BlackBerry 10 Jam Enterprise Edition: My Perspective

10 Jam
By James Richardson on 26 Oct 2012 10:35 am EDT
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Earlier this week I spent the day at the BlackBerry 10 Jam Enterprise Edition that took place in London, UK. I will be totally honest with you and say that my knowledge of BES is pretty much zero, but I'm not one to miss out on a BlackBerry event because as well as learning new stuff there are always interesting people to meet and chat with. Chris did a great post after he attended the event in Toronto as well.

I attended the first BB10 Jam in London some months ago and that was a larger event than this one although the Enterprise Edition did sell out. I'm not sure on numbers but I would take a guess at there being between 80-100 people who attended. Clearly the majority of these folk were developers and already work within the Enterprise market. What I did find impressive though was that about 15- 20% of the people at the event had not developed for BlackBerry before, so all the hard work that RIM has been putting into the dev support must be paying off. Mind you, with BlackBerry 10 (or what RIM has shown us so far) looking so good you can't blame developers from other OS's being interested.

The morning kicked off with Gregg Ostrowski, Senior Director of Enterprise Developer Partnerships, giving a presentation and luckily I was able to spend some time with him one on one later in the day. From a reporting perspective he didn't give me any new 'good stuff' we don't already know a about BlackBerry 10 but it is clear that RIM are going to be pushing the Enterprise side of the business as much as the consumer side when the new OS launches. Whether that includes marketing or just the RIM sales team doing their thing I can't say but they have a huge advantage over the likes of Android, iOS and Windows Phone in my opinion. Here's my theory anyway.

Traditionally the Enterprise market was where RIM was strongest at one point. Lets look at North America as an example. BlackBerry sales have plummeted as we know but there are still a tonne of organisations using BES, along with the likes of the police and government agencies who love BlackBerry for its security features. There are also many that have jumped ship to another platform so getting those customers back won't be easy but the way I see it is that BlackBerry Balance is one feature of BlackBerry 10 that could make all the difference.

We have talked about BlackBerry Balance numerous times here recently but just in case you missed it and have no idea what I am talking about I will summarize. BlackBerry Balance allows IT managers to partition the BlackBerry 10 device to keep work and personal applications separate.

If my memory serves me right a simple gesture down from the top of the device will reveal the Balance tabs where the user can toggle between the two options - work and personal. There are many benefits to this including the employer being able to disable/wipe all the work related apps/info on the handset if required. Another good example is Twitter. Say you have both a work and personal Twitter account and one evening you are going out for a night of fun and games (Beer) with your buddies. To prevent accidentally tweeting (while under the influence) from the wrong Twitter account you can lock the work Twitter account (or any other app) to cover yourself - an amazing option if you ask me.

Another example is BlackBerry App World. If you are an Enterprise user you will have access to two App Worlds as one will be in personal mode and one in work. Again, your company can restrict or give you access to certain work related applications in work mode, but by simply using the BlackBerry Balance tab to jump into personal mode you can have access to all the normal consumer apps we all love. If you were to do this on a BlackBerry 10 device you would even see both App Worlds on your home screen. Sounds a bit weird but actually it's extremely clever and as far as I am aware unique in the mobile industry.

Those are just a couple of examples and I am sure there are plenty more that we have not even seen yet as BB10 launch is some months off still. But from me being a BlackBerry addict and also working in sales for 15 years I can see BlackBerry Balance as a real winner for RIM when it comes to winning back (and retaining) Enterprise customers.

I am sure that in the comments of this post we will see some people saying it's too late and that organisations have migrated to another platform and are happy. And for some that will be the case - but RIM stand a real chance here and I am not just saying that as I write for CrackBerry. I have also taken a back seat and looked at what RIM has to offer the Enterprise market from an outsiders perspective and if I was a current or future BlackBerry customer I would like what I have seen so far.

Of course, winning back lost customers is never going to be easy and if RIM can do it, it won't happen overnight, but give it time for BB10 to be out there and they are in with a shot - I am convinced.

I have kind of digressed from just talking about the London event so let me get back on track briefly. Speaking with developers at the event they all seemed confident in RIM which is a great sign. Once again, this partly comes down to the developer support that they are providing. One chap I was talking to is so much happier developing for BlackBerry 7 (Enterprise apps) compared to Android - another positive vibe.

Overall I think the Enterprise Edition was a big hit for all that attended. RIM also held the same event in Canada so you will more than likely (if not already) see some feedback from our crack team that attended that location. And in terms of BlackBerry 10 Enterprise coverage here at CrackBerry we are working towards getting an expert on board to help us out so we can provide you with the best content possible. All this technical developing stuff baffles the hell out of me!

20 comments

Lebussle

I'm glad to see this kind of direct promotion happening on all levels, devs, enterprise and hopefully with the launch well see more aimed at consumers. With byod it means convincing both the consumer and their boss bb is the way to go. Balance and mobile fusion seem to be a good step in making that happen.

NamelessStar

always nice to see another side :D

Berry-cracked-up

I'm moving (hopefully) to a company that gives BB's to all their employees. I currently have a 9800, and I plan to be one of the first in line to buy a BB10 phone. My assumption would be that this company may not be handing out new BB10's from day one, since they are currently handing out BB Bolds to everyone. However, I absolutely will request from my company that if I buy out a BB10 on my own, I'd like to use BB Balance so I can utilize the BYOD and have both a personal and work phone all built into one. This way, if I leave the company, I can still take my BB10 phone with me, and not give it back. Even if they do offer BB10's to their employees from day one....I'd actually rather buy my own and bring it. I want it to be MY phone, not the companies....but they still have the ability to control the 'work' side of the phone where as I have full control of the personal side....and as I said, if I ever leave the company, I can take it with me and use BB balance at my next job!

