Attending the BlackBerry Experience: London

By DJ Reyes on 11 Jun 2014 07:09 am EDT
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On Tuesday June 3rd, 2014 the BlackBerry Experience headed to London, U.K. This event ran a little differently to the previous events. Most of the attendees there were invited by BlackBerry themselves and we were lucky enough to get a press invite to the event. It was a small event and most of the people in attendance were IT administrators or representatives for global blue chip companies. The day was split into sessions with the first half containing the keynote presentation. The second half was where things got meaty with future product details, enterprise applications and of course a Q & A session.

Registration began at 9:30am with the event due to kick-off at 10am. I was there around 9am so it gave me time to scout around. There was already a handful of people there at that time and so I thought I'd be on the look out for the types of devices people were carrying around. Bear in mind, these are people from corporate companies. Immediately I saw a couple of BlackBerry Z30s, Z10s and Q10s. There was also the odd Samsung or iPhone device. As more people arrived I was seeing more and more Z30 devices in hand - which for me was surprising but I also thought that this was pretty amazing to see. As of right now I think the Z30 is the best BlackBerry 10 device so far. Why wouldn't it be? It is the current flagship device at has a lot of badass features.

BlackBerry Experience Device Booth

After you registered, you were directed to a 'holding room' to get refreshments. In that room, there was a display stand where people could go hands on with all the BlackBerry 10 devices currently available, as well as the BlackBerry 9720. There were also a couple of guys there to give demos. I got to work asking questions. I was told about the ability to install Android apps with the latest OS version. The rep showed me how to download 1Mobile or the Amazon App Store in order to browse and download Android apps. We were soon ushered into the Auditorium for the keynote presentation.

 

Keynote presentation

Markus Mueller at BlackBerry Experience, London

First up was Markus Mueller, who is Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director Europe. Markus gave the the keynote presentation.

"Enterprise is our heritage"Markus Mueller

One of the first things Markus said was that when John Chen came on board in November 2013, he said BlackBerry had "to focus and if you want to focus, you need to focus on the battles you can win." And since enterprise is BlackBerry's roots that is the battle they are looking to win. As we know, this is what BlackBerry is currently focusing on and what these BlackBerry Experience events have been targeting.

He then went on to talk about BlackBerry's Strategic Vision. The strategy consists of three parts - a compelling enterprise strategy, enabling productivity and going into the Internet of Things with the QNX platform.

The final thing stated during the keynote presentation was that in order for BlackBerry to follow through with their strategy, they need to execute. Again, their execution plan consisted of three things - recommitment to customers, expanding value and leveraging the ecosystem.

BlackBerry Experience Execution Slide

After the keynote presentation, another speaker came up - Shaun Collins, Founder of CCS Insight. Shaun is an analyst and his presentation looked into the importance of mobility and key trends. He talked about how IT departments budgets in Europe are increasing. The top areas in which these budgets will be prioritised are hardware and software. These include server virtualisation, smartphones, tablet PCs and mobility.

The key takeaway from Shaun Collins' presentation was that with the way things are moving in the mobile enterprise world BlackBerry is in a prime place to fill the needs of companies.

 

Customer Panel

Following Shaun Collins' presentation, there was a customer panel session. Three representatives were part of the customer panel. A representative from Glasgow City Council (Alastair Lang), the Medical Protection Society (Glen Coultish) and law firm Taylor Vinters (Steve Sumner). They had all recently had their IT contracts up and so were looking to shop around. They were all existing BES5 customers but pressure from employees wanting to use Android or iOS devices made each of them trial or at least look into the cost of moving away from BlackBerry smartphones.

The first thing stated and asked when the session started was when looking at "regular" press, people have just about written BlackBerry off but in the trade press this is not so and Steve Sumner went on to say that the case was very true especially for the law firm he works at. For lawyers, they need to be able to be able to send and receive a lot of confidential information and BlackBerry is a trusted product for doing this. When asked why the law firm decided to go with BlackBerry, Steve Sumner said that they had been using BlackBerry devices for many years and it just "ticks all the boxes" when it comes to performance, security and business collaboration.

Glen Coultish, from the Medical Protection Society said when they looked into deploying Samsung and iPhone smartphones the costs of the devices alone was 30-40% more than purchasing BlackBerry 10 models. They also love being able to separate personal and work spaces with BlackBerry Balance.

When asked what BlackBerry 10 models were preferred by the employees, the Medical Protection Society workers gravitated towards BlackBerry Z10 devices for the bigger screen, while the lawyers much preferred BlackBerry Q10 devices due to the QWERTY-keyboard which allowed them to type out more accurately when sending out e-mails.

In each case, BlackBerry was there to help them transition from BES5 to BES10. They all had in-house apps which they need to use and BlackBerry helped them port this app over to BlackBerry 10 as well as help them achieve CGSI compliance. For Steve Sumner, he said that BES10 opened up more opportunities for them.

