This week in the mobile enterprise, the iPad gets cool video conference solutions, mobile information workers invade and it's all about security, not the device.

Providing Voice and Video Conferencing Options for the iPad

Global IP Solutions, a leading provider of HD voice and video-processing solutions has announced the availability of high-definition (HD) and Super-wideband Voice as well as one-way Video Conferencing/Chat capabilities for iPad developers.

Powered by GIPS VideoEngine Mobile, iPad developers can integrate a high-level software API that contains the complex video conferencing/video chat capabilities into applications running on Apple's iPad operating system.

Why the need for such capabilities on the iPad?

Because the magical device isn’t a phone, not yet a computer, GIPS offers iPad developers a strong solution for voice and video communication that aims to overcome many of the issues plaguing mobile and IP networks, like delays, packet loss, bandwidth limitations, lip synchronization, dynamic bandwidth optimization and echo cancellation. By ensuring that conversations dynamically adjust with Wi-Fi and cellular network conditions, thereby maintaining an uninterrupted experience, GIPS can use the iPad as a near perfect venue on which to experiment.

Of course, GIPS mobile technology is also available on the Android, iPhone, Symbian and Windows Mobile operating systems.

Mobilizing the Mobile Information Worker in the Enterprise

Results from a Forrester Research report, "Technology Populism Fuels Mobile Collaboration," shows that almost half of all enterprises support the use of personal mobile devices, and about 40 percent of employees ask their IT departments to install productivity apps.

Now that everyone from executives to salespeople and field technicians have and use smartphones in the enterprise, IT departments are struggling with the challenges that it brings. There is a growing demand from workers to access business applications beyond e-mail, including ERP, CRM and other often-used systems, while also keeping it secure.

Mobile information workers, to which they are referred, are not your typical 9 to 5 employees. They encompass a wide variety of positions in the workplace and according to Forrester, information workers are a key mobile employment segment. Not only do they manage information but they help keep businesses running.

From middle managers, sales people, to business department leaders, health care professionals and executive assistants, Forrester predicts that 34 percent of the global workforce will be made up of mobile information workers.

As a result of the influx of mobile information workers in the enterprise, the demand for wireless access to business applications, from anywhere, at anytime is growing. The more readily available networks and applications are to them, the more productive they will be and that’s good news for companies. However, such accommodation comes with challenges and costs.

Willie Jow, vice president for business operations and mobility product marketing for Sybase, cautions businesses in his recent article for IT Business Edge. He offers three first steps for deploying a mobile enterprise:

  1. Protect corporate data with mobile security best practices
  2. Manage multiple device operating systems and business systems with a single platform.
  3. Enable multiple, enterprise-wide deployments

As businesses evolve their understanding and appreciation for mobile devices and the employees who use them, so must the strategies they employ to support them.

Security First, Mobile Devices Second

Speaking of mobile devices, Carl Weinschenk of IT Business Edge is more concerned about security. He says:

From the security perspective, it's a good idea to encrypt everything that is of even marginal value. Better yet, just encrypt everything. It’s better for a ton of unimportant data to get encrypted than one vital shred to be transmitted in the clear. This may be a bit more expensive, complex and time-consuming, but the uncertainty of life beyond the firewall means that the focus must switch from protecting devices to protecting data.

Why is Weinschenk so paranoid? Because as more workers take to mobile devices for business related applications and transactions, it becomes harder to keep all that information secure. Mobile users go places and information can become vulnerable as they enter through mobile hot spots on less secure networks.

Mark Pratt of ComputerWorld says that it’s only a matter of time before sensitive information is exposed. He warns that

employees are increasingly exposing personal and professional information unknowingly as they log in at Wi-Fi hot spots. Although these breaches haven't yet made big headlines, given corporate America's increasing reliance on smartphones, laptops and other portable devices, it's only a matter of time…

It’s crucial for companies to update and enforce security policies and train employees so that they know what steps to take to protect their information. While mobile devices may provide an opportunity for better productivity, it may not be worth it if precious data is being lost in the process.