Kevin Kempf's Blog

July 29, 2011

How to make an iPhone work in a corporate environment

Filed under: iPhone — kkempf @ 10:10 am

Can we make this relationship work?

Cellular tether

It’s just an accepted fact in IT that you’re going to be contacted after hours.  Recently, my Blackberry Tour started giving me grief during data (internet) tethering with my Ubuntu desktop.  The bluetooth connection would drop itermittently, or not even be recognized by Ubuntu.  This wasn’t really acceptable, and I’d seen how slick the interface was on a colleagues iPhone with regard to the ease of creating a personal wi-fi hotspot.  Since I’ve never had a problem connecting my notebook to a wi-fi network, I reluctantly bid my Blackberry adieu and got the iPhone 4.  

What Blackberry does well

The Blackberry is an awesome workhorse for the business place. 

  • The battery lasts forever.  I could easily make a 3 day weekend without ever putting it on the charger.
  • Filters.  No offense, Oracle, but I don’t want my phone to wake me up at 4am because some analyst updated my SR.  Basically, if the email wasn’t from my company’s domain, it didn’t get to my Blackberry.
  • Sound Profiles.  I had an awesome little app for the Blackberry called profiler pro.  What this allowed me to do was set the phone to vibrate during the workday and loud at night.  In other words, alerts got to me when I needed them (and woke me up if necessary), and when I was at work, I assumed I’d already be aware of problems via email.
  • Keyboard.  This is so easy to type on.  I’m not part of the texting generation, I need keys in the right place and a tactile feel to them.

So the iPhone had to stack up against all of these requirements. 

First Impressions of the iPhone4

  • A few bumps with AD, but integrated to my work email via active sync
  • Beautiful display
  • Slick interface
  • How can the battery be that low already?
  • Why do I have to kill an application after I use it, shouldn’t it just shutdown?
  • Lots of apps
  • Will the email make a ding if the screen is locked?  Sleeping?  What about if the app isn’t running? 
  • Where’s the volume/ringtone control for incoming email?  Oh.  There isn’t one?  Great.  That little ding is supposed to wake me up?
  • Glad you put a rington control on texts.  I can choose 27 different rings for that. 
  • Where’s the filter?   I got this phone right in the middle of the memory upgrade and the subsequent DRCP fix noted in my last posting.  So I had to keep a close watch on email/alerts
    • I love your work, Steven Chan, but your updates are always at odd hours on the east coast
    • Why is someone adding me as a friend on Facebook at 2am?  They live in the same timezone as me.  Wait.  Why is my phone dinging to tell me this?
    • Oh look, Oracle closed my SR at 5:37am.   2 emails to tell me this.

Can I really be the only one in IT who needs an iPhone to be businesslike?

I’m beginning to see why this phone wasn’t immediately embraced by the corporate community.   It’s more geared toward consumer use, to be sure.  I don’t think I’ll be doing any face time with anyone.  Ever. 

I began looking at other options, such as buying apps to make up for what I think are pretty basic shortcomings.  I even read up on jailbreaking.  I was about to go that route when an old colleague illuminated a way to fix most of my grievances.  Hat tip to Rich for that. 

I should start out by explaining that my provider is Verizon wireless.  They create an email address for you which really sends a text to your phone.  So 1234567890@vtext.com would send a text to your phone if you had the number 123-456-7890.

So basically, to resolve the filter issue, I created exchange rules to forward messages from Enterprise manager and anyone in the IT department to my vtext.com email.  This, therefore, sends a text to my iPhone.  I set the text sound to an annoying tone which has a decent shot of waking me up.  Then I silenced the already nearly inaudible ding I used to get when I received an email by just turning it off in the settings.

This really killed 2 birds with one stone.  The only thing I don’t have resolved is how to silence the phone while I’m at work .  I mean, I remember to do it, once I get my first annoyingly loud message in the morning, but there should be an automatic way.  This is a computer, after all!  Suggestions would be welcomed. 

 

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