MobileIron reconciles the mobile and desktop worlds

Because life, at least at a device level, is far from binary.

mobile device management tablet user apps

You’d be forgiven for assuming, given all the hype we hear about mobile devices, that laptops and (gasp) even desktops are completely obsolete. While it is true that I can perform far more of my daily important tasks on a mobile device than I ever could before, the fact that I am typing this blog post on a laptop should be a good indication that, at least for some use cases, desk-based devices (and, as an aside, we really need a better descriptor for devices, as a class, that aren’t mobile) are still key.

So, what is an organization to do when they’ve gone down the path of leveraging a mobile management solution, but need to manage non-mobile devices as well? This is actually a key question since for large organizations, device management is a pretty critical function with both safety aspects (security and data access) and productivity ones (ensuring employees have the right applications, data access and connectivity when they need it). Until now organizations would typically use an Enterprise Mobile Management (EMM) tool for all their mobile devices, and generally more of a legacy product for their desktop devices.

EMM vendor MobileIron wants to change that with the announcement today of MobileIron Bridge. The offering unifies mobile and desktop operations for Windows 10 via a single console and communications channel. By using Bridge, organizations can ensure consistent security, access and policy setting across the breadth of their hardware.

As mentioned, Bridge brings mobile management functionality down to a desktop level. Specific tools allow IT admins to:

  • Enforce actions from existing Powershell scripts
  • Edit and manage the registry
  • Deploy non-MSI applications through an enterprise app store
  • View and manage the file system

The value of a combined management platform for devices is obvious -- while EMM has done wonders for employee enablement, it has made the glaring issues around general device management even more obvious. MobileIron is focused on closing this gap and, in doing so, starts to nudge up against adjacent product areas including IT Support and traditional desktop management.

And the analysts would seem to agree with the thesis that a combined approach is best. Per Gartner:

“EMM should be your first choice for managing Windows 10 and Mac OS X. EMM is disrupting PC management because it offers fundamentally more efficient management, addresses unmet use cases, and offers a better user experience for existing use cases.”


This is a natural move, especially given the fact that the boundaries between “mobile” and “desktop” are increasingly blurred (is a Microsoft Surface a desktop or a mobile device, for instance, and what happens if and when Google delivers its rumored new operating system which will span mobile and desk-based computing?).

I like what MobileIron is doing here and, given the size of the existing installed desk-based computing market, its shareholders should respond positively as well.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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