The new code is designed to let enterprise network managers pinpoint a BlackBerry's location via GPS, remotely view user problems on the device itself, and identify and inspect any third-party software downloaded by the user.
The Device Manager is an add-on module for Zenprise MobileManager, a server-based application that automatically monitors BlackBerries, Windows Mobile devices and iPhones to see problems, analyze their underlying causes and make recommendations to fix them.
The software module is the latest tool for managing the surge of handheld devices, which are putting a growing management and on network IT groups.
Through a small agent downloaded to the BlackBerry, Zenprise Device Manager (ZDM) gives network managers a real-time window to the device. The agent lets them remotely track the device's location (using the onboard GPS chip), see an inventory of its hardware and software, view incident data and inspect all third-party applications running on it. While BlackBerry Enterprise Server does collect and store a range of device data, it does so only periodically, and the data can be up to six hours old, according to Ahmed Datoo, vice president of marketing for Zenprise.
The original focus of MobileManager was automated monitoring and troubleshooting of the entire BlackBerry e-mail chain, including the device itself, the BlackBerry Enterprise Server behind the firewall, Research in Motion's network operations center, and the connections between all three, including the cellular link. The company has been broadening the reach of the software to turn it into a complete mobile device and application management system, for several mobile operating systems, including earlier this year.