Canada-based smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd. said Monday that it was releasing a cloud version of its mobile security software. The release marks BlackBerry's latest move to win business from its traditional government and business customers.
BlackBerry designed the software, BES12, to work across mobile operating platforms to help it generate sales. The company's share of the smartphone market has fallen to less than 1 percent. The mobile-device management software, which was released last November, allows companies to securely manage employee BlackBerry devices, iPhones and Android-powered devices among others used on corporate networks.
Aimed at Small Companies
With the cloud version of BES12, BlackBerry hopes to woo small and mid-size companies that do not have the resources to install BES12 on site, by making the software available online. BlackBerry also expects the new product to appeal to divisions and subsidiaries of larger enterprise customers.
"BlackBerry always commits to deliver secure and innovative products to help our customers drive productivity and efficiency in their organizations, while reducing costs," said Billy Ho, executive vice president for Enterprise Products and Value Added Solutions at BlackBerry. "Close relationships with our customers and partners is why we have announced our commitment to delivering a new BES12 Cloud solution later this month and delivered enhancements to BES12 and BBM Meetings today, continuing the expansion and evolution of our offering."
According to BlackBerry, BES12 Cloud provides all the core functionality of the on-premise design of BES12, but with greater ease of use. The BES12 platform is a cross-platform enterprise mobile management solution that sits at the center of a secure ecosystem extending beyond EMM to communications, collaboration, and identity and access management. BES12 Cloud as a cloud subscription, which includes tech support, can be purchased and set up online.
BES12 Cloud will be released later this month. BlackBerry also said that new enhancements to BES12 on-premise are now available. Key features and benefits of BES12 version 12.1 include BBM Meetings, a multi-OS mobile first voice and video conferencing solution that lets users schedule, join or instantly start meetings when they're on the go.
New enhancements for BBM Meetings include a Microsoft Outlook plug-in that enables customers to directly schedule and start a BBM Meeting from the Microsoft Outlook client. This allows users to use BBM Meetings with equal ease from a Windows desktop or a mobile device. Additional enhancements to BBM Meetings include automatic scaling for shared screen viewing, enhanced in-meeting privacy controls for participants, and streamlined audio prompts when joining by phone dial-in.
Another enhancement announced today is BBM Protected, which provides enterprise-grade encryption for BBM messages between iPhone, Android and BlackBerry smartphones. The enhancement extends the security of BBM Protected conversations to non-BBM Protected users. Now all conversations initiated by a BBM Protected user can be secured, whether or not the other person is a BBM Protected user. Once the BBM Protected connection is established with the non-BBM Protected user, either user can initiate a secure chat environment.
BlackBerry is counting on BES12 sales to double its software sales next fiscal year to $500 million.