CAIRO: From email to banking services, everything has been made mobile. And with the rising popularity of Blackberrys, this trend is only going to grow.
Blackberry services were initially geared towards the top management of large corporations, who needed to be constantly hooked up to their work emails and company servers.
But as the market expands and demand grows, RIM (or Research in Motion) – the company behind Blackberry – is teaming up with Mobinil to make these services more accessible to Egypt’s widening market.
The new target: smaller enterprises with a limited budget to invest in premium mobility services.
On Monday, Mobinil and RIM introduced the Blackberry Enterprise Service (BES) Express, which mixes the more sophisticated BES with basic BB consumer services and makes it more affordable for smaller businesses.
One of the major differences between the services targeted towards larger corporations and the BES Express is that the user license and server software is free.
“It’s about making mobility possible for the SME [small and medium enterprise] sector, Ben Quirin, RIM sales director, told Daily News Egypt, a key segment of any emerging economy and one that is currently garnering a lot of attention locally.
“There’s a shift in the market as more consumers look to Blackberry, he added, and this “bundled solution looks to fill the gaps in the current offerings.
For Mobinil’s, this will mean a bigger share of the BB pie.
Karim Loza, head of enterprise marketing at Mobinil, told Daily News Egypt that “BB [enterprise] services appealed to larger accounts.because of its flexibility and security regarding push email. That market has been addressed.now it’s time to address SMEs.
Reaching the target market, however, may prove to be a challenging task, and so Mobinil is planning more direct, one-on-marketing campaigns to explain to SME management the cost benefits of incorporating these services into their daily operations.
“Research shows that people want to buy [their own BB] and bring it to work and have the same experience as the CEO, said RIM’s Adrian Kingenberg at the presentation.
The key here is that the level of stringent security that is available to BB users makes it possible for regular consumers to start using it for expanded access on their work networks without compromising the security.
This is a ripe opportunity to grow the market, said Quirin, and offer a “full rich mobile experience.
At the end of the 2010 fiscal year, RIM had 36 million subscribers, with net additions of around 4.4 million in quarter three alone. That number is expected to rise by mid-March to between 40-45 million, according to Quirin.
The BB Curve and Bold have been particularly successful in the local market and there has recently been an “uptake in pre-paid space.with a surge in the youth market driven by the popularity of BB Messenger, Quirin explained.
BB Enterprise services have highlighted the importance of mobility for business, and as Quirin said, “this is where everyone should be investing.how to do more with mobiles.
“Enterprise was our heritage, it’s where we started. [Today] there are lots of opportunities across the market.for senior, mid-level management and company staff, he said.
The return on investment has proven to be viable, he added, and so the market is demanding more from the mobile market.
All in the details
A shift has been taking place and now people bring in their personal smart phone and want full access to their work sphere, whereas before it was more likely that companies would dole out Blackberrys to select staff to ensure a specific level of access that does not compromise security.
This came at a hefty price, most of which went to acquiring the user license and the server software, which are free with BES Express.
BES Express creates a “tiers within offerings that enable clients to find an in-between, with core BES features and security plus the stability of the platform without investing in premium services, said Quirin.
Kingenberg took the floor to explain the details of the new service to potential clients, summing it up by saying it would be like having your work computer in your pocket at all times, and with an email management system similar to Outlook.
Some of the main features include access to data on corporate servers, much like accessing your work network through a VPN connection.
With BES Express, you can access your corporate email and manage folders like you would in Outlook, conduct a remote email search, have your global address book handy and sync emails as well as your calendar including notes and tasks.
You can also access documents in public folders on the corporate network to edit, attach to emails, download and save. This is in addition to basic SMS, MMS and BBM services as well as standard internet browsing.
“The server sits behind the network firewall so security is not compromised, he explained. “Also the server handles all the data processing so the device is just an access point, which means the battery life is not affected.
Out of the 450 IT policies available through BES, the Express option offers the 35 most commonly used so administrators can manage the features and functionality of the staff’s Blackberrys.