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By Chris De Herrera 
Copyright 1998-2007
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Remote Support for Pocket PCs – CEAnywhere!
By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 2003
 Version 1.00  Revised 1/5/2003

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Introduction

So you are responsible for supporting Pocket PCs in your enterprise and you have users in the field? Well with CEAnywhere ( http://www.ceanywhere.com ) you can offer your users the highest level of support that I have seen for Pocket PCs, Handheld PCs and Windows CE.NET devices.

What is CEAnywhere?

CEAnywhere allows administrators on a PC to be able to view real time what the user sees on their Pocket PC from anywhere.  It allows administrators or developers to also interact with their users Pocket PC and see errors or other problems first hand and fix them at the same time.  The Administrator and the Pocket PC can be anywhere as well. Plus you have the ability to send and receive the user’s files and make registry updates as needed.  CEAnywhere allows the administrator to control the number of colors that are sent via the connection.  This allows them to adjust the amount of screen data being sent which is especially important over slow speed connections like modems or cellular.  One caveat with use CEAnywhere is that it does not handle playback of videos, games or any other high speed graphical programs.  This is because of the work that the Pocket PC must do to receive the stylus movements and send back the screen updates to the administrator and the speed of the connection between the Pocket PC and the internet.  Also, you can customize the user interface to meet your company’s needs as well including changing the branding of the web page.

Figure 1: CECommunity Administrator’s view of the Pocket PC.  Note that you can send and receive files, edit the registry and see the amount of ram in use as well as work with the Pocket PC.

Security

CEAnywhere includes security options that are important to companies using mobile devices.  You can restrict the access of the CEAnywhere server to internal Pocket PCs only and prevent unauthorized connections to the CEAnywhere host (Pocket PC). Plus the data stream of the remote control session is protected (ie: the input and output are not sent as clear text). The remote control session can be logged so the administrator can review the changes. Of course for the ultimate in security, you can use a Virtual Private Network from a 3rd party with CEAnywhere to ensure that no one else has access to the information being sent for the CEAnywhere session. For further information on security please contact Epiphan for additional details.

CEAnywhere Versions

CEAnywhere is available in two different versions. Larger corporations and companies that need to highly customize or control their environment will want to purchase CEAnywhere Enterprise. CECommunity is a service for smaller corporations and individuals to use as needed.

CEAnywhere Enterprise Requirements

In order to use CEAnywhere Enterprise, a corporation would need to purchase a license for the software from Epiphan and a server to run it on. CEAnywhere Enterprise runs on Windows 2000 and Linux servers so you can choose the machines that fit best in your environment. It does require you to have an internet or internal network connection to allow the administrator and the user to connect to the CEAnywhere server. These connections can be wired or wireless and include Ethernet, Modem, Cellular and 802.11b.

CECommunity – CEAnywhere for Small Businesses and Individuals

With CECommunity ( http://www.cecommunity.com ) a small company can sign up to use CEAnywhere as needed to support their remote staff. This option is much less expensive than purchasing CEAnywhere Enterprise directly since you pay for the service you use. Plus you do not need to manage or update the server since Epiphan does that for you! The administrator and the user will both need internet access to the CECommunity server in order to use CECommunity.

Training – An additional Use for CEAnywhere/CECommunity

One feature that Epiphan offers is the ability to have a Pocket PC connected to a PC, which the PC user can control. Plus you can add multiple other users to view what you are doing on the PC. So if you have a large number of users you want to train to use their Pocket PCs, you can do so much easier. The users can be watching what the presenter is doing on his/her Pocket PC on their PC screen while they are doing the same thing on their Pocket PC. I believe that training like this will help users better understand how to use the Pocket PC and see exactly what steps are required to perform tasks.

The Pocket PC Summit – Demonstrating Pocket PC Applications to Pocket PCs

At the Pocket PC Summit, Epiphan created a custom version of CEAnywhere ( http://show.cecommunity.com ) that allows a presenter with a Pocket PC connected to the CEAnywhere server to display information to multiple Pocket PCs real time. The Pocket PC users would just visit the Epiphan web server and select the presentation they wanted to view. Epiphan installed a small application on the Pocket PC automatically that allows the user to view the presentation. Further Epiphan added the ability for remote users to ask questions of the presenter that he/she could review at the end of the presentation. This allowed the users to queue up questions and get answers without having to get up and ask them via voice. We used this application at the Pocket PC Summit via 802.11b wireless and it worked great. I do not know what plans Epiphan has for this special version of CEAnywhere in the future. They are working with Multimeteor to ensure that future Pocket PC Summits use this technology. However I do believe that everyone that attends future events will want to be able to see and interact with the presentations directly on the Pocket PC.

Conclusion

So if you are looking for a remote support tool for managing your remote Pocket PC users, CEAnywhere or CECommunity can get the job done.

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