Bring Your Own Device programs, IT policies and strategies in the K-12 and higher education sectors are all the purvey of Scott Kraege, an expert in the space and co-founder of MOBI wireless management. His work in setting up pilot programs for local K-12 schools interested in adopting tablets in the classroom as well as his passion for the area make for an interesting and informative discussion, and here it is.
Victor: Why did you create MOBI wireless management?
Scott: In 2007, we began to see a market for simple, cost-efficient, low-risk, wireless managed services within large enterprises. The MOBI solution was developed more automated, more configurable, and much more robust in capability than anything else in the industry. Within a week of sketching the broad strokes, we hired a small team of IT developers and began coding the software platform. After nearly a year’s work, we began to create an identity for MOBI. We built the foundations of a sales organization, and we utilized new forms of guerilla marketing and social media to help build the brand. Eight months after taking the solution to market, AOTMP – the telecom industry’s leading research and advisory organization, ranked MOBI #1 in customer satisfaction in its 2010 annual report. Since then, MOBI has forged ahead as one of the leaders in this fairly new marketplace. We like the view ahead of us – a virtually untapped market, with no real dominant players, all while wireless technology continues to become more and more of a mission-critical tool for enterprises.
Victor: What does the name mean?
Victor: What is it? Who created it?
Scott: MOBI is a Wireless Environment Management company created by the founders of Bluefish Wireless. It was determined that there was a need in the marketplace for a carrier-neutral, SaaS-modeled solution with a white-glove approach to end users. MOBI was developed to be the most flexible, configurable solution on the market today in an effort to ease the onboarding burden and enhance the customer experience.
Victor: What does it do? What are the benefits?
Scott: MOBI utilizes best in class technology and white glove help desktop support to create an environment that maximizes the level of service provided to administrators and end users while vastly improving efficiency to drive down costs. MOBI customers benefit by witnessing a reduction in their wireless bills and an increase in the level of service provided to their end users. Soft dollar savings are also realized through an 80 percent reduction in FTE’s required to support the organizations wireless production.
Victor: How is it unique from other similar products/services? What companies do you see as in the same market?
Scott: MOBI’s uniqueness lies first in its technology. It was developed to be extremely configurable in order to maximize the ongoing flexibility and reduce the time required to onboard. Most competitors in this industry develop a base product, then configure and customize for each customer through coding changes. These changes can take weeks or months and often result in extra charges for the customer. MOBI’s average onboarding time is 37 days and almost every customer required a to high degree of customization. Secondly, MOBI has proven to be second to none regarding the support of end users. The MOBI helpdesk is comprised of college-educated MOBI employees located in Indianapolis. These team members are arranged in separate support pods assigned a limited number of accounts. The structure means end users will routinely reach the same small group of Account Specialists providing white glove feel for all customers, large and small. Thirdly, MOBI has developed patent pending re-billing solutions designed to provide the most accurate reflection of what each user costs the organization while maximizing savings.
MOBI was created as the most configurable wireless management solution for the telecommunication industry.
Victor: When was it developed? What is something interesting or relevant about its development history?
Scott: MOBI development began in 2008. The MOBI solution is a living, breathing solution that continues to grow and improve guided by customer and market needs. With one-third of MOBI employees being IT focused, the executive team continues to demonstrate that product development will always be a central factor in the MOBI business and culture. Exciting developments regarding our expense management and re-billing solutions have resulted in patent pending technology that continues to be on the cutting edge of the wireless management industry. MOBI fits enterprises with over 1,000 devices in a number of program structures: Corporate Liable, Individual Liable, BYOD, etc.
Victor: Where did it originate? Where can you get it now?
Scott: MOBI started in Indianapolis which remains its headquarters. The complete MOBI solution is available in North America. MOBI continues to develop exciting solutions to aid organizations in solving the global puzzle.
Victor: How much does it cost? What are the options?
Scott: MOBI’s cost varies based on volume and the type of device being supported. It is charged in a per device per month model and does not require its customers to sign term agreements. It has been a philosophy since MOBI’s inception that the MOBI solution would provide value month after month. Should a customer determine that they are no longer seeing that value, they should not be forced to remain in that business relationship.
Victor: What are some examples of it in action?
Scott: The vast majority of MOBI customers are on month-to-month agreements and yet MOBI maintains a retention rate of over 99 percent.
Victor: Who is it particularly tailored for? Who is it not for?
Scott: MOBI is designed for organizations managing over 1000 mobile devices. It is more difficult to demonstrate ongoing value for organizations with less than 500 lines.
Victor: What are your thoughts on education these days?
Scott: Information is flooding into our lives faster than ever. Young people are wonderful adapters and have embraced the existing high tech world where social media has become so intertwined in our culture. In order to stay up with the incredible velocity of the society today’s young people grow up in, technology will have to be embraced by the education system. This can create an educational environment the maximizes the speed and access to information allowing for educators to focus on important skills such as problem solving and creative thinking rather than memorization and fact finding.
The mobility management industry is extremely confusing for organizations today. This is a very immature industry which requires continued education of our customers and prospective customers. The MOBI marketing department continually produces videos and other online materials designed to shed light on the confusing aspects of the wireless industry. This will continue to be an important aspect of the MOBI marketing plan.
Victor: What sort of formative experiences in your own education helped to inform your approach to creating MOBI wireless management?
Scott: I was taught early during my education in business school that many great businesses ideas were developed around the idea of helping people alleviate or avoid pain. Great businesses have been built by identifying areas of pain for people and developing products and solutions designed to alleviate that pain. MOBI was developed with this philosophy. The formative experiences are simple. They all involve the pain witnessed as organizations attempted to keep up with the demands of their mobility programs as its growth accelerated exponentially. MOBI was designed to alleviate much of that pain.
Victor: How does MOBI wireless management address some of your concerns about education?
Scott: While many educators recognize the need to introduce more technology into the student’s environment, there are concerns around paying for and managing that technology. Devices designed to enhance productivity such as tablets and smartphones, also can be fairly easy to break. They can be difficult and expensive to procure. They can be expensive to maintain. It can be expensive to continually refresh the technology. These are many of the reasons educators have shied away from introducing advanced technologies.
MOBI was designed to provide a framework to easily introduce new technologies into an environment and to provide the expertise and experience to ensure the technology is managed as efficiently as possible. This results in the lowest overall Cost of Ownership.
Victor: What is your outlook on the future of education?
Scott: The most successful people in our society are the most creative thinkers and the best problem solvers. They are not the best memorizers. There was a time when access to information was scarce. “Experts” were those among us who knew lots of facts and became invaluable sources of information. Access to information is not the challenge any more and the traditional “expert” is becoming obsolete. The individuals that can think the most creatively and solve problems will be the “experts” of the future and add the most value to society. Putting information at the fingertips of a student allows them to free up their area of focus to think more creatively.
I feel a shift in education is coming that will allow students to learn in a much more flexible environment that allows them to learn and grow at their own pace and in a direction led by their own curiosity. This will foster more creativity and create the next generation of contributors.
Victor: Anything else you’d like to say to educators and other leaders in and around education about the value of MOBI wireless management?
Scott: Many education systems are embracing technology. However, many are resisting for the reasons mentioned above. MOBI can provide the expertise and infrastructure required to begin to infuse your environment with technology while controlling the cost of that technology. MOBI has a track record of doing this for the some of the largest organizations in America.
Victor Rivero tells the story of 21st-century education transformation. He is the editor-in-chief of EdTech Digest, a magazine about education transformed through technology. He has written white papers, articles and features for schools, nonprofits and companies in the education marketplace. Write to: [email protected]