BlackBerry Mobile Fusion Launched – Multiple Platform Mobile Device Management

BB Bold and PlayBook

The term BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) can be a nightmare for your companies’ IT guy who has to ensure that sensitive information being passed around via employee-owned mobile devices stays secure. On the flip-side, allowing employees to use their own gadgets for business keeps hardware and voice/data plan costs down while keeping employee morale high as they get to use the device they want.

Now that RIM has announced plans to “focus on its strengths” (a.k.a. the enterprise), look for RIM to offer more options to aid large corporations and small businesses alike with their mobile device solutions. Case in point, BlackBerry Mobile Fusion – A mobile device management solution built on renowned BlackBerry Enterprise Server technology that allows IT departments to manage company & employee-owned BlackBerry, Android, and iOS devices under a unified web-based console.

BlackBerry Enterprise Server is one of RIM’s crown jewels, so companies interested in deploying BB Mobile Fusion can do so knowing that their data is protected under the same BES 256-bit AES encrypted technology, as well as easy over-the-air app and installation capabilities for BlackBerry devices. Read More

Box Cloud Storage for iOS adds App Compatibility Menu

Box One Cloud for iPad

Nowadays, picking a cloud storage service so your mobile devices can have access to the same documents as your desktop/laptop can very well depend on how many other mobile apps are compatible. The major cloud storage services recognize this and have made sure that the majority of the apps you already use to “get things done” play nice with their offerings.

Box just made it easier for users to discover compatible 3rd Party apps by releasing an update to their iOS apps that includes the OneCloud menu that lists and allows users to download all compatible apps. Read More

What’s Good? Mobile Device Management Tools with Military-Grade Security

In case you’ve been under a rock, modern mobilty is all about being productive everywhere.  As we also know, one of the greatest concerns in any business is security.  It’s obvious that these two forces work against each other in some ways.  Empowering your staff to be productive while on the go means the increased potential of exposing your company secrets.

For a long time, RIM’s Blackberry had a stranglehold on this market segment.  If you wanted secure email on the go, Blackberry was the answer.  However, the Canadian mobile maker has lagged behind the tech curve, and it looks like the market is finally catching up with them.  Increasingly, employees want to use their personal device for mobile productivity, but using personal devices for work presents a security risk for the business.  So, how can employees stay secure without having to carry a bunch of devices around with them, doing tasks based on which device can get the job done?

Enter Good for Enterprise.  Good for Enterprise is a suite of mobile device management tools with military-grade security for data loss prevention. Their collaboration features for iOS, Android, and Windows phone enable productivity without keeping your IT team up at night. Read More

Are Tablet Price Wars Brewing?

With Apple continuing to dominate the tablet market, it was probably only a matter of time before other manufacturers began to slash their tablet prices in an effort to increase market share. While this would be the logical response to the iPad’s category-crushing success, other tablet manufacturers have thus far refrained from engaging in price wars with Apple, likely because the iPad’s success has driven up tablet component costs for everyone else in the industry. Manufacturers have been jumping into the tablet game in large part because they want to emulate Apple’s 25% profit margin on the iPad, but since they’re paying higher component prices than Apple, cutting retail prices would thwart the very reason they got into the tablet game in the first place. Read More

Why Skype is not quite ready for the Enterprise

As I’m sure you’re aware, the folks over at Microsoft have gambled big recently by  purchasing Skype.  Microsoft has long been regarded as the first name in enterprise software, but does Skype fit in with the rest of the class of Microsoft products? Or, are they the weird kid that eats paste?  To be blunt: for now, hide your paste.

About a year ago my office converted to all-Skype.  The company phones are Skype phones, and most of us now just have a mic and our headphones rather than a desk handset.  Although this is a great product for people in long distance relationships, or those who want to see their grandchildren in another state, this product needs a few improvements before we can really rely on it for serious business.

As you probably know, they had a global outage this week so stability is a big concern. However, lots of services have had major outages recently and survived unscathed.  The biggest issue for the business so far is that many folks already had a Skype account when they joined the company, and they’re unable to merge their personal account with the new company-funded account.  This means they had to move all of their contacts over to a new Skype screen name, and it’s often extremely confusing to newcomers who arrive with many clients (like salesmen, who live and die by their phone).  After the transition to the company-based Skype, some employees seem to be even more nervous about missing that big call.

