B*Nator Remote Control for BlackBerry

By Craig Johnston on 18 Nov 2008 10:34 am EST
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B*Nator Remote Control for BlackBerry

The company ISEC7 recently won the Enterprise category of the BlackBerry Developers Challenge with a pretty unique product for the BlackBerry called B*Nator Remote Control.

ISEC7 actually sells a BlackBerry monitoring suite, but it is this remote control tool that got all of the attention, and for good reason.

What is B*Nator Remote Control?

As the name suggests, B*Nator Remote Control allows a BlackBerry support person to take control of a BlackBerry.  Not only can they take control of someone’s BlackBerry, but they can do this over the air!

How it Works

There are two parts to B*Nator Remote Control.  The first part is a client that resides on the BlackBerry.  This client acts as the eyes and thumbs of the support person.   The second part of B*Nator Remote Control is a server component made up of a web server and some database software.  The web server is used by the support personal to perform the actual remote control on the BlackBerrys.

So let’s say that you are on an enterprise Help Desk, or even a carrier support line, and you receive a call from a BlackBerry user who is having a problem.  Normally you would spend a lot of time asking them questions about the problem and what screens they were looking at, and what application they were using, etc.

With B*Nator Remote Control you now have the ability to take control of that BlackBerry and see for yourself.

So the first step is to request a remote control session.  This would not be a secure enterprise solution if anyone could control any BlackBerry.  So the support person logs into the B*Nator console on the web server and sends a request for remote control to the email address of the BlackBerry user.  This web console would normally be hosted inside the firewall of the enterprise, but could also be hosted externally as long as proper security measures were in place.

B*Nator Request Remote Control
Figure 1: B*Nator Remote Control Request

Figure 1 above shows the B*Nator remote control request screen as seen on the BlackBerry.

Once the user clicks on OK, their remote control session shows up on the B*Nator web console as seen in Figure 2 below.

Available Remote Control Sessions
Figure 2: Available remote control sessions

The support person now finds the BlackBerry they would like to take control of by looking for the PIN number or email address, and hitting Connect.  Within a few seconds they will see the BlackBerry on screen along with some useful information.

Taking Control of the BlackBerry
Figure 3: Taking control of the BlackBerry

Device information is shown along with tabs for Service Books, and installed Applications.

If you look at Figure 3 you will also see a section for writing text and sending it to the BlackBerry.  This is simply a faster way of entering text instead of clicking on the keys on the keyboard one-by-one.

The support person now has full control of the BlackBerry.  They can type anything and navigate the BlackBerry.  The BlackBerry user is not locked out of the device during this remote control session, and they can take control at any time.

The support person can click on the virtual BlackBerry anytime to receive a screen shot of what the BlackBerry user is seeing at any time, or they can check the Auto screenshot box and a new screen shot is sent about every 30 seconds.

While controlling a BlackBerry there seems to be a two second lag between the action taken on the web console and that action occurring on the BlackBerry.  Since this is all happening over the air, it does not seem like an unreasonable amount of lag time.

Conclusion

B*Nator Remote Control is truly a unique product.  It is one that I have been asking for and waiting for, and now it is finally here!  I am sure that you can only imagine how this product can reduce the troubleshooting times for BlackBerry calls, not only for enterprise clients, but for carriers, and hosted BlackBerry solution providers.

Visit http://isec7.com/eng/blackberryeng/isec7solutionseng/remoteaccesseng/index.php for more information.
 

Topics: Enterprise

Reader comments

B*Nator Remote Control for BlackBerry

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Logmein has had mobile device support for a long time. they also just released the blackberry version a couple weeks ago. It is a great app.

This would be really good for supporting these out in the field. I wish they had a free trial so we can test it. :)

These guys are great. I talked to them at the BBDC, and I think we're going to see some really cool enterprise solutions coming from them in the future.

Is this only an enterprise though? Are they not going to go the VNC/Remote Desktop Desktop route and let end consumers control one anothers' blackberries? Like VNC and RD, this could be very useful for the techie member of the family whose always being called on to do free tech support over the phone.

I agree.. that was my first thought. Then when clicking on their site, i notice pricing was "contact us". Which means it seems based more around an enterprise solution or multiple "expensive" licenses.

Yeah, it's enterprise only because B*Nator is built to plug into their enterprise monitoring solution (like BoxTone or Zenprise). When I asked them about their interest in the upcoming Application Storefront, they weren't that excited since they had no consumer apps to offer on there. Who knows, maybe your comments will change their minds. ;)

Just a fair warning those of you that sign up for this do not do so with a common email domain like comcast.net or yahoo etc.. they do it by email address if someone has signed up for the trial under one of those email addresses already you'll basically be SOL since it ties your PIN to it as well. Can't really test it now to see if it is worth while due to that fact :(

First of all it doesn't do what people think it does. The remote access is not in real time. What it does is give you still images every 15 seconds or so. Its very annoying to use and not to mention kind of pricey. I spoke to someone from this company and asked them why it was taking to long for the still images to change and why it wasn't in real time. His response was "RIM doesn't support streaming for the device screen , so these are screenshot sent over" ....whenever RIM lets support streaming i'm sure this program will be awesome. Other than that....check it out yourself but i'm sure you wont be impressed.

There are a few other options in terms of remote controlling your BlackBerry. SOTI recently came out with a couple of products. One is a help desk solution called MobiAssist which is like B*Nator, but the remote control console sits on your desktop, so it's not web based, which means the remote control would be faster. The other is Pocket Controller-Pro for BlackBerry which allows you to remote control a device that's beside you, over USB or Wi-Fi. It's great for presentations and making training videos. You can check both products out at soti.net.