The SyncML Initiative recently announced a new device management technology track focused upon a universal protocol for remote management of mobile devices. Wireless device management technologies "allow third parties to carry out the difficult procedures of configuring mobile devices on behalf of the end user." The development effort will address the three aspects of device management: (1) Protocol and mechanism: the protocol used between a management server and a mobile device (2) Data model: the data made available for remote manipulation, for example browser and mail settings (3) Policy: the policy that decides who can manipulate a particular parameter, or update a particular object in the device. In a wireless environment, the crucial element for device management protocol is the need to efficiently and effectively address the characteristics of mobile devices including low bandwidth and high latency. The SyncML device management protocol will be an open, universal industry standard for remote device management of networked devices. The Device Management Protocol to be developed by the SyncML Initiative will leverage existing and approved SyncML technology, including planned re-use of core XML DTD, a management protocol similar to the one-way server-alerted sync, and the exploitation and extension of transport and protocol layer security features in SyncML." A white paper describing the new development track is available via the SyncML web site.
From the SyncML DM white paper:
As a result of technological development, networked and mobile/wireless devices are becoming more and more complex. Consequently, connected devices are also becoming more and more difficult to manage, closely resembling the common modern dilemma of personal computer configuration and management. Hence, there is a strong need arising from consumers, Corporate Information Management (IM/IT) departments, and operators to have needed a tool for managing devices conveniently and effectively Currently, several parties are working diligently towards building proprietary device management implementations for the mobile world. Having several proprietary implementations poses the end-users, mobile operators, device manufacturers, and Enterprise/IT to a serious risk of insufficient interoperability and associated cost implications.
A standard management protocol is therefore needed to ensure technology and market development beneficial to all parties. Device management standardization has previously been widely distributed among different standardization bodies (WAP, 3GPP, OSGi, Telemanagement Forum, etc.). However, real technology development has not been done in any of the forums. The SyncML Initiative has identified the complexity of this issue, and the importance of finding a universal solution for device management protocol. The SyncML Initiative has initiated a new device management technology track that is concentrating its efforts in building a common device management protocol. The SyncML device management protocol will be an open, universal industry standard for remote device management of networked devices.
Planned device management scope includes device configuration (i.e., modify or read operating parameters); software maintenance; inventory (i.e., read from a device its current operating parameters, read installed or running software list, hardware configurations); and diagnostics (i.e., listen for alerts sent from a device, invoke local diagnostics on a device).
Use Cases of Device Management. There are numerous real-world use cases with Device Management, including: (1) New device purchase; (2) New device purchase with pre-existing service; (3) Remote service management; (4) Help desk problem determination; (5) Back up and restoration; (6) High volume configuration; (7) Un-manned (e.g., embedded) devices; (8) Automatic status reporting; (9) Software download; (10) Change of service, e.g., adding a new service; (11) Service discovery and provisioning.
"SyncML is the leading open industry specification for universal data synchronization of remote data and personal information across multiple networks, platforms and devices. The SyncML Initiative is sponsored by Ericsson, IBM, Lotus, Matsushita Communication Industrial Co., Ltd., Motorola, Nokia, Openwave, Starfish Software and Symbian, and supported by more than 650 key wireless and leading companies across various industry sectors. Companies interested in deploying SyncML compliant products and services in 2001 and beyond are encouraged to join the Initiative.
- Announcement 2001-11-19: "SyncML Initiative Announces Universal Device Management Project. Open Standard for Remote Management of Mobile Devices Under Development."
- SyncML web site
- Device Management White Paper: The Business Case for Device Management. SyncML Initiative Ltd. White Paper. November 13, 2001. 5 pages. [cache]
- SyncML 2002 Congress. See also the web site.
- "The SyncML Initiative" - Main reference page.