Business Technology

MWC 2015: BlackBerry's new cross-platform BES12 Cloud to manage mobility for SMEs

3 min read

02 March 2015

Former deputy editor

BlackBerry went back to its business-facing roots over the past year, and its latest innovation for companies comes in the form of a cross-platform enterprise mobility management cloud for SMEs across iOS, Android, Windows Phones and BlackBerry 10.

A few years ago, BlackBerry was a widely popular smartphone brand globally. Consumers worldwide followed in the footsteps of businesses to adopt the devices, but from late 2011, a string of service outages, lacklustre devices and the rise of WhatsApp meant both corporate and casual users looked elsewhere – mainly to Apple and Samsung.

Even the hire of singer Alicia Keys as creative chief did little for the company, and the Grammy Award winner left her post a year after it was created.

At the end of 2013, the company changed tact and new CEO John Chen was appointed to turn the company’s fortunes around with a focus on its roots – enterprise.

As Mobile World Congress 2015 is underway, BlackBerry has started its time at the Barcelona technology trade show off by revealing a cross-platform enterprise mobility management cloud for SMEs, called BES12 Cloud.

The technology will run across smartphones and tablets powered by iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10, and also devices using Samsung Knox and Android for Work.

BlackBerry claims BES12 Cloud’s purchase process only takes minutes, with monthly subscriptions including technical support. The idea is to support businesses’ management of mobile devices by protecting data and facilitating employee productivity, and it added the simple design makes it easy for SMEs to adopt.

Indeed, Dragons’ Den’s Piers Linney, owner of cloud firm Outsourcery, spoke to Real Business in February about the importance of businesses harnessing the cloud, having said: “There is absolutely no reason for a company of almost any size to own loads of infrastructure. You might need a tablet and smartphones, but there’s no need to use a data centre where someone is looking after your servers for you. 

“What kills small companies is cash flow and starvation of working capital – infrastructure, including office space, is a fixed cost, so the more you can remove fixed cost from any business, especially small businesses, will reduce risk.”

The firm hopes its new software development will bring in business users because it offers flexibility of mobile options, using an online browser interface and without the need for installation of servers.

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Billy Ho, executive VP, enterprise products and value added solutions, BlackBerry, said: “BlackBerry always commits to deliver secure and innovative products to help our customers drive productivity and efficiency in their organisations, while reducing costs.

“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.”

BES12 Cloud is available in closed beta now, and will launch globally through BlackBerry directly as well as via partners.