Nokia, Windows Phone 8 and the network impact

Microsoft’s latest mobile OS includes an array of features designed to appeal to business customers. Will Nokia’s Lumia devices use them to challenge the iPhone 5?

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The time will come – and it may come not long after what many believe will be the launch of Nokia’s Lumia 820 and Lumia 920 Windows Phone 8 smartphones – when a majority of people will not remember that mobile devices once lacked the best business features of the average PC.

Although not all the details of Windows Phone 8 have been confirmed publicly, here’s what we know about what may be among the benefits of whatever Nokia unveils on Tuesday. While Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy devices have focused more explicitly on the consumer features of their smartphones, Microsoft remains among the few vendors outside of Research In Motion that is keeping the needs of IT departments and business users in mind.

Earlier this year several sites, including, provided an overview of what to expect in Windows Phone 8. This one jumped out:

“In an attempt to recapture the enterprise, Windows Phone 8 is said to add native BitLocker encryption — the same 128-bit, full-disk encryption found on Microsoft most recent desktop platforms,” Evan Blass wrote. “So-called ‘line-of-business’ applications are also gaining support, allowing businesses to deploy proprietary, tailored software behind their company firewalls.”

That level of encryption could be a big deal for IT departments that want to offer more choice and flexibility as part of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs, or those which are making more corporate data accessible via mobile devices. From a network perspective, Windows Phone 8 will also reportedly include DataSmart, a tool which helps identify trends and patterns in data consumption by tracking usage at the device level. A proxy server, meanwhile, promises to take the approach of Opera Mini and Skyfire, compressing data to feed images into IE 10 and reduce the amount of data needed to look at Web sites. Some have pegged the reduction as high as 30 per cent.

The bottom line is that from a networking, security and file system standpoint, Windows 8 Phone devices from Nokia or other suppliers will likely have much in common with a business desktop. That’s important because so far, the so-called consumerization of IT has been about creating devices that were once designed for work and maximizing their capacity for play, such as games and watching videos. As companies catch up to the demands of users for greater mobility, there could be an equally high expectation around business capabilities.

Put another way, the trend of the last few years has been frustration among users when they get business IT that isn’t as good as what they have at home. Microsoft, along with Nokia and other OEMs, will have to demonstrate that there’s something in corporate computing systems they should want on a consumer phone. It won’t necessarily make Nokia the world’s No. 1 smartphone player again. But it might give IT departments something to point to when they need to discuss alternatives to the iPhone 5.

Learn more about the smartphone revolution by reading, ‘The Consumerization of IT,’ by Frost & Sullivan.


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