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RIM execs dish details on BlackBerry 10, BES 10 and the enterprise

Al Sacco | Oct. 2, 2012
Despite shrinking U.S. mobile market share and an ongoing loss of consumer confidence in the company, BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) is still putting the enterprise first.

"As an end user of a device, I don't want to make that mistake [of accidentally misusing a work app]. So if the device can help me do my job better, it becomes a more compelling experience to me," says Holleran.

For a detailed look at Blackberry Balance, visit RIM's BlackBerry for Business blog.

BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) 10

Last month, RIM released the first official information on its upcoming BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) 10, which will eventually integrate the company's current BlackBerry, iOS and Android management services into one product.

Right now, RIM's BlackBerry Mobile Fusion product is used to manage BlackBerry PlayBook tablets and iOS and Android devices, and its BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) manages current in-market BlackBerry devices. The initial version of BES 10 will be released along with the first BlackBerry 10 devices in the first quarter of 2013, and RIM will release an update in May 2013 to integrate the various components so they can run on a single server.

One of the most notable enterprise enhancements in BES 10 is the use of Microsoft ActiveSync technology as a sync engine, according to Holleran.

"One of the challenges that enterprises have faced with these [non BlackBerry] devices is that they're not interested in exposing ActiveSync out to the public Internet," he says. "We've solved that with the simple change for us, of BES 5, the proprietary messaging protocols, BES 10 and the switch out over to ActiveSync as our sync engine. We didn't change out anything that we did around the rest of it. The security is all there, the transport is all there. We just changed out the sync engine service."

The use of ActiveSync allows RIM to offer enterprises a number of corporate connectivity options for BlackBerry devices with varying levels of security. Enterprises can connect BlackBerry tablets and BlackBerry 10 devices directly to ActiveSync without any additional BlackBerry software. Or they can connect BlackBerrys, iOS or Android devices to RIM's BlackBerry 10 infrastructure for a secure, behind-the-firewall data transport and other security features, including access to BlackBerry Balance. (Apple's iOS and Google's Android software don't support all of the same security safeguards as BlackBerry 10, so they can't be managed using all of the same IT policies as BlackBerry 10 devices.)

So does it make sense for companies that don't use BlackBerry devices to use BES 10?

Holleran says absolutely.

"We're dedicated to meeting the needs of our enterprise customers, and that is a heterogeneous world today," he says. "In some cases, we're being engaged by customers that are new to us that dont have BlackBerrys, but want to manage these third-party devices. People have come to us and said, 'RIM, you guys are a gold standard for managing mobile devices in general. You understand it, you know what's going on there. How can you help us out with this influx of other devices?'" BES 10 is Holleran's answer.


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