With the announcement last week of the new Q20 handset aimed at hardcore BlackBerry fans loning for the good old days of smart phone hard keys and the BES 12, the company’s latest mobile device management platform, the Waterloo, Ont. phone maker is signaling its commitment to its enterprise roots.
The company sees the mobile market fragmenting to three key segments: tightly regulated industries where organizations provide secure devices to end users; the Choose Your Own Device (CYOD) sector where companies allow user to pick devices from a list of IT-approved secure tools; and the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) crowd, where users can bring to the workplace whatever device they want.
BlackBerry (TSE: BB) wants to play in all three markets, but it’s primarily the enterprise and the regulated industries space that the company sees its future lies, according to Jeff Holleran, senior director for enterprise product management at BlackBerry.
“As a company we’re focusing on that core business of ours in the enterprise space, bringing services those enterprise customers are looking for both in the BlackBerry platform, and broadening the BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) support to Android, iOS and Windows Phone,” Holleran said in a recent interview with Jeff Jedras assistant editor Computer Dealer News, a sister publication of IT World Canada.
“You’ll see us continuing to support the highly regulated customers as the gold standard of mobility, and you’ll see us expand further beyond mobile devices into the mobile applications space,” he added.
The BlackBerry executive said that end users in the enterprise today have two main concerns: A fully secure end-to-end mobile solution and a highly productive mobile experience.
“It’s important to make sure it’s a productive experience for the end use, and that they don’t need to take a lot of steps to interact with the device in a secure environment,” he said.
BlackBerry’s goal, he said, is to make security transparent. That’s the approach it took with its eBBM enterprise-class encrypted instant messaging service. It is integrated with the user’s personal BlackBerry Messenger but security occurs in the background.
The platform is able to discern which conversations are personal and which ones are business-related and need a higher level of encryption and security.
“…IM and the BBM experience come nicely together in the mobile world, and you know your messages have been delivered,” said Holleran. “It can also provide that point to point conversation without taxing the (e-mail) messaging infrastructure in an unnecessary fashion.”
BlackBerry also plans to continue growing the BES install base to cover non-BlackBerry shops by adding to support to Windows Phone 8 devices.
“…in the home turf or Nokia in Europe we’re starting to see more support for us adding the Windows Phone 8 experience in our MDM platform,” said Holleran.