Ultimately, the reason all three companies went (or stayed) with BlackBerry is because of cost and security and it was proven for productivity. Alastair Lang, from Glasgow City Council also went onto say that security on other platforms is not as granular. BES10 is very granular and is what they need and prefer.

This customer panel session was very eye opening and it was great to hear actual real world stories. Enterprise isn't an area we talk about much here. I know why I love and use a BlackBerry device as a consumer and it was nice to see the reasons corporate companies choose BlackBerry.

After the customer panel it was time for a break. Press were ushered into another room while everyone else went back to the 'holding' area for refreshments. However, when it was time to go back for the second half, we, as press were not going anywhere. Two members of press returned to the auditorium but were politely removed before the second half presentation begun. Though this is something I learned at the end of the day.

It was not until afterwards, that I realised why this London event was an invitation only event. All the IT administrators and company representatives had all signed an NDA at the time of invite or perhaps even on the day. The reason for this was because they were given a peek into upcoming devices. Again, this was all things that transpired after the event finished. They got a look at the BlackBerry Windermere, Classic, Z3 LTE and the next Porsche Design QWERTY device. I'm told that the BlackBerry Windermere looks very much like the images we have been seeing lately and looks a lot nicer in person than in the pictures. Also, that it's about passport-sized. Of course, due to NDA no photos were allowed to be taken. So, even I had got in to the second half, there wouldn't be much I could talk about anyway.

It was a great experience anyway, even if I didn't get hands-on time with these devices. The customer session was a highlight and just seeing the commitment BlackBerry has to moving forward.

I managed to shake hands and say hello to a few CrackBerry readers. If you were there, what were your key takeaways from the day? Hit up comments. You can check out the photo gallery above of the displays around the venue.

Topics: Editorial

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Attending the BlackBerry Experience: London

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The key thing is when will these devices be available worldwide?

Is there a timetable post Z3 launch in Indonesia?

This is the question on everyone's mind.

Posted via CB10

I wish crack berry could help with my question: how can I get a Z30 in australia??? I am with the 2nd largest carrier in the country, OPTUS. They have never stocked it and cannot give a date when they will have it. I'm currently using a Z10, and am up for a replacement free phone. I can't buy it off any retailer as they have nil in stock, as are Kogan. I can only get one from one carrier which is the opposition carrier, but would rather it for free from my carrier, and I'd rather not purchase overseas

Posted via CB10

Get a free replacement( ios Android etc) that you think you can sell easy online , with the $ , buy yourself a unlock Z30 from shopblackberry.com

+10 go to ebay and look at sold listing. Search for the item, the on the left, filter by "sold" items, and see which phone you can get sells for the most. Upgrade to that phone, sell it, and buy a Z30 online.

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10

Bummer you could not see the upcoming devices. Thanks for sharing your account of the event.

Posted via CB10

There are 2 members in the forums who have been talking about it, and all of the details line up with what DJ just said (like the order of things, and the second half they kept all the media out and had them sign NDA's etc.) and that's way before this article was published so it gives them credibility. And yes, they said they saw the Windermere in person and the Classic via a picture.

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10

DJ, thanks for the detailed overview of this event. I am always curious how BlackBerry approaches Enterprise, especially since BlackBerry needs (and recongizes) the importance of Enterprise.

It is unfortunate that you didn't get to see the upcoming devices, but I can understand the reasoning of BlackBerry behind the decision. It is too early yet to have things leaked through press (even with NDA). And this way, Enterprise will get a 'special' treatment, hopefully creating a positive vibe. I hope that Enterprise can truly benefit from the new devices and I as a 'regular' consumer will too!

It was a good day and it was good to see you DJ and Phil. Really enjoyed the Customer Panel and an insight to the other side of the BlackBerry Market.

Posted via CB10

I just hope that new devices have high-end specs: no less than quad core processor, at least 4 Gb of RAM and 32 Gb of space.

BlackBerry: be the leader you used to be!

God Bless You!

Why would you even want that? I'd rather have dual core with battery that lasts longer. The system won't be any faster.

I agree completely. This is the thing that worries me. All of the people I know that have a work issued BlackBerry have chosen the Z30 (granted this is a small, anecdotal sample).

All of them used to rock a physical keyboard. The future is full touchscreen. BlackBerry needs a successor to the Z30. Full stop.

Posted via CB10

You can get the Z30 here, I even had my broken screen fixed

Question to the writer, did you managed to get a sense of who were their other corporate customers in the room apart from the panel? And blackberry should talk and Crackberry should talk about them more!

Posted via CB10

Given that it is supposed to be an all-touch and the devices mentioned in the article, maybe that is simply the internal name for the z3 lte.

Thanks guys, will try blackberry direct, Harvey Norman at times are sold out or on back order, cheers for quick responses

Posted via CB10

You mention that the Windermere is about "passport size." I think most passports are a uniform size, but I'm not sure. How big is a British passport in dimensions?

