Nigel Cheshire: Teamstudio Unplugged mobile applications - Interview

Founder and CEO Of Teamstudio and Teamstudio Unplugged, Nigel Cheshire was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions about the companies and their products and services.

Nigel Cheshire describes the concepts of mobile data sync, moving Lotus Notes® and Domino® applications over to mobile devices, and some business initiatives taken by the company.

Thanks to Nigel Cheshire his time, and for his informative responses to the questions. They are greatly appreciated.

We’ve heard people talk about Teamstudio Unplugged but many people don’t really understand what it does. What is so unique about Teamstudio Unplugged?

Nigel Cheshire: Unplugged is a mobile XPages engine that lets you build XPages applications that you can easily deploy to mobile devices such as the Blackberry® and the iPhone®. It has a replicating data store so your apps will work offline.

What’s motivating companies to want to move their Lotus Notes® and Domino® applications over to run on mobile devices?

Nigel Cheshire: The first step our customers usually want to take is to provide access to Notes® mail and calendar to their mobile users. Once they’ve done this, they then start thinking about simple productivity boosters, such as an Approvals application that links into the mobile email.

What is mobile data sync and why is it important? Why not just go for online mobile web apps?

Nigel Cheshire: Online mobile Web apps work well when you have good mobile signal strength, but not so well under poor or variable signal conditions. With Unplugged’s support for mobile data sync, the application is always responsive to the user, and data is saved locally and synced back to the server when the signal gets better. Another way of saying this is that Unplugged is designed to support the occasionally-connected model, where the online mobile Web app is designed for the always connected model.

Which platforms do you support; and why not all mobile platforms?

Nigel Cheshire: The first version of Unplugged we brought out last year was for the BlackBerry. We’ve since added versions for Android and for Apple iOS devices. We prefer to support a small number of platforms very well rather than try to cover every single platform and do it inadequately. Especially as these other platforms have very little or declining market share in the enterprise space.

Nigel Cheshire (photo left)

What should my first priorities be when mobilizing my Notes & Domino applications?

Nigel Cheshire: Choose business processes where the addition of the mobile capability gives an immediate and clear improvement in the efficiency of that process. The mobile user interface needs to be sleek and simple. If you take a big bulky Notes application and try to move that to mobile, that’s usually not going to be accepted very well by users.

We’ve heard some debate about whether Lotus Traveler® provides sufficient mobile device management capabilities. What do you think?

Nigel Cheshire: Lotus Traveler is a great first step for companies that want to link in their iPhone®, iPad® and other non-Blackberry mobile users. But I think even IBM® would acknowledge that they never set out to build a fully-fledged mobile device management system. If you are planning to connect a couple of hundred or more mobiles, I’d recommend installing a dedicated Mobile Device Management solution.

Your company has recently formed a partnership with AirWatch®. How does this partnership help Teamstudio® customers?

Nigel Cheshire: We see AirWatch as the market leader in mobile device management delivered as Software-as-a-Service. For large customers, implementing a proper mobile device management system helps ensure that they maintain a high level of data security as they roll out mobile email access and the Unplugged applications. With AirWatch you can roll out quite a lot faster than an on-premise MDM system, and at lower cost.

What are the key trends you see driving tablet penetration in the enterprise?

Nigel Cheshire: In our enterprise customers, the iPad has been the big driver of mobile integration over the last 6–12 months. Looking forward, I’m fascinated to see what’s going to happen when Microsoft® launch their Windows 8 tablets, especially the ARM-based systems that should come close to the iPad on battery life. It’s going to be a massive marketplace battle that will drive all tablet penetration much higher.

What is next for Teamstudio Unplugged?

Nigel Cheshire: We’ve just opened the beta program for for Unplugged for the iPhone and iPad, and we expect to get to the final shipping release within a couple of months. After that, it’ll be a case of listening to our customers and delivering any extra features that they see as crucial to their applications.


Nigel Cheshire Bio

Nigel founded Teamstudio in 1996, and since that time has led Teamstudio as CEO, building an international business with customers representing some of the world's largest and most successful companies. He comes from a background of software development and networking, starting in the pioneering days of email, by helping build one of the first cross-platform email systems. Teamstudio has traditionally served the enterprise software development community, and in 2010 launched Teamstudio Unplugged, a unique replicating datastore and software development environment for enterprise mobile applications.

Prior to Teamstudio, Nigel was a principal of Ives & Company, a UK-based CRM solutions consultancy that was acquired by Aspective in 1999. Before that, he worked in the R&D group at Data General Corp. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from the University of Teesside, England.