People get excited by the “magic” of smartphones and tablets. Every party, conference, or event that I attend, there’s always someone showing me the new wallpaper they created for their BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet or the cool case they just bought for their BlackBerry® Curve™ smartphone. When RIM® launches a new device, there are events and guest appearances, and it’s a ton of fun. You can see the device, touch it, try it…and it’s all very exciting. But what I’m most passionate about is all of the stuff that’s invisible. I know it may not be as “sexy” as what’s on the outside, but it’s incredibly important – it’s the networks, software, tools, and other invisible components that make a product…productivity, and turning technology toys into useful tools.
With this in mind, I’m thrilled to be sharing details about the next evolution in managing and securing mobile devices – RIM’s new BlackBerry® Mobile Fusion! IT departments from thousands of organizations around the world have come to depend on the BlackBerry® Enterprise Server solution. Building on this rich heritage, today we are making available an initial release of BlackBerry Mobile Fusion. It’s another one of those behind-the-scenes, invisible pieces run by IT folks…but, it’s the first end-to-end Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution that is designed to manage BlackBerry PlayBook tablets, along with BlackBerry smartphones, and iOS and Android™-based devices in the near future.
BlackBerry Mobile Fusion should be thought of as an overarching framework that includes a number of components. In this initial launch, there are a few key components for IT managers to be aware of:
- BlackBerry Mobile Fusion Studio
- BlackBerry Enterprise Server
- BlackBerry Device Service
Manage Devices and Users In One Place
At the ‘top’, so to speak, is BlackBerry Mobile Fusion Studio. Essentially this is a web-based admin console designed to provide a single place for an IT staffer to manage devices, users, configurations, policies and more.
The interface can be used to access select features of BlackBerry Enterprise Server and BlackBerry® Enterprise Server Express (within multiple BlackBerry domains), as well as the new BlackBerry Device Services (which I’ll get to shortly). Essentially, this is your new one-stop shop.
Build On Your Current Environment
As mentioned, BlackBerry Mobile Fusion Studio integrates with BlackBerry Enterprise Server. Essentially there’s no change to this core product, but it’s important to understand how this technology fits into the big picture. Assuming that you’ve upgraded to BlackBerry Enterprise Server v5.0.3 (I hope you read my previous post and took advantage of the upgrade incentives!), you’ll continue to manage your current deployment of BlackBerry smartphones through the BlackBerry Enterprise Server with virtually no impact to the capabilities or functionalities that you’re accustomed to. What is new is that the BlackBerry Enterprise Server will ‘feed’ into BlackBerry Mobile Fusion to allow for greater overall management visibility and a single point of control. Through the unified administrative interface of BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, you’ll be able to access common management functions, creating a single place to perform the most common tasks to help you manage your deployments.
Configure Policies and Settings for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet
Also integrated into BlackBerry Mobile Fusion Studio is the new BlackBerry Device Service. Now this is where it gets really exciting! BlackBerry Device Service provides the management features that can allow organizations to manage the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.
We hear from our enterprise customers that chief amongst the myriad reasons for this hesitant state is the lack of security and difficulty managing tablets. BlackBerry Device Service is designed to enable organizations to address these very issues as a part of an overall device management strategy.
Using a USB connection and BlackBerry® Web Desktop Manager, a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet can be associated with an individual user. This allows you, the IT administrator to configure any BlackBerry PlayBook tablet for work purposes. After being enrolled in the work environment, you can configure all the key settings and IT policies for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet remotely.
And this is, of course, just the beginning…but what an exciting beginning it is! Over the coming weeks we’ll be digging into some of these components, interviewing various product experts, getting feedback from customers at BlackBerry Innovation Forum events, and sharing all of this with you through our various social channels – so stay tuned. Device management for Android™ and iOS devices is planned to be included in the full launch of BlackBerry Mobile Fusion.
Would your business benefit from a unified Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution that includes tablet management capabilities? Share in the comments below.