Cisco Jasper Brings IoT Management Knowhow to Mobile

Scott Ferguson

Already known for its management of connected vehicles and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, Cisco Jasper is looking to move into mobile device management with a new platform being offered through service providers.

After several weeks of beta tests, Cisco Jasper will release its Control Center for Mobile Enterprise today (April 25). Telus, a Canadian telecom firm, will be the first to offer the platform to customers through its own management suite. Other service providers are expected to provide the platform as well in the coming weeks.

The new mobile device management platform is an extension of Jasper's Control Center IoT service platform. However, instead of managing sensors in an IoT environment, the platform offers a view of an enterprise's mobile device fleet, while offering services such as managing issues from data usage to monthly telecom bills.

"A lot of customers have been asking us to extend our platform to business mobile phones as well," Pallavi Vanacharla, the head of product marketing for Enterprise Mobility at Cisco Jasper, told Enterprise Cloud News.

"If you think about it from their point of view, they have this amazing platform that automates their connectivity management across IoT devices and these cellular-connected devices and then they have other cellular devices like mobile phones from the same SPs that we partner with and for them it was a natural ask for them to say, 'We're using your mobile platform for IoT and why can't I just use this same platform for these as well,'" Vanacharla added.

The idea behind Jasper's mobile management platform is to automate much of what is done now by the IT department in the same way IoT management is automated.

In Jasper's view of the market, Vanacharla said that most enterprises are given a web portal to manage and buy mobile devices for employees. On top of that, businesses and their IT departments can add features such as VMware Airwatch for security or other tools for managing bills or checking data usage. (See VMware Wants to Lead CSPs to Enterprise Cloud.)

The issue with that, according to Vanacharla, is that there's a lot of manual oversight and management of the mobile fleet. This model also does not anticipate issues such as employees who are "pool busters," those who regularly add features to their devices or use data that show up in bills later.

"Our approach is to move away from the manual way of management," said Vanacharla. "What we have done in IoT, we want to bring to business mobile phones as well."

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The Jasper Control Center for Mobile Enterprise offers three specific components that allow for additional automation:

  • Enterprise-grade self-serve, which allows IT to manage multiple lines at once. This means IT can automatically add or take away features on phones, suspend subscriptions, or reassign devices to different employees.
  • Real-time visibility, which gives IT the ability to see all the usage within the mobile fleet. IT can then see when employees are going over their data usage and make adjustments instead of adjusting after bills arrive 30 to 60 days later.
  • Automated control, which allows IT to create the "network triggers" to help manage devices. For example, if an employee travels to China, a roaming plan would kick in automatically. It would also push an employee's data plan to the next level if the right rules were met.

One other component that Jasper is adding to its mobile platform is an employee lifecycle management feature. This is in addition to the component lifecycle feature that is found in the IoT management platform.

Unlike some other vendors that started in mobile management and moved to management of IoT devices, Jasper went backward: It started with IoT management, moved to connected cars and is now moving into mobile device management with service providers.

Jasper has been a part of Cisco for the past 13 months. At MWC, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins offered an update on the division and its growth over the last year. While it's expanding into mobile management, Jasper remains focused on IoT and has seen the most growth in industrial IoT, as well as retail, smart cities and connected cars. (See Cisco's Chuck Robbins Talks AppDynamics, Jasper at MWC.)

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— Scott Ferguson, Editor, Enterprise Cloud News. Follow him on Twitter @sferguson_LR.

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9/30/2018 | 1:35:32 AM
Networking and communication industry is progressing worldwide in great speed in which everybody wants to move fast. If you are good in your networking subject visit and get great deals regarding the IT sector.
5/5/2017 | 12:16:29 PM
Re: Average device lifetime?
That's certainly a good question, just what inventory of devices will it serve, just the short life of smartphones or a more robust management that will cater to any sort of device managment over the years.
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4/28/2017 | 11:15:17 AM
Re: Cost Savings

Scott putting on my product management cap from the old days I would recommend that each mobile have a profile for what it is allowed to do and certain caps. When those are approaching they should receive an automated notification with appropriate instructions. For extra features, I would assume a request protocol with submission and approval. If the monitoring is active rather than based on thresholds it would be extremely labor intensive.
4/26/2017 | 3:08:35 PM
Average device lifetime?
I'm curious how quickly this device management is updated -- does it keep up with the relatively short product lifecycle of consumer smartphones? Or does it work best with a homogeneous inventory of devices that are planned to be in use for the next n years?
4/25/2017 | 4:04:31 PM
Re: employee lifecycle management
Cisco has really been shifting things since Robbins came in as CEO. He's shaken things up, getting the company on a better track for the future. 

There's so much more competition in networking now. Cisco has had to move in different directions on the stack to stay nimble. 
4/25/2017 | 2:25:12 PM
employee lifecycle management
The employee lifecycle management feature, if it includes the prediction of usage so as to seamlessly take advantage of the correct usage plans, should be a pretty cool trick. I can see how something like that could automatically manage oversight of mobile plans in real time.
4/25/2017 | 1:21:30 PM
Re: Cost Savings
@Maryam: So with that as the backdrop, what would you look for in this type of platform? What would you need to perfectly manage your mobile device fleet?
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4/25/2017 | 12:30:46 PM
Re: Cost Savings
I am very intrigued by the real time capability but I worry that it might be very labor intensive if all the variables are not preprogrammed. For a corporation with thousands of employees managing the alerts could be overwhelming quickly.
4/25/2017 | 12:03:08 PM
Re: Cost Savings
@Maryam: I'll be interested to see if what they did for IoT can translate over. I would say that a lot of different companies offer some of these services, but that they are making an interesting play by going to the service providers themselves. In that case, I would say that maybe BlackBerry and some of that company's back-end stuff would be the most direct. My understanding is that this works in real-time since it's sold through the SPs. The idea is to get a bigger view of the spending and not wait for the bill to come due. 
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4/25/2017 | 11:56:58 AM
Cost Savings
Scott this is an excellent solution for corporations to harness and manage their costs. Do they have any competitors? Also is the reporting real time or is there any delay?


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