A key inhibitor in the acceptance and continuous usage of new services, applications, and devices has been the difficulties that end-users experience when trying to correctly configure and maintain their devices. The unfortunate outcome has been poor acceptance and usage of new features, considerable customer support costs for operators and service providers, and poor customer experiences. This dilemma has translated into losses in revenues, increased costs, and lost opportunities.
The DM functionality promises to largely alleviate the difficulties described above. The SyncML Initiative has responded to this demand by creating the SyncML DM specification. The specification covers the protocols and modeling functions, which are needed to have a generic and high-performance DM framework for wireless environments. The framework enables the management of various devices and their continuous seamless operation.
SyncML DM technology is based on SyncML data synchronization technology, but has additional components of its own. Components specific to SyncML DM include the bootstrapping mechanism, the SyncML DM Protocol, and the DDF functionality. SyncML DM also places a stronger emphasis on security, as insecure device management could have devastating consequences.
It is obvious that not all the existing devices will be designed for all DM features. For instance, features of the software management functionality targeted at core software platforms may not be feasible in all products. In general, it is likely that the functions of SyncML DM will be brought to market in the following order: parameter configuration, diagnostics, and software management.
For standardization, the future of DM after the SyncML 1.1 release will likely focus on application management. In practice, this could mean that more standardized object types will be considered for inclusion in the DDF. The second focus area could be APIs that need to be standardized in order to enable the management of third party applications in software platforms. The third possible area of focus could be interoperability tools and testing.
Finally, the reader should keep in mind that DM technology is young (Spring 2002). Unanticipated features and use cases might emerge at any time. Nevertheless, the DM framework and the basic features are available. The products can already take advantage of them and provide important functionality that drives new mobile services and applications forward.