One of the main selling points for BlackBerry in the enterprise has been BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server). BES allowed administrators manage the entire company’s pool of BlackBerry devices through one central panel. Ahead of the official launch of the BlackBerry 10 in a week, RIM has taken the wraps off the next version of BES, BES 10 which includes continued support for Android and iOS devices.
While RIM is still fighting for its corporate life, and all bets are on the BlackBerry 10 as part of that plan, one of the core components of the BlackBerry ecosystems has been updated for the new devices and with new features.
RIM announced BES 10 with a standard press release, but also a couple blog posts and a video demo:
- A cost-efficient, secure, reliable, and scalable solution, BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 offers a robust feature set to help you get your employees up and running on their, or your, devices. Here are some of the new features, and there’s much more.
- Manage all BlackBerry, iOS, and Android devices, including the new BlackBerry 10 smartphones
- Application management for internal corporate apps or public apps from BlackBerry World (formerly BlackBerry App World) through BlackBerry World for Work
- Easy over-the-air activation for end users
- Enhanced IT policies
The key feature I think, and essential to the BYOD trend, is that BES can manage Android and iOS devices along side BlackBerrys. The PDF data sheet from RIM on BES 10 lists everything from controlling the browser to camera to cloud connections to (of course) social media. Reading the PDF you might think that admins are out to get iOS (the Android list of things that can be managed is a quarter as long as the iOS one), but I take this to mean that iOS could be better suited to a business environment if for no other reason because devices can be locked down (through BES or other admin tools).
How companies react to BES or if they will upgrade in droves will remain to be seen. Likewise, I wonder if RIM will reach out to non-BES/BlackBerry companies who have mostly iOS devices as an option to manage those devices through BES 10.