Gomez unveils mobile monitoring tools

* Customers can track the performance mobile Web users are getting

In the last newsletter I wrote about a benchmark created by Gomez and dotMobi to rate how well companies such as Amazon, Google and Bank of America serve online content and applications to mobile users. For those who want to do their own mobile benchmarking, this newsletter is devoted to a new tool from Gomez that helps customers measure the performance of their mobile Web sites, mobile applications and SMS services.

Gomez has added mobile-specific capabilities to its existing suite of tools for measuring Web application delivery. The company’s new “one Web” approach uses common metrics and reporting processes to provide companies with a unified view of the performance wired users and mobile Web users are experiencing.

As use of smartphones grows, so do users’ performance expectations, says Imad Mouline, CTO at Gomez.

“People using smartphones tend to have higher expectations that things should work almost as fast on their smartphones as they do on their desktops, that the experience will be just as good,” Mouline says. “A lot of the driver for this growth, this demand for these better practices and better monitoring, is the growth in smartphones, because end users are expecting more and demanding more.”

Part of the appeal of the new mobile monitoring tools is the ability to improve troubleshooting, he says. IT teams can pinpoint performance issues in the Web application delivery chain, whether they occur behind the firewall, in an ISP or wireless carrier’s network, or on an end-user’s mobile device. “It allows you to understand very quickly whether a problem you are seeing, for example, is isolated to a mobile component or to a common component that both the traditional Web application and mobile Web application are going to access,” Mouline says.

A more granular diagnosis also can help IT teams prioritize fixes, he says.

The expanded offering from Gomez includes both active and passive monitoring services. The active monitoring service (currently in beta testing) measures the performance of mobile Web sites, applications and SMS services by simulating phones and smartphones running on major U.S. and international wireless carriers. The service runs scheduled tests around the clock and delivers alerts when issues arise, Gomez says.

The passive monitoring service (available now) measures real end-user experience: It captures and tracks which mobile devices, browsers, operating systems, wireless carriers and ISPs are being used by a company’s actual smartphone users to access fixed and mobile Web sites. This way a business can better understand how its Web and mobile Web sites really perform and how users react when there are performance problems (by abandoning a purchase, for example).

The expanded suite of services also includes compatibility and load testing so that a company can make sure its content renders well across different mobile devices, browsers and operating systems, Mouline says.

“The mobile Web is a much more uncontrolled and unpredictable domain than the classic Web. Monitoring and metrics will be essential for any organization wanting to understand and assure mobile application performance,” said Nick Jones, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, in a statement.

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.