During an Australian exclusive interview at Interop in Las Vegas, BlackBerry’s Jeff Holleran, the Senior Director of Enterprise Product Management, revealed that the recent expansion of the BlackBerry software to iOS and Android wasn't their end game.
Holleran reiterated BlackBerry's commitment to making its own hardware. In retaining a specialised hardware division, in addition to three divisions focussed on software, he told us "BlackBerry, as a name, is synonymous with its handsets."
For BlackBerry, this means they can meet the full needs of their customers. Holleran was at pains to remind us that BlackBerry, through its BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) has been delivering hat is now called MDM well before anyone else was doing so. Although it was best known for push email, the BES provides application delivery, VPN access and mobilised email. In Holleran's view, what we're seeing today are "new things, new words around the stuff the BES has been doing since the early days".
The advantage that BlackBerry can deliver is that they can deliver a full service according to Holleran.
"To provide that full end to end solution, you've got to have the full pipe. Everything from the device, secure manufacturing, putting credentials right on the device at the point of manufacture, all the way through the infrastructure, the connectivity and the behind-the-firewall control point to the enterprise".
Non-BlackBerry devices, such as the iPhone and Android devices get some of what is delivered through the scenario Holleran described although there are limitations such the installation of certificates at the point of manufacture. But the provision of the Secure Work Space for provisioning apps within a containerised environment and many of the other tools, such as the ability to clear enterprise data from personal devices without impacting personal information are part of the package. These are important considerations for any MDM platform in today's BYOD-rich world.
Over the last few years, the overwhelming focus of BYOD has been on smartphones and tablets, driven by the rapid uptake of Android and iOS. But Holleran told us that this isn’t the limit of BlackBerry's strategy. In the past, BlackBerry sold devices to the consumer market but the focus will be on governments and enterprise although he said, "the consumer stuff is never going to go away".
With devices being used for personal and business applications at the same time, Holleran noted that the recent addition of support for Android apps on BlackBerry devices helps them keep a foot in both camps now that we are in the era of corporate-owned, personally enabled (COPE) devices.
With BlackBerry's renewed focus on developing secure software solutions for multiple platforms, Holleran told us "we've designed BES 12 to manage any mobile end point. It just so happens that smartphones and tablets are the first end points that we're going to ship product for. We'll continue to evolve the platform for anything that is enterprise connected".
This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.