The company formerly known as Research in Motion (RIM), now known as BlackBerry after its core product, will be taking the unusual move of releasing one of its best-selling proprietary software suites, Secure Work Space for enterprises, on the Apple iOS and Google Android platforms.
Secure Work Space is a popular app for business people who have a phone that shares double-duty as a personal and work device (not unusual today). It allows those phones to be separated, virtually, to securely keep work and personal data apart.
SWS for the new platforms is inclosed beta and BlackBerry promises a public release of the new version of the app, including iOS and Android, before the third quarter of the year. It will be part of a multi-platform solution managed through BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10, the latest version of the Canadian company’s best-selling software suite.
The idea is to integrate the other popular smart phone platforms into the suite to keep it competitive and allow enterprises with multiple platforms in their userbase to keep a complete security suite that is all-inclusive. BES10 launched in January and will be updated with the Android/iOS release.
BlackBerry’s thoughts here are on time and ahead of the curve. Most competing security suites do not include all devices (usually just iPhone or Android, but never all three to include BlackBerry). In today’s bring-your-own-device (BYOD) workplace, that isn’t going to cut it any longer. Inclusiveness is the way of tomorrow.
The days of business people carrying two or even three smart phones are disappearing. Today, they don’t want the encumbrance and are more likely to want a smart phone and tablet rather than two phones – if they want two devices at all.
BlackBerry’s solution is to integrate all three popular platforms into one service via their already-popular BlackBerry Enterprise Service suite. This also means that employers and IT departments don’t need to attempt to configure or manage expensive VPN infrastructures to keep devices separated from critical data when not on a secure network.
On the other hand, of course, adding these other two platforms means that BlackBerry is (finally?) conceding that it’s no longer the dominant business phone of choice. With the recent remarks and announcements from the former Canadian giant, though, it’s not surprising to see. Their core devices (BlackBerry phones) have been losing share for some time and the release of their latest has so far failed to remedy that.
Talk of licensing and even completely dumping proprietary phones has been circulating as the company renamed itself to re-focus on total enterprise management offerings.