Another issue – with Skype, there’s no central phone directory for your company.   The closest that we’ve been able to come is to include our company name in all the usernames that we create. This way, folks can search for our names and find our people. This isn’t a great solution, though, as there’s no security provided. Nothing bars other users from using your company’s name in their usernames, potentially causing  “false positives”- imagine if a competitor caught on and convinced a customer to call them, because the customer thought the competitor was affiliated with your company?  A directory is a near-mandatory staple for enterprise telecommunication solution.

Payment is also a problem.  When you have lots of people making tons of calls all around the country, it’s common to add large amounts of credit to your account to cover costs.  With a terrestrial phone service it’s common to add thousands of dollars at a time to your corporate phone account.  With Skype, if you want to add 500 or more dollars to your account you have to fax in a special form. This seems pretty stone-age for a digital-frontier company.  And, if you need to fax in several forms, you’re occasionally flagged, causing service interruptions!  In a digital age, with a digital business, it’s a total waste of time to constantly fill out and fax forms, even when you have sites like eFax to help.

As a web-based phone service, Skype really should excel at inexpensive teleconferencing.  Although it’s touted as the ‘facetime killer” Skype actually has very little support for true video or teleconference support.  When we have a large meeting with several remote people, we’re usually unable to configure it so that we can all see and hear each other without a lot of microphone-passing and hand-waving.  Consequently, people in remote offices often feel left out of the loop.

Last but certainly not least is the fact that all of their equipment is proprietary.  With terrestrial phones, there is usually an equipment standard so that generally your handset can go with you from service provider to service provider.  Not Skype phones.  Skype phones require commitment.  So, now that we have invested in this equipment, we feel somewhat stuck with it, since we can’t re-use the handsets. We’re what a poker player would call ‘pot committed’.

Even with all this (I know that it’s hard to tell,) I actually love Skype—I really do!  I’ve had great fun with it, and it’s perfect for chatting with your family or your significant other when they’re out of town.  To really meet the needs of the business community, however, Skype should definitely take some cues from their new owners and start thinking about providing service from an enterprise perspective.

BlackBerry Playbook will have “Balance” Service Too

It has been recently announced that Blackberry is currently testing a service for BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Service) called BlackBerry Balance that will allow IT departments to control corporate data on a BlackBerry smartphone issued to an employee without touching the employee’s personal data also stored on the device. I personally think this is a move (and a good one) by BlackBerry to maintain its dominance in the enterprise arena by allowing the use of just one device for work and play.

BlackBerry Balance Corporate Data Wipe Screen

To up the ante, it has also been announced that the BlackBerry Balance service will be available for the upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook tablet device as well. Since the PlayBook has been touted as business device, it makes since to provide users with a way to get extended use from the device while outside of the office.

BlackBerry Balance for smartphones (and tablets) doesn’t have a firm launch date, but word on the street is that you will be able to carry two BlackBerry devices in one within the next few months.

Mobilize SharePoint with Moprise for iPhone

Moprise Cloud Collaboration

Microsoft SharePoint is one of the giants in intranet file/content sharing, collaboration, and management. Moprise wants to get you from behind your desk and give you access to your SharePoint content no matter where you are.

Moprise, which I am assuming is a mash-up of “mobile” and “enterprise” (which would make perfect sense) is a mobile collaboration cloud-based solution that enables workgroups and enterprise users to securely access, share, and collaborate on any SharePoint business content from their mobile device.

Moprise can take what your company or group already does:

– social networking
– group content creation and management
– presentation sharing, project management
– integrated voice and video
– calendaring, scheduling

…and adds value by giving it that “cloud” flavor that frees users from feeling left out if they are not at their desks. Speaking of freedom, Moprise also offers an iPad version, with Android currently in the works.

Moprise offers a free (‘Lite’ is what cool kids are calling it these days) version where you can just access content. Beefed up paid versions with more options and more users start at $5 bucks a month. The iPhone and iPad apps are a free download from the iTunes App Store.

The ability for users to access, edit, and share QUICKLY in order to make fast and confident business decisions while on the go is what Moprise wants to capitalize on. Try it out and let us know what you think in the comments section.

