Money Mart checks out GoodLink smartphones

Money Mart Canada said its decision to deploy Good Technology’s GoodLink system on PalmOne’s Treo 600 smartphones will give its market managers wireless synchronization capabilities right from the desktop.

According to Tony Woods, e-mail and network administrator with National Money Mart/Dollar

Financial Group for North America, Good’s recent entry into Canada and its selection of Rogers Wireless as a GoodLink carrier prompted Victoria, B.C.-based Money Mart to opt in at the beta stage, allowing mobile executives to easily access e-mail and stay current with customers.

“”The BlackBerry doesn’t wirelessly synchronize your contacts, your calendars, your tasks and things like that,”” he said. “”And so with GoodLink, the big difference is you never have to cradle your phone again to your desktop, unless you want to install a new piece of software.””

For example, Money Mart has an executive calendar that is used on both sides of the border, and if one of the executive assistants books an appointment for one of the VPs, that VP will have that appointment at the end of his calendar on his phone within about 10 seconds. With Research in Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry, however, users have to bring their phones and synchronize them, he said.

Woods added that the company, which has some 1,300 employees in Canada across nearly 300 branches, plans to eventually deploy 100 of the GoodLink-powered smartphones, though it has only deployed about 30 of them so far. The benefits of using the phones, he continued, are such that the company, a provider of cheque cashing and other financial services, is even considering the option of ultimately replacing laptops with smartphones.

“”They can be talking on the phone to another manager, and they can send an e-mail with some details on some store,”” Woods said, explaining the benefits executives have experienced.

“”And while they’re talking on the phone, using the speakerphone or the hands-free, they can sit there and check their e-mail and look at it and discuss the message just received.””

Sue Forbes, vice-president of marketing and product management, Good Technology in Santa Clara, Calif., said her company’s plans for international expansion this year included Canada — as well as Europe — for good reason. The many mobile professionals in Canada who need to access e-mail, corporate data or CRM systems on the go, she said, makes Canada a viable market for Good’s corporate services.

“”We find that most of our customers tend to break their decisions down into a series of areas,”” Forbes said.

“”The first is IT support costs. Obviously not requiring a cradle and not requiring any desktop software vastly reduces the TCO. The second area is in terms of industry standards. We find a lot of customers don’t like the concept of feeling that they’re locked into an individual piece of hardware tied to an individual operator. The third component we find is from the end-user perspective. They want to be able to have everything instantly.””

While some experts believe RIM should be worried about Good’s advances, Roberta J. Fox, president and senior partner, Fox Group Consulting in Markham, Ont., isn’t one of them. According to Fox, RIM and Good provide two different types of products for two different types of customers.

“”RIM is a PDA messaging phone platform, not a Pocket PC platform,”” Fox said.

“”So it looks like for Money Mart’s application use, they needed to have more of a Pocket PC device, which would narrow their choices of manufacturers down. The other thing about Good Technology is that they’re looking at being an ASP, so again that’s where an enterprise has to decide if they want to own and manage the technologies and the supporting infrastructure like the messaging platforms, or if they want to go to a service provider.””

Good’s solutions, she added, are geared towards workers such as branch managers and meter readers who need light applications, while RIM’s solutions are geared towards people who “”live and die”” by their e-mail. And as it turns out, she reasoned, there’s plenty of room for both RIM and Good in the Canadian marketplace.

“”The analogy I give is each generation of music technology said it would replace entirely the other,”” she said. “”There are still people that use eight-tracks, there are still people that listen to LPs. They said that television would replace radio. And so you end up having more choices of the music technology, and I think the same thing is true with the mobile computing phone devices.””

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