RealTime IT News

Security, Sharing From Afar

PALM DESERT, Calif. -- Both the free-wheeling nature of the Internet and security solutions were on display at DEMO, a two-day industry conference here this week that wraps up today.

Alcatel-Lucent Ventures previewed "Project Evros" technology developed at Bell Labs. The company's Mobile Endpoint Management System is a wireless platform that includes a 3G PCMCIA card equipped with its own battery and processor running Linux. It's due to ship later this year.

"Our card is the ignition key to the laptop," said Dor Skuler, general manager of Alcatel-Lucent Ventures.

Once installed and authenticated, the card is required to power on the notebook. IT departments can gain access to the notebook remotely, even if it's turned off, to install updates, quarantine or un-quarantine it from the network as required if a virus is identified, as well as perform other maintenance and support tasks. The card automatically establishes a Virtual Private Network (VPN)  link keeping IT connected.

If a notebook is reported stolen, IT can send a remote "kill" command locking out access to the computer. IT can then issue a special password to the rightful owner if and when the notebook is recovered.

"IT really doesn't know where all its notebooks are, what state they are in and if they're lost or stolen," said Skuler. "But Evros allows IT control anytime, anywhere."

Alcatel-Lucent Ventures also said its solution is an open platform for developers who might want to provide additional cache management, configuration management and other solutions. It's due later this year.

Whisher.com debuted a service for mobile users who want to share more with others. The Wi-Fi services aims to bring social-networking features to mobile users. "Wi-Fi is really boring today; it's all about access," said Ferran Moreno, CEO of Whisher.

Based in Spain, Whisher integrates social features to Wi-Fi networks allowing local users sharing a hotspot to share files and chat online. Also, a message board feature lets them communicate and leave notes behind.

"If you're in a coffee shop you might connect and see a message 'Don't try the latte, it sucks,' joked Moreno. Vendors can leave messages with a local twist, such as bands playing in the area. "Whisher can customize the content based on where you are."

Brevient Technologies also is looking to give users more mobile capabilities. The company's Jyngle is a free voice and SMS messaging service designed to facilitate group communications. Group info like e-mail addresses and other contact info can be set up on a PC. Then from a mobile phone, you can contact anyone in the group with one call.

In a demo, company CEO Matthew Lautz called the service and left a message that was forwarded to a group of soccer coaches informing them about a practice being cancelled because the field was flooded. "You can use this as an alternative to e-mail to send real-time mobile messages directly to consumers' phones," he said.

Brevient also sees potential for retailers to tap the service. For example, a local pub could have a voluntary Jyngle sign-up sheet that would let customers be notified by phone about daily specials and events with a pre-recorded message.