The BlackBerry eco-system is going to become a bit more diverse with the release of BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, a tool which allows enterprise customers to also manage Android and iOS devices.
The mobile device management (MDM) solution enables smartphones and tablets running BlackBerry OS and BlackBerry PlayBook to be managed, with support for future BlackBerry 10 devices built in.
However, in a telling admission in how bring-your-own-device (BYOD) has changed the corporate work environment, BlackBerry Mobile Fusion comes with support and management tools for both Android and iOS platforms.
Despite Research In Motion (RIM) A/NZ managing director, Matthew Ball, having been only a few weeks in the role, he says that he is stepping up to the BlackBerry challenge “with gusto”
“We will focus on BlackBerry 10, our customers, and the local team,” he said.
He describes BlackBerry 10 as the “next evolution” of the platform and the launch of a brand new eco-system.
“It will be a reboot from the ground up,” he said.
“Not just hardware and software, but first and third party apps as well.”
With BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, Ball says that RIM is taking a leadership in the BYOD category and work closer with its enterprise customers.
“BlackBerry Mobile Fusion takes the security and reliability people have come to expect from RIM into a multi-platform environment,” he said.
At the same time, Ball saidBYOD is a new category that is evolving.
As such, BlackBerry Mobile Fusion has been designed to appeal to CIOs by providing security and manageability over multiple devices.
While RIM Australia enterprise marketing manager, Narelle Behn-Carey, also conceds that it is “still early days” for BYOD, she still sees it becoming “inevitable” in the enterprise.
“BlackBerry Mobile Fusion has been launched to match this market trend,” she said.
Behn-Carey said RIM has been “working hard to better understand” the challenges faced by business when it comes to mobility in order to come up with an MDM solution that has “a fantastic user experience.”
“It aims to consolidate the management of devices running BlackBerry OS, as well as iOS and Android,” she said.
With IT innovation being driven by consumers, Behn-Carey says that this shift has made businesses worried about how to support employee-bought and not corporate-supplied smartphones.
As such, her advice is that organisations need to look at how to be more production without sacrificing security.
“All IT objectives must be underpinned by security,” she said.
As to what attracts businesses to BYOD, Behn-Carey identified productivity as the primary reason to allow users to bring devices to work.
It also offers options and flexibility for employees, removes the need to purchase devices or do training, and the cost to replace lost or damaged notebook PC diminishes.
“The difficult part is to ensure that corporate data is not lost or stolen,” Behn-Carey said.
When talking about BlackBerry Mobile Fusion’s multi-platform approach, RIM Australia technical account manager, Jaques Basson, says something like it has “been lacking from RIM’s enterprise portfolio until now.”
“It brings together RIM’s trusted mobile device management together with iOS and Android support into a single interface,” he said.
“When it comes to the enterprise and government sectors, who is better positioned to meet their needs than RIM with BlackBerry Mobile Fusion?”
Basson said the MDM solution is split into three component, spanning BlackBerry device services, Universal Device Services for iOS and Android, and BlackBerry enterprise server.
“The BlackBerry Balance is about securing corporate data while enabling a users personal experience on a single device,” he said.