Remote connectivity firm LogMeIn has developed software that enables support staff to securely access and control smartphones remotely.
LogMeIn Rescue Mobile is the first web-based service that enables technicians to remotely access and take control of a smartphone, and optionally the connected PC simultaneously.
Technicians have a replica of the smartphone on their computer screen and can push buttons, manipulate the screen and control the device as if it were in their own hands.
Analyst firm IDC said recently that 81 million smartphones were shipped in 2006, expected to grow to more than 300 million by 2011.
"As mobile phones and other devices become increasingly complex, carriers and support technicians face a troubling pain point: supporting, troubleshooting and even training phone users," said Stacy Sudan, research analyst for mobile enterprise software at IDC.
"For carriers and support organisations, this will significantly reduce the time and cost associated with supporting increasingly complex devices.
"For users, it reduces the frustration associated with the configuration and support of a handset that they may otherwise give up on and return."
As enterprise infrastructures have become decentralised and more distributed, the need for remote support solutions has risen dramatically.
Sophisticated smartphones add to the need for, and the complexity of, supporting a far-flung IT infrastructure, as these users typically turn first to their IT departments for help.
The support technician directs the device owner to a webpage, where a small applet is downloaded to the mobile device.
The end user is provided with a connection code that can be given before connecting to the internet or while speaking on a landline.
The technician then connects to the mobile device to gain complete control. At this point, the technician can make fixes, update software, conduct training sessions or configure settings and view the display and use the keypad.
"There is an opportunity for the carriers and internal IT shops to reduce costs and for outsourced IT providers to offer more value to customers," said Michael Simon, chief executive at LogMeIn.
"The ability to instantly and securely access a smartphone benefits sellers and users of these devices."
LogMeIn Rescue Mobile will be available for preview in July with support for smartphones running Microsoft Windows Mobile. Subsequent versions will support Symbian and BlackBerry.
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