HP pinpoints mobile workforce with new line of products

Hewlett-Packard Canada Ltd. released its new line-up of wireless products on Monday, which targets concerns on the minds of mobile professionals, according to the company.

Included among the new offerings are: the HP Deskjet 450wbt mobile inkjet printer; a new HP Compaq Tablet PC TC1100 integrated with Intel Corp.’s Centrino mobile technology; an HP bt1300 Bluetooth wireless printer adapter; and the HP iPAQ Pocket PC h4150 and h4350 both with integrated Wi-Fi capabilities.

These products are complementary to those released by the company in June, when HP first announced its vision for mobile devices, said Victor Garcia, managing principal of the mobility program office at HP Services in Mississauga, Ont.

According to HP, its mobility computing vision focuses on developing technologies that work better together across multiple platforms, which would allow users to focus more on their businesses and less on the technology.

Garcia said HP is focusing on two key concerns of customers with its new products and services – security and cost.

“Our message to customers sounds something like this: We will supply the devices, the hardware, the software, the integration with your existing application, we will train your IT people, we will train your users…and we will take an existing package and make it mobile within four weeks,” Garcia said. “We’ll do that for a fixed price so you’ll know from day one how much it is going to cost you.”

In terms of security, Garcia said it is more than ensuring that nobody steals the packets of information “as they fly through the air,” but also enforcing policy that ensures that when a user loses a device, the data in that device is secure. To combat this key concern, HP is attacking security at two levels.

“At the device level, we [are using] file and data encryption to ensure the data in the device is using either strong password, strong SSL (secure socket layer) or biometrics technologies,” Garcia said.

At the management level, HP is helping companies develop and enforce policy or implement intelligent roaming, intelligent infrastructure management to manage each device, he added.

Aaron Vance, an analyst with Synergy Research Group Inc. in Phoenix, Ariz. said that security – especially as it pertains to wireless networks – has been, and will continue to be a major concern for wireless users.

He added, however, that because of advancements in standards and other third party solutions, vendors can deliver better answers for enterprises with heavy security questions.

“I think what enterprises are going to realize going forward is that security is not going to necessarily be their number one issue and that general management of a large wireless LAN deployment is really going to be where they are going to find the most trouble,” Vance said.

He added that although HP is new to the wireless market, it isn’t entering too late to eventually take hold of a large portion of the market share.

He added that HP is ahead of companies including Cisco Systems Inc. which isn’t planning on having a wireless solution ready until next year.

At the end of the day, customers want HP to demonstrate to them that these broad concepts of mobility and wireless have a return on investment (ROI) proposition, said Ken Price, manager of the personal systems group marketing at HP Canada in Mississauga, Ont.

“The return might be in terms of business process improvement, customer satisfaction or financial savings. But, that’s kind of where we are right now, the idea, the intuition that probably promoted wireless is giving way to a more hard set of criteria,” Price added.

HP Canada can be found online at www.hp.ca.