BlackBerry is introducing a number of add-ons to its enterprise server software it readies the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) 12 release.
Aiming to win back as many corporate customers as it can, the firm is offering a free 60 day trial, as well as a BES 12 free license upgrade. BlackBerry thinks it can convince corporate customers to either upgrade to BES 12 or install it for the first time.
There are two tiers BlackBerry is offering: gold and silver subscriptions. In the silver subscription, corporations pay just $25 per iOS, Android, or Windows Phone device annually. By comparison, the gold subscription costs $80 annually. There are more management features for the non-BlackBerry devices with this subscription tier. This includes mobile app management with wrapping, secure productivity apps, secure document editing, and secure browser.
BES 12 introduces BBM Meetings as an add-on option. Up to 25 participants may meet virtually on BBM. A user may schedule meetings from the address book, or open a meeting from a BBM chat. BlackBerry eliminates the need for PINs or any unique identifier for invitees. On the Android/iOS/Windows platform, up to 10 participants may meet.
BBM Meetings competes with WebEx and GoToMeetings. In the consumer space, the add-on competes with Google’s Hangout and Microsoft’s Skype.
BBM Protected lets BB10 users send encrypted messages to recipients, while using the same app to send messages. This feature should appeal most to clients in regulated industries, where keeping logs of instant messages between employees is required.
BlackBerry Blend, which received a rave review from digitaltrends, is a new feature in BBOS 10.3. It lets a user access work data from any device. Getting Blend up and running is easy. All client devices you want to connect with need Blend installed and running. Once running, files on the host system are accessible from your BlackBerry. From a productivity perspective, Blend lets users access BlackBerry hub. This means such data as emails and calendar appointments are accessible from Blend.
One feature users might like is the ability for them to send text messages and BBM without the phone being nearby. There is also significant convenience having documents from desktop readily available for sharing to the mobile device.
VPN authentication by BlackBerry
BlackBerry wants customers using OTP (one-time password) tokens to switch to VPN Authentication. VPN Authentication uses Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) two factor security. The benefit of making this switch is that it lowers overall costs for companies. This is possible, because the server integrates Active Directory with the VPN access and authentication. On BES 12, any device it manages (BlackBerry, Android, or iOS) may optionally have this add-on option.