Markus Eisenlohr, Team leader, Enterprise Mobility at EnBW
EnBW’s previous smartphone supplier continued to miss security patch updates, and following an announcement that technical support would be discontinued and thus rendering the hardware worthless, the Germany energy company took immediate action to analyse and scrutinise the smartphone market in search of a new partner that could provide a more long-lasting relationship with the firm.
The team at EnBW were impressed with the high security standards of Nokia phones which are essential for an operator of critical infrastructures. Furthermore, reliable quality, reasonable price-performance ratio and long-term availability were requirements to be met. Now the rollout of thousands of Nokia 7.1 and Nokia 7.2 smartphones is running at full speed.
Due to missing security patches and the discontinuation of technical support from their legacy smartphone provider, EnBW had to renew its smartphone fleet. For an operator of critical infrastructures (KRITIS), high security during the entire life cycle of devices was the most important criteria for decision making.
Nokia smartphones that are part of Android One program receive monthly security patches for three years and two major Android OS upgrades. EnBW is now replacing all legacy mobile devices with Nokia 7 -series smartphones.
Markus Eisenlohr, Team Leader of Enterprise Mobility at EnBW led the charge on changing the mobile communications. His responsibilities include the mobile communications infrastructure at EnBW and related long-term strategies. In doing his research, HMD’s unique AndroidTM promise to create long-lasting phone technology with regular monthly security patch updates and the latest Google innovation was the answer. The EnBW team decided to purchase several thousand Nokia 7.1 devices to mobilise their work force with a trusted Nokia smartphone.
At the beginning of 2019, Eisenlohr briefed his team to find a smartphone partner that could provide high security, long-lasting quality and an appropriate price performance ratio. Markus Eisenlohr commented: "When it comes to security, we cannot make any compromises with smartphones. After all, EnBW with its power plants and electricity grids is an operator of critical infrastructures serving millions of households and industrial facilities. And for the operators of KRITIS*, the regulatory authority imposes very strict requirements for IT security as a failure or impairment to supply services would have dramatic consequences for the economy, state and society," explained Eisenlohr.
After thoroughly evaluating the offers of all relevant suppliers, the decision was made to move all staff to use Nokia smartphones. Eisenlohr said, "The guarantee to provide monthly security patches for three years and two major upgrades for the Android operating system provided distinct advantages for our business.”
A Broad range of Nokia smartphones are part of Android One program, which promises a bloatware-free and native Android OS to contribute significantly to the high security level of smartphones manufactured by HMD Global. Android One is a technical standard for software and hardware defined by Google. Android One validated smartphones run a pure, bloatware free version of Android operating system for smartphones. This means that only a small, curated set of core applications are included, and smartphone security is not compromised by unnecessary preinstalled apps.
The absence of unnecessary apps also has a positive effect on the battery life, because no unwanted, energy-consuming processes run in the background. "Today, we know from feedback we have received from our colleagues that the decision to go for Nokia smartphones was the right one," explained Eisenlohr. "Our employees are impressed with the long battery life on the Nokia 7.2 and using a pure installation of Android, excluding unnecessary apps for work.”
Due to the good price-performance ratio, another key criteria in EnBW's purchasing decision, the choice fell on Nokia 7 series smartphones. “With the Nokia 7 series, HMD Global proves that it has mastered the art of offering good and reliable hardware at a competitive price", summarised EnBW’s Eisenlohr. "With a device fleet of several thousand smartphones, it makes a huge difference whether a single smartphone costs 1,000 euros or only a few hundred euros.”
In March 2019, EnBW started to roll out the first Nokia 7.1 smartphones and later switched to the Nokia 7.2 model, when it became available. According to the original plan, the transition from outdated legacy devices to new Nokia 7 -series devices was done in small batches. However, in early 2020, when the manufacturer of EnBW’s legacy smartphones announced its withdrawal from smartphone support it was important to support the EnBW team with a fast roll-out of new Nokia devices to minimise potential security risks from the previous manufacturer’s legacy devices that were no longer receiving security patches.
In this phase of accelerated device replacement, support from HMD Global’s mobile phone distributor in Germany, Brodos, has been essential. Brodos has ensured that phones are updated to the latest software and security patches swiftly and on mass before they are distributed directly to employees.
Once an EnBW employee receives their new smartphone, they simply insert their SIM card, switch on the device and connect to the internet. Thereafter, their new smartphone connects to the Mobile Device Management solution via the downloaded UEM client. There are no security breaches, as security policies and permissions are being automatically transferred to the respective devices.
Android zero-touch enrollment offers a seamless deployment method for corporate-owned Android devices making large scale rollouts fast, easy and secure for organisations, IT departments and employees. Zero-touch enrollment makes it simple to configure devices online and have them shipped with enforced management so employees can just open the box and get started. Eisenlohr continues to look ahead. He said, "With Android zero-touch solution, we want to further simplify initial registration as soon as possible." Thanks to Android zero-touch enrollment, the smartphone setup will be fully automated; apart from user entering their login credentials, there is no further action on the part of the end user. This extra convenience for employees is also a timesaving measure for the Enterprise Mobility team at EnBW. With Android zero-touch enrollment solution, they can roll out very large number of smartphones without manual configuration.
Eisenlohr believes that the number of mobile phones required will continue to grow strongly until 2021. This means that he and his team will not only have to replace the outdated legacy devices from previous manufacturer, but also roll out additional smartphones to handle all orders.
By 2021, EnBW's will have several thousand Nokia smartphones in use. In addition, for tasks where only a great voice and SMS experience is needed, EnBW has selected Nokia feature phones. Nokia 216 feature phone is enjoying great popularity thanks to ease of use, long lasting battery life and durability. Eisenlohr sees this overall high demand as an endorsement of his mobile strategy. It’s an important component of the energy supplier's rapidly advancing digitalisation.
* KRITIS: Operator of an infrastructure of major importance to the community whose failure or impairment would cause a sustained shortage of supplies, significant disruptions to public order or other dramatic consequences.
** From the global launch month of the respective Nokia branded smartphone.