Thats the plan.....just need to get the offer at that company first! :)

sk8er_tor

Best wishes with the offer!

Superfly_FR

I believe balance is something the general public is not aware of.
Once the first instances - running on a BB10 beauty - will hit the street, it will participate actively to the "wow".
Thanks for this insightful article.

poei#CB

I love all the commercials on this site! But where are they shown? Not in California... I don't think...

dbarz

this is another important piece of the puzzle, the bigger picture that RIM is envisioning. They don't have to be number one in everything but with all the game cards they have (enterprise, phones, Playbooks, QNX in cars, etc) it should be enough to keep them alive as a viable force in the industry.

Joe257

James, your need to share your Beer games with us! I'd like to compare with mine :)

Joe257

Thanks for the article, James. I like your optimism on the enterprise space. RIM does have a real chance here to make it big again. I won't add any "buts" because there are always unknowns. What they'll be armed with in Jan will be truly unique and powerful. This is not just plopped on top of an existing platform (many of which are insecure and can be easily jailbroken!) -- it is baked into the core platform so you know it will be secure and robust.

RIM could have released BB10 on time but it wouldn't have had any of these enterprise features built in. This extra time also gave the UI folks the opportunity to add a lot of nice features to enhance the user experience. I have even more reasons to be optimistic after reading your article. What we are observing is the complete turnaround of RIM.

Apple is indeed where RIM was 4 years ago. It seems that Apple can't do anything right these days. They're making some serious mis-steps, they're pulling at straws, and they're faced with doing some major catch up work over the next few years. It will be impossible for them to keep up with expectations over the next 3-4 years.

Apple also has an ancient OS and UI experience, in comparison to Android and BB10. Their platform is aging very fast so they can't add many new functions into iOS the way it is designed. RIM will have a leadership position in robust security, unique & powerful UI experience, a rock & roll OS platform that does everything (even real-time if RIM decides to turn it on!), and a new enterprise platform that will re-define what it means to be enterprise ready!

Folks, what RIM has achieved in BB10 is nothing short of MONUMENTAL! They're re-defined everything. We often WOW about what Apple accomplished with the first iPhone. We'll be saying the very same thing about BB10 soon -- not just in the enterprise space but in the commercial space as well. Apps are coming along well with some big titles already there, and BB10 has a kick @ss web experience, fantastic and intuitive peek & flow concept, and a seemless way of unifying the app experience using the BlackBerry Hub. We BlackBerry folks have always loved the Hub, even if we never knew it by that name!

For those not convinced, you can see from a number of different perspectives that this is not a company in crisis. They are making headway in providing security platforms for NFC payment systems, they've got the BB10-compatible auto-infotainment systems being launched, and they are making many really cool advances in UI experience -- the likes of which we normally associate with Apple. Times are changing. The RIMpire IS fighting back and winning!

Can't wait till January & February!

LuayS

I wonder if the bb10 phones will support dual sim. It would make having two phones obsolete. Or will BB Balance be enough? Reason I ask is because I don't want people to be calling my personal number for work related things.

Joe257

People actually call you by phone? Just kidding! Don't know why these things are still called phones. I call it my mobile, as in mobile PC :)

No dual SIM as far as I know, and BB Balance will do it all except voice. If you switch personalities on the device, it will still have the same phone number.

BB - by - choice

I think that this is the big flaw in balance. I have my work bold, and my personal Torch. My work voice and data plan is highly controlled (don't open attachments - it costs too much), don't use for personal calls, etc. My personal plan is unlimited data and just enough voice. I want to be able have my work pay for the work data and voice and I will continue to pay for my plan but all under the one phone. I suppose that I can try and convince them that they should just reimburse a portion of my basic costs and use my plan for both, but this can get tricky. Do I want one mobile number that is personal and work together? Not really.

Not sure how to solve this, but I hope that something can be done.

whitbags

If you wish to keep your mobile phone numbers entirely separate then clearly BYOD is not for you. Easy.

Many, many other folks must be comfortable with that, though, as BYOD is so popular.

jsocan

From what I read, BlackBerry Balance has an advantage over other MDM providers like Good which can segregate work versus personal but with a walled garden approach that comes with a different user experience than the device's native UX. Not so with BlackBerry Balance, which can give the users the same user experience making switching between work and personal sides seamless.

Just hope RIM's enterprise sales team can clearly articulate the distinctive advantages of BES 10 over other MDM solutions like Good and MobileIron.

currentuser

Having read this post, and many others regarding RIM's "imminent demise", reminds me of a saying by Mark Twain (I think): "Rumors of my death are slightly exaggerated."

Something else occurred to me related to the same point:
a) There is an assumption that it is impossible for RIM to regain ground in Enterprise sales because the companies have all moved on, and NYT writers are embarrassed, etc. "It's too little too late" is the narrative.
b) This assumption is false because it based on the ridiculous notion that the universe of customers (individual or enterprise) is static, and the companies that exist and/or purchase or phones right now are the only ones who will exist and/or purchase phones in the future.

Clearly, companies change and close all the time, and new ones are founded daily. RIM seems to be taking a different tack, and it seems wise to me.

boldkeyboardholic

Who will have the control over the device?

This commercial sounds like the IT department.

Do I really need this?

I don't.

How works BB Balance or other concepts/applications?

Is there a guarantee that private data is only accessable by the user?

Maybe I just don't like the idea of BYOD or concepts where you uses one device for everything.

BB - by - choice

From what I have read, IT can not access your personal side of the phone ever.

Rootbrian

Great article James. Excellent to know from different sides and viewpoints.