In a major step toward its launch of the new BlackBerry 10 platform next week, Research In Motion made available on Wednesday its new Enterprise Service 10 for download. The Waterloo, Ontario-based company said the new release "reinvents" its Enterprise Mobility Management by combining device management, security and mobile applications management.
Peter Devenyi, senior vice president of Enterprise Software at RIM, said in a statement that Enterprise Service 10 "provides business and IT leaders with the confidence that corporate data is protected and manageable in the same way they have long enjoyed with BlackBerry." A key factor in determining whether the new BB10 is successful is whether it adequately addresses the corporate security issues that IT departments are facing.
The updated product, which retires RIM's Mobile Fusion device management product, supports both company-provided and "bring your own device" personal phones, including not only BlackBerry handsets but those using Apple's iOS and Google's Android.
Balance, World for Work
A key question is whether the new Enterprise Service will sufficiently appeal to those companies that are committed to supporting a variety of mobile platforms in their workforce. RIM has said that such single-point management of heterogeneous environments was the top request they've heard from enterprises.
A unified, Web-based administration console is available for managing devices and users, including remote wipe and lock, pushing updates over the air, and granular user identity controls. It also supports BlackBerry Balance technology, which provides a secure separation between personal and company data/apps, and it supports secure access to data and content between a corporate firewall.
The new BlackBerry World for Work offers a corporate app storefront for administrators to publish BB10 apps that have been recommended for employees, and to install mandatory apps, for both company-owned and authorized personal devices. Balance and World for Work only work on BB10 devices, however.
Work profiles can be managed hierarchically with integration into Active Directory, administrative roles can be customized on a granular level, and there is a self-service console for employees to enroll, as well as a centralized control of assignable profiles for e-mail, SCEP, Wi-Fi, VPN and proxy servers.
The BlackBerry 10 Readiness Program has already enlisted about 1,600 enterprise and governmental customers, and RIM said that Service 10 has received the highest test scores it has ever registered in a beta period.
But all of this back-end management is an appetizer for the main course -- the BB10 devices themselves. Service 10 can make the IT department happy, but it's the employees who will have the final vote on whether they want BB10 smartphones or prefer to go/stay with iPhones, Androids, Windows Phone and other devices.
The company not only has everything riding on next week's multi-city launch, but its CEO, Thorsten Heins, is not being shy about their ambitions. He recently told a German newspaper that, once the potential of the new BB10 platform has been demonstrated, RIM might consider licensing the OS for other handset makers' devices, as Microsoft does for Windows Phone. A potential licensing market, Heins noted, is not just for other makers' smartphones, but for connected cars.