BlackBerry packages cross-platform software, offers more Knox integrations and launches a cloud version of its EMM platform
BlackBerry is expanding its cross platform strategy by offering packages of its security, collaboration and communication software for businesses to deploy on Android, BlackBerry, iOS and Windows devices.
BlackBerry Experience Suite is intended to increase revenues generated from “current and former” BlackBerry users, many of whom have flocked to other platforms over the last few years.
“It is about BlackBerry expanding into the software service business and bringing in as much revenue as possible as we build out the product portfolio,” said Ketan Kamdar, global head of device portfolio, BlackBerry at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2015 in Barcelona. “We’re building the best assets across all ecosystems.”
BlackBerry Experience Suite
The BlackBerry Productivity Suite manages work and personal emails, BBM messages, SMS and social media, prioritising the highest priority communications first. The BlackBerry Communication and Collaborative Suite offers instant meetings, Voice over Wi-Fi, video chat and calendars, along with the ability to view documents and invites across multiple devices.
Finally, The BlackBerry Security Suite protects all types of data from malware and other threats with encryption and privacy controls, secure calls, emails and documents and the containerisation of work and personal communications.
“The choice no longer has to be binary – it is no longer to BlackBerry or not to BlackBerry,” added Marty Beard, BlackBerry COO.
The company also used MWC to outline the latest development in the firm’s relationship with Samsung, specifically the latter’s Knox enterprise mobility management (EMM) platform, which will receive Integrations with BlackBerry’s Worklife dual billing service and SecuSUITE security.
Worklife allows a managed device to have two numbers – one work and one personal – meaning companies can retain ownership of a line when an employee leaves the company and ensures more accurate split billing between employer and worker. Calls, messages and data costs can be separated with admins able to opt to only pay for the use of certain applications.
SecuSUITE’s hardware-based encryption is already used by several governments and BlackBerry claims it is even suitable for world leaders as it makes calls “virtually tap proof.” US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are both famous fans of BlackBerry’s devices.
“Working with BlackBerry allows us both to bring more compelling solutions to the enterprise,” said Injong Rhee, Samsung’s head of enterprise. “Workers are tired of carrying two devices and companies are growing sensitive to the risks of having company assets tied to personal smartphones. With the introduction of these new services from BlackBerry, the needs of both enterprises and their employees will be met with Samsung Knox devices.”
BES 12 Cloud and BBM
BlackBerry is also going to offer BES 12 as a cloud-based offering, allowing businesses to manage devices of all types more easily, and opening up many of the benefits of EMM to SMBs. The company says all registration is done online and that devices can be managed minutes after purchase.
The on-premise version of BES 12 has been updated to version 12.1, offering a number of security enhancements, such as the wired activation of BlackBerry 10 devices in highly regulated environments, streamlined admin options and enhanced Android management
One of the most successful examples of BlackBerry’s cross-platform efforts has been BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), which now offers Android Wear support, Touch ID capabilities for iOS users and allows users to select custom PINS and remove ads for a monthly fee.
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