I really want a Windermere, but the rumors continue to have it shrinking in screen size to the point where it may just be too small for me to read ebooks, browse the web, or consume video on... and those are all reasons why I'm currently on a Z30 rather than a Q10 with its smaller display.

Posted via CB10

Glad you made it DJ . I had an invite but couldn't make it due to work commitments.

Steve/Boanerges Performance

This is a MUST READ article. Probably one of the best for a very long time on Crackberry. It displays in motion the strategy. I am glad they've shown the devices under NDA, I am less glad we don't have any feedback but this is for good.

I have high hopes on the windermere and also on the phablet.

I'd like them to be my mobile office right now.

BlackBerry devices are so superior when it comes down to produce something.

But we live in a consumer era and forgetting it may kill you. I'm sure BlackBerry got the memo now.

CONGRATS DJ REYES!

Posted via CB10

If BlackBerry succeeds in Enterprise, there will be lots of smart and influential people using BlackBerry 10 devices. These devices may or may not be passed down to their kids when the parents get new ones. If they do, growth on the consumer side will come naturally. The question is: will parents cave and simply give the spoiled little brats the brand new phone they think they want?

Windermere may be the market BlackBerry for the medical enterprise industry...it's proposed high tech and capacity seems directed to viewing HD x-ray sheets medical "things" for doctors, lab techs, nursing and such...Classic is for business and legal enterprise systems...that's the picture I'm seeing from all this info...Z30, Z3, Z10, Q10, Q5...consumer targeted....

Rocking the Z30 Regina SK Canada

Classic is more focused than you indicate, it is squarely aimed at that sizable chunk of market that has stuck with bb7.

Also, out of those you list, I think it is more accurate to list it as z30/z10/q10/q5 as legacy bb10 with z3 lte and classic being intended to steadily replace them as soon as possible and aimed just at the lower end of the market rather than specifically consumer or otherwise.

While some of the selling of Windermere might focus on particular industries, the main purpose to it is to stand out from the crowd with a different kind of form factor from anyone else in much the same way the first phablets did.

Can anyone confirm what exactly 'CGSI compliance' is as I've never come across this acronym 'CGSI'.

I work in the UK and have to comply with all manner of security standards and I've never heard of this one (unless it relates to coding / programming as it was mentioned in the paragraph about customers applications).

There could have during the second half but nobody has mentioned that. At least any of those I spoke to after the event.

Posted via CB10

I agree. The z30 is the best BlackBerry device from them.Too bad there is so few of them available by the carriers.

From my  phone

DJ,
Well done and Thank You. It would seem that Mr. Chen continues his "boring" march to profitability and reclamation of what has been lost.

Sounds like it was a big difference from the Washington, DC event I was at a few weeks ago. Sounds very exciting, good to hear the customer testimonials.

Nice write-up.
A shame you were not able to collect more feedback from these IT deciders about the devices.

great write up! thanks

interesting that a key part of their execution is "leveraging the ecosystem"

my initial reacting is "what ecosystem?"

at least they recognize the importance of an ecosystem. i'm curious as to how they're going to leverage it.

there are a lot of little things that they have (or had as unique), that haven't been capitalized on (or marketed).

like hdmi out, miracast, USB host, Bridge, NFC

I want all the new devices and I want them now!

But seriously I'm really looking forward to seeing the new devices !

Posted via CB10

The classic is my next blackberry 10. This Q10 will likely be sold after, or given too my mother. :)

Posted via CrackBerry 10 (CB10) application using my BlackBerry Q10.

So I have a question for DJ without making you break your NDA agreement, if you saw the upcoming devices, would you be more optimistic? Thanks.

Using Z10, wanting Z30, eyeing Windermere

I did not see them as I was there as press and we were not allowed into the second half where they showed the devices.

Posted via CB10

Strange how little number of comments on this post although it is the first solid confirmation on Q30 leaks and others.

Posted via CB10

Perhaps rename the article: Hear on visual confirmation of the Q30, Classic :

"They got a look at the BlackBerry Windermere, Classic, Z3 LTE and the next Porsche Design QWERTY device. I'm told that the BlackBerry Windermere looks very much like the images we have been seeing lately and looks a lot nicer in person than in the pictures. Also, that it's about passport-sized."

I missed my flight to London and dropped my Z30 so in the end I didn't attend. That was a very sh1tty Tuesday I can tell you...Seems like I missed out!

Posted via CB10

Can't wait for the windamere, need too upgrade. I'm disabled and my medication gives me the shakes, I need a keyboard and I love Blackberry's. When will we see new handsets??

Yay. My friend uses a bold 9900 and a brand spanking new Samsung s5.

He received a confidential work email on the Samsung. It was totally blank. On the BlackBerry it was decrypted and readable.

Think about that!

Posted via CB10