Web service guards SMBs against smartphone expense gotchas

A new self-service Web portal combined with a smartphone app now lets small and midsize companies track their current smartphone usage against carrier plans, without having to wait for a monthly bill.

The main change in the software from Montreal-based Anomalous Networks is the Web portal. Once the client app is loaded onto your company's smartphones, it registers the handset with the Telicost portal. Then telecom administrators can log in via a Web browser to view a range of reports on current smartphone usage, and current and projected expenses for the month.

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Those projections can trigger email alerts to administrators and users for events triggering higher costs, such as when usage nears or exceeds plan limits, when an expensive voice roaming shift is about to occur, or for large data transfers and GPS location changes.

Anomalous also offers Telicost-Lite, a free download for individual smartphone users. The app tracks phone use in real time and warns users when they are close to their plan limits or about start an expensive roam. The full portal-based subscription service is $5 per month per user.

The Telicost product line has been around for awhile. Traditionally, telecom expense management applications are based on analyzing carrier bills -- after the expenses have already been incurred. The bills are scanned or electronically imported to the application for analysis. But as carriers shift away from unlimited voice and data plans to capped plans, end users and companies need better ways to track cellphone usage in real time -- as the billing period progresses. Anomalous is one of the vendors focusing on this capability.

The new portal extends the capabilities of the free Telicost smartphone app, collecting usage data and analyzing it in a set of reports to identify trends. It's intended to be an affordable expense management service for the SMB market. The portal also makes recommendations on how to optimize a company's voice and data plans to save future costs.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnww

Email: john_cox@nww.com

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Tags mobilesmartphoneswirelessNetworkingtelecommunicationsmbPhonesconsumer electronicsSMB Networkingtelecom expense management

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