Ricoh Canada Inc., a subsidiary of Ricoh Americas Corporation, is a document management and services provider with over 2,000 employees. A significant part of Ricoh’s business involves IT services, in which they support 45 locations across Canada providing infrastructure support for mobility, hardware and software, and management of BlackBerry smartphones.
Being involved in IT, having a history of partnering with BlackBerry, and having just developed a field services app, Ricoh spent some time considering BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10. We caught up with Andy Ambrozic, Ricoh Canada’s Director of Infrastructure and Operations, to get his thoughts:
Hi Andy, thanks for joining us. We hear that you’re a big fan of all-touch devices. How you think the BlackBerry 10 touch screen and other features stack up?
Ambrozic: I loved the touch screen on the BlackBerry 10 device. It’s fluid to use and the predictive typing is really good. After a while you feel like it’s adapting to you and thinking for you. The device has a totally different look and feel, with some excellent advances. The size is just right as well. The larger screen is easier to use for viewing different kinds of media.
The BlackBerry Hub experience is also very good. I call it “sneak peeks” because if you’re in one screen and you’re watching a video, you can swipe slowly and get a quick look at new messages or social media updates on the BlackBerry Hub screen. It’s a true multitasking experience.
How do you think BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 supports both user and corporate needs?
The BlackBerry Balance technology that’s a part of BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 has the potential to be huge. Full work and personal separation on BlackBerry smartphones will make it easier for our users, but also much easier for IT administrators.
We’re also in the midst of finalizing a BYOD policy. A big issue for our users and our organization is we want to be sure personal data is kept separate from work information. Data integrity has always been paramount for Ricoh IT, so the ability to achieve that is a tremendous plus for the BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 platform. BlackBerry Balance enables that separation so seamlessly.
How much has using BlackBerry solutions benefitted Ricoh Canada so far and where are you planning to go with your deployment now that you have BlackBerry 10?
There are a lot of benefits that come to mind as I look back over the past 10+ years of using BlackBerry solutions. There’s peace of mind with the security. The devices have always had a high degree of ruggedness and reliability. But mostly I look at how far we’ve evolved from paging devices to email to app driven devices. In recent times, BlackBerry smartphones have pointed to the need to develop apps that help extend our internal processes out to the field.
We’ve just developed our own Field Service Automation app on existing BlackBerry smartphones. We’ve tried it on BlackBerry 10 devices and it worked really well. We definitely plan to deploy our app on the new devices. The app gives our field technicians the ability to manage the entire service call from their devices – from dispatch information to GPS navigation, inventory, time spent on a job and so on. All the job information is then sent back to our ERP system so we have an up-to-date record of the entire service call.
How inspired are you to develop apps for BlackBerry 10 devices?
BlackBerry 10 opens up all sorts of possibilities. If you look at the design, the speed, web and browser evolution, the engine and the application development language, I think it’s going to be a lot easier to build and port apps with BlackBerry 10. We’re now looking at developing a number of apps for our mobile users. For example, we may add a bar code reader to our Field Service Automation app on BlackBerry 10 devices so our technicians can read part numbers without having to input them by hand.
Does your business have a BlackBerry app that you’re planning to migrate to the BlackBerry 10 platform? Share in the comments below.