Corporates looking for improved management of PCs and mobile devices are the target of French company Criston.

The company, which has recently changed its name from Metrix, has introduced an upgraded version of its management software and has launched in the UK.

The Precision V5, which borrows heavily from IBM’s concept of autonomic computing, is being introduced this week, although the sales channel has not yet been finalised. The company claimed that this was the first such product to make use of intelligent agents to improve the performance of users’ PCs.

The new version also has the capability of managing mobile devices, an increasingly important part of the corporate network. “We find that it’s no longer the case of one PC for every user, but they have a desktop machine, a PC at home, possibly a laptop and possible a PDA - we had to introduce software capable of managing all of them," said Philippe Mediavilla, Criston’s CEO. The company’s pricing is per device, rather than per person, coming in at 60 to 100 euros (£40 to £67).

Other new features include: improved functionality and the ability to distribute patches - a telling feature given the reluctance of many users to maintain a high level of security within the enterprise.

“What we are introducing is the concept of the virtual support engineer for the fraction of the cost of involving the IT department,” said Mediavilla. Criston’s product competes with those from companies such as LANdesk and Novadigm, although Mediavilla claimed that these products didn’t have the range and scalability of Precision.

One of the problems with any of these types of products is that they are unable to sort out the physical problems that sysadmins have to deal with: the coffee in the keyboard and the unplugged network cable. Mediavilla admits that the software is never going to deal with those but pointed out IT staff would still be freed up through the use of the product. “80 percent of IT problems are dumb ones,” he added.

Precision can be deployed on Windows, Linux and Solaris platforms .