MobileIron is comign out of quiet mode today, announcing the launch of its platform for smartphones in the enterprise – and two customers.
Based in Sunnyvale, Calif., the venture-backed company offers management for everything from smartphone apps and corporate data to the costs the enterprises ring up when employees are roaming.
MobileIron CEO Bob Tinker, a former Cisco executive via Airespace, says company executives saw the wave of smartphones coming and anticipated the day when the single OS strategy would collapse inside the enterprise.
That day has come, and MobileIron currently supports BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and iPhone. Support for Symbian is coming, followed by Android and Palm’s webOS.
The challenges for IT are greater in the mobile world than with laptops. “The e-mail battle is sort of over. IT is struggling with other stuff, securing enterprise data on the smartphone, dealing with the apps, costs … smartphone plan costs and how to deal with employee-owned smartphones,” he says.
MobileIron says it provides a central view into how employees are using applications, their activity, whether 411 abuses are occurring and real-time insight into international roaming and how those costs are stacking up. The company also can provide visibility into service quality, including signal strength and dropped calls. In that sense, it can help enterprises negotiate with their service providers. “It’s up to the enterprise and carrier to figure out,” he says, but MobileIron is taking a conversation that used to be anecdotal and providing actual data behind it.
MobileIron quietly started selling its wares about eight weeks ago. Prior to that, the company spent about 18 months working with enterprises to understand smartphone challenges.
MobileIron employs about 40 people, with operations in the United States and India. Investors include Norwest Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital and Storm Ventures. Customers include Fenwick & West, a law firm based in the Bay Area, and food specialty firm Windsor Foods. MobileIron also has partnerships with mobile integrators Cellular Optimization, Info Plus International, Invisible IT and Misison Critical Wireless.