president and general manager of new business for Ericsson, during the teleconference.

Mobile phone network operators and corporate users will be able to remotely configure, monitor and update the devices. This will mean phone services and applications will work straight out of the box: No additional configuration will be needed, Ericsson said.

The initiative could provide a revenue opportunity for service providers, while sales and support costs could also be reduced thanks to the automated configuration and initialization, Ericsson said.

Ericsson and Tivoli intend to work with other vendors to establish an open standard for such device management, according to Ericsson. They plan to propose the standard in the first half of 2001.

"Solving the issue of device management is fundamental to the introduction of new mobile Internet and e-business services," said Jan Lindelow, chairman of Tivoli, according to the statement.

The mobile management software will provide consumers with better customer support, while operators will be able to provide assistance to mobile users more easily, Raj said.

"The challenge we have to overcome is to make these products user friendly," he said.

In the work with Ericsson, Tivoli will use Tivoli Personalized Services Manager, which enables a service provider to manage subscriber profiles and devices. The most recent version, 3.0, which has remote management capabilities, came out in June, said Bill Herring, a Tivoli spokesman.

Updating handsets remotely is not easy currently, especially in the U.S., and most users have to go back to a store to get software upgrades, said Eddie Hold, director of telecom services for market researcher Current Analysis Inc. in Sterling, Virginia. This is a smart technology for keeping users on the same page, he suggested.

"I think that is a very important addition," Hold said. "It is the same as any end device such as a computer, cell phone or PDA (personal digital assistant); You need to keep them all in sync. Using the Tivoli manager you will be able to keep them all up to date. It also is a way that they (providers) can manage the content sources that you can see on the wireless Web menu."http://www.ericsson.comhttp://www.tivoli.com/.

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