Just before the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, OpenPeak announced new mobile device and application management products. I had a chance to meet with them at the show. While their MDM/MAM products have been launched only recently, OpenPeak has a longer history with white-label tablets.
OpenPeak is built around a web/cloud-based management platform called ADAM (Advanced Device and Application Manager) that enables several levels of tiered management. It doesn’t plug into Active Directory or anything like that, so you’ll have top populate and manage it on its own.
OpenPeak’s MDM component is called Sanction, and as MDM platforms go, it has all the common features. After all, for the most part, all MDM solutions are working with the same sets of APIs from Android and iOS. It’s combining these APIs to do other things that is where solutions can differ. In OpenPeak’s case, they allow admins to build policies such as geo-fencing for individual apps or different device functions, network rules, and even limiting apps to certain times of day. This is all in addition to the standard remote wiping, password enforcement, app-pushing, whitelist/blacklist, et cetera.
To enable a split-persona work/private experience, the Sector component creates a container application into which only corporate apps can be installed. Sector includes basic PIM app functionality, as well.
On the management side, Sector allows admins to upload apps from .IPA or .APK packages and "wrap" them for security purposes. This is possible because mobile applications are generally limited to APIs that are made available by the platform, and analysis of code can easily find these API calls. App packages can then be easily modified to meet corporate security requirements—on the device, at least—you may have to then provide secure ways for an app to communicate with certain resources, or check manually for other vulnerabilities.
OpenPeak’s corporate app store, OpenShop, can be used to point to web apps or virtual applications in addition to distributing apps that are wrapped by Sector. It also has an analytics engine to provide "robust" reporting on app usage.
Putting it all together
Customers are free to pick and choose what components they want to implement. For example, if a BYOD situation permitted, an organization could simply purchase and deploy the secure container app and the corporate app store, and leave devices themselves unmanaged. Alternatively, companies looking for traditional MDM could choose just that component.
The one piece that OpenPeak is missing is some sort of mobile data management application. No matter whether a company is doing unmanaged BYOD, MDM on corporate devices, or something in the middle of that spectrum, the need for a data management app will come up soon, and one that integrates with the secure container app would be the most useful. Otherwise, even though it seems like OpenPeak would play nice with a third party mobile data management app, going that route would add yet another product to manage.
Reading about OpenPeak, you might be wondering where you heard that name before—the answer is with Intel-based Android tablets (and before that, Linux tablets). OpenPeak white-labeled devices for other companies, including Verizon (the Hub, which is long gone) and Cisco (the Cius, which isn't). Most recently they announced a tablet—the OpenTablet 10—at the 2011 Consumer Electronics show, but it doesn't seem to have ever been released. The same goes for the OpenTablet 7, announced a year earlier. This isn't surprising considering that Android on Intel tablets never took off.
Whatever happened with those tablets, OpenPeak seems to have reinvented itself, landing it the MDM/BYOD space. They likely had a lot of knowledge and technology left over from their earlier incarnation, and it shows in features like the management console (all the levels they talk about seem like more than would be needed for all but the largest enterprise organization) and the analytics engine (it sounds like something that a telecom company would want a lot more then a typical organization). As for their product, like any mobile data or app management tool it's all about how individual organizations choose to implement it. The container application and app store, though, show that OpenPeak is looking beyond just MDM.
This feature overview will be updated from time to time. If you notice any inaccuracies, please comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. There are a lot of vendors and features to keep track of, and I want to be sure and keep everything straight.
- Platform Android, iOS
- Architecture secure container and/or MDM
- Security app or device level
- App sources from package files
- How external apps are brought in security “wrapping” is applied to package
- App stores yes
- Split plans/phone numbers no, but can collect lots of usage metrics
- Management interface web
- On-site requirements none, cloud