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10/28/2011

Dual Persona Market Heating Up

The recent $11 million investment secured by tech startup Enterproid (from Comcast Ventures, Google Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures) demonstrates a sign of faith, from these investors, that Enterproid may become a successful frontrunner in the ”dual-persona” smartphone market (dual-persona smartphones separate work/play operating environments).As the BYOD (bring your own device) trend continues unabated, we see enterprises starting to recognize that we are past the proverbial tipping point.  Organizations have been turning to mobile device management (MDM) vendors to deal with device fragmentation and for their “IT friendly” management consoles. While security is core to the solutions MDM vendors have brought to market – implementing the appropriate mobile policies will be a challenge for the enterprise moving forward – dual persona players believe they can simplify many of the challenges associated with BYOD – and most importantly, in our opinion, deliver a robust user experience while helping companies mitigate risk.


Enterproid Divide and the “Dual-Persona” Smartphone Market


Enterproid has stirred up the somewhat peaceful dual-persona smartphone market with the announcement of their Divide platform. Currently available in Beta form, as a downloadable app, for users of Android’s 2.2 OS (Froyo), Divide essentially allows users to combine their personal and work phones into one device.  With the touch of a button, employees may switch to a highly secure, protected environment managed by their company’s IT administrators.  In the same manner, users may switch back to their personal environment, which could contain items such as apps, games, widgets or e-mail that would be visible only in the personal environment.  While enterprises maintain remote control over the work-mode environment, including remote-sweeps or selective access restrictions, a user’s personal data would remain private, accessible only to that individual. Another powerful and elegant feature that the solutions brings is what Enterproid calls permeability – permissions can be set (with the appropriate security credentials) for items to be shared in both work and personal modes (for instance calendars and/or emails).


What’s Next for Enterproid?


Earlier this month at the CTIA Enterprise & Applications event in San Diego, AT&T introduced Toggle- a service based on the Enterproid Divide technology, which separates work and play environments for users.  This, combined with the impressive investment the company secured earlier this month, suggests a bright horizon for this tech startup, yet there are competitors developing alternative solutions.  VMware, for example, recently announced a partnership with several major players in the mobile space:  Verizon Wireless will enable this technology on devices built by both LG Electronics and Samsung.  The product, VMware Horizon Mobile takes a different approach to the dual-persona concept; rather than functioning as a software download, functionality built into the physical device will enable a virtualized phone.  While IT departments may value this hardware-based, and thus potentially more secure, approach, widespread adoption of VMware Horizon Mobile is necessarily delayed until these hardware-enabled devices more fully saturate the market.  Finally, BlackBerry recently announced its Balance solution which also separates work and personal environments – the solution of course is well integrated with BlackBerry’s Enterprise Server (BES). While these companies may have a head-start in the dual-persona smartphone market, VDC expects this market will see considerable growth in coming years, and need to evolve. Consolidation of the market is looming, and will be hastened by relationships that startups like Enterproid develop with mobile operators, OEMs and mobile device management (MDM) vendors.  We also anticipate that these technologies will gain more widespread adoption and demonstrate value for enterprises in mitigating risk and enforcing compliance.  Enterproid CEO Andrew Toy has revealed that we should expect new and exciting features to come in later versions of the Divide platform, Enterproid seeks to enable fulfilling consumer experiences.


This blog post is part 1 of 2 on the dual persona segment – in part 2 (next week) we’ll drill down deeper to compare and contrast the solutions from the aforementioned vendors, and expound on the role of the channel for these solutions. 

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