Make Your Work Phone an App on your Personal Phone with Virtualization

Sounds good doesn’t it? LG and VMware want to do just that. They’re working together on ‘mobile virtualization technology’ that will allow you to run a fully-functional 2nd phone complete with a separate phone number & security policies as an app within your personal phone.

That is idea for enterprise folks who do to strict company IT policies, couldn’t possibly use their work phone as their personal phone OR really don’t want to whip out their clunky, 2 versions back smartphone (which, in smartphone terms is like 3 months ago) while outside the workplace.

Fresh from the press release:

Smartphones are driving demand for an enhanced mobile experience as business- specific devices lose appeal and employees look to use their personal devices at work,” said Stacy Crook, senior analyst for IDC’s Mobile Enterprise research programs. “For the business market, the individual-liable, employee-owned model is here to stay. Savvy companies will embrace the trend and procure the necessary means to ensure that all devices with sensitive information are managed properly.

Initially, the software will be available for LG phones running Android operating systems and is expected to come to market sometime in 2011. Don’t be surprised if other mobile brands/manufacturers quickly jump on the bandwagon to appease those looking to carry just ONE PHONE for both business and pleasure personal.

*raises hand*

Check out the video of mobile virtualization technology at work.

[via: Engadget]

BlackBerry’s PlayBook Tablet Screams ‘Business Ready’

With its ultra-portable, 7″ inch screen weighing in at under one-pound (compared to the Apple iPad at a “husky” 1.5 pounds for the WiFi only model) and HTML5 AND Flash 10.1 capabilities, RIM has decided to enter the tablet game, but focuses on its tried and true business customer base with the unveiling of the new BlackBerry PlayBook tablet devices set to be released to the masses early 2011.

Of course the business-savvy professional isn’t the ONLY customer RIM had in mind when developing the PlayBook. It also packs most of the entertainment features that are becoming standard of most mobile devices.

– Front and rear-facing HD (1080p) cameras
– 1080p HD video playback
– Mini HDMI output
– MP3, AAC, WMA audio playback
– WiFi (up to 802.11n)
– Bluetooth 2.1

Back to the business side of things – The PlayBook will sport 1GB of RAM and a 1GHz DUAL-CORE processor to power what BlackBerry calls “True multitasking”. Current BB smartphone owners who may be eye-balling the PlayBook will be happy to know that while the first Playbook will be WiFi-only, the ability to tether (share data connection) with their BB smartphone will be as easy as setting up bluetooth connectivity between the two devices. Once set up, the Playbook will display and synchronize data from your BB smartphone – with no extra data plan fees.

The most surprising point about the new PlayBook is the fact that it’s not using the new BlackBerry 6 OS that BB recently unveiled with the new BlackBerry Touch smartphone. BB is putting its acquisition money to good use and tapped QNX to build an all new mobile OS specifically for the Playbook. The company’s founder states that “QNX is going to enable things that you have never seen before”. If this is true and the QNX OS does blow our socks off when the Playbook is released, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this OS take the place of BB 6 OS in the not-so-distant future.

But, we will have to wait and see because “early 2011” is the only solid date we have, and no word as to how much the BlackBerry PlayBook will cost. From the looks of it, there will be two [storage] sizes, a 16GB and 32GB version. And BlackBerry has stated that 3G and 4G versions should be available in the future as well.

My opinion (that is, if you’re wondering) – I’m an app guy, and BlackBerry SERIOUSLY needs to step up its app game to get me excited enough to keep my BlackBerry smartphone AND possibly ditch my iPad for this new PlayBook. Speaking of which, during RIM’s Developer’s Conference (where they unveiled the PlayBook), they also unveiled their new WebWorks Software Development Kit (SDK) in hopes to woo developers back into making some good applications for the PlayBook and other BB mobile devices. So I will reserve judgment for when or if RIM can catch up with iOS (Apple) and Android in the mobile app wars.

What about you? Will you be bugging your company’s IT department about making the new BlackBerry PlayBook tablet available so you can do more Teleworking with your BlackBerry devices? Will you see the PlayBook as much needed companion to your BlackBerry smartphone and your busy, small business lifestyle? Will the PlayBook be a competitor to the iPad? Speak on it in the comments section…