More Devices, Fewer to Manage?

I unwrapped an Amazon Kindle a few days ago. My kids are roaming our house with iPod Touches. My wife wants a new smart phone. The world is waiting for an Apple Tablet device. My key question: As more and more mobile IP devices link to the Net, will customers (particularly small businesses) really call on managed service providers for mobile IP device help?

Frankly, I don't have an answer yet. General purpose devices like servers and PCs require extensive remote, proactive management. But special-pursue devices -- like a tablet or smart phone -- seem to be pretty reliable.

Or are they? I certainly see opportunities for managed service providers to offer...

  • Security services around emerging mobile devices. Lose the device and you're going to want an MSP to either (A) track it down or (B) wipe the memory so your business information doesn't wind up in someone else's hands.
  • Storage services. Yes, many mobile devices now have optional SaaS-oriented storage services. Apple's Mobile Me service -- with its iDisk storage -- comes to mind. But many businesses already have SaaS storage in place, and they'll need to connect the dots between those storage services and new mobile devices.
  • Hosted Applications like VoIP and unified communication services for mobile devices. I'm hearing from more and more VARs that want to connect the dots between Asterisk (the open source IP PBX), Google Android (the smart phone operating system) and hosted VoIP services.
Still, I wonder: As small businesses start to spend more on emerging mobile devices will there be  an opportunity for MSPs to cash in?
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