Almost a decade ago BlackBerry (BB) gave the world not just a push-mail capable mobile phone, but a concept that practically introduced the world to ‘enterprise mobility’. Advanced encryption capabilities made BB the first choice for enterprises as well as government agencies. But over the last three to four years, BB’s dominance in the smartphone market has been overshadowed by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. The launch of the latest BlackBerry 10 (BB10) OS with two new devices (Z10 and Q10) is definitely a step to regain lost ground and find its way back into the minds and hands of enterprise users.
The ripple effect that the BYOD trend has started is one of the most prioritised functions in a CIO’s wish list today. IDC says that the number of BYOD smartphones in Asia Pacific will reach 91 million in this year, making it sit at the top of CIO priorities in 2013. Dr. Alea Fairchild, VP & Principal Analyst, Constellation Research opines, “Only securing particular devices and providing limited access do not necessarily improve productivity or employee satisfaction.” Similar concern is raised by Gurinder Vir Singh, CIO, Prime Focus, who says, “The enterprise mobility ecosystem is much more complicated in today’s context. It’s not one device, but many on different platforms - that too for a single user.”
Interestingly, BlackBerry has taken into consideration this trend and is trying to monopolise on the fact that it remains a good choice when it comes to matters of mobile data security. “The BlackBerry Enterprise Server’s (BES10) BB Fusion can manage Android and iOS devices centrally through a single management console. Companies do not function on one platform and we’re piloting and gathering feedback from our customers extending our services to cover Android and iOS devices as well,” says Sunil Lalvani, Director - Enterprise Sales (India), BlackBerry.
But how feasible will a service like BES10 be for small and mid-size companies or those with a limited IT spend capacity? “We weren’t keen on Android for the obvious malware issues the platform faces. Having said that, I believe not every enterprise has the capacity to spend on a premium mobility management product like the BES10. Android, for such small and medium enterprises, will still remain a fore-runner,” states Neehar Pathare, VP-IT, Financial Technologies.
Wooing Existing Customers
Providing a holistic MDM solution catering to old BB OS and other mobile platforms, BB optimistically hopes to regain some of its lost enterprise market share without compromising on the premium price range. “We’re offering free trade-up programs for this calendar year. Any BES customer with a server 503 upwards can trade in and upgrade to the BES10 while only paying for the server,” says Lalvani. He states that the product has to be adopted and customised according to the specific needs of the Indian market and to that end, existing customer engagement is vital. “Early adopters influence the product roadmap and its upgrades. We upgraded to the BES10 server because we were already on BB and the BB10 devices were chosen over the iPhone - despite price considerations - because of the increased control over security,” explains Pathare.
BB Balance & Hub
Built on the QNX platform BlackBerry Balance utilises QNX’s core architecture for adaptive partitioning to manage devices securely while providing the owner of the device options for privacy. (Know more about that here ). Improving the overall user experience, the newest addition of BlackBerry Hub brings all kinds of communication from office mail to Facebook posts at one place. (Get a sneak peak into how BB Hub works here .)
Another highlight of BB10 is BBM Video with Screen Share, which has immense business application possibilities especially since it is a unique feature for a smartphone. Whether it will be available for users in India remains to be seen as BB has not granted the Indian government the encryption keys to its secure corporate email and messaging services. Another service that India might lose out on due to this deadlock between BB and the government is BBM Voice – the voice-enabled messenger service. It was launched globally months ago, but no announcements have been made in India yet. Inconclusive reports on this front may affect BB10 adoption in India.
Nevertheless, what is evident from the new BlackBerry and as echoed by its CEO Thorsten Heins is the fact that in a world where even quad-cores are becoming common by the day, BlackBerry is aiming to reclaim its spot as an innovator.
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Updated Date: Feb 03, 2017 00:02:56 IST