Research-In-Motion this morning announced BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, its first cross-platform device management system.
BlackBerry Mobile Fusion will enable system administrators to offer BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) capabilities that extend beyond RIM’s own BlackBerry family of devices, and allow employers to offer compatibility with their employee-owned devices.
As a result, existing fleets of BlackBerry devices can be managed alongside devices from employees that choose to opt-out of the BlackBerry OS.
Notably, the offering does not bring BlackBerry Messenger to these platforms, but will support remote administration, remote wipe, email, contacts, calendar, and application deployments.
In addition, Mobile Fusion will augment the existing BlackBerry management services with full support for the upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 upgrade. That upgrade will deliver dedicated and official BBM, native email, and native calendar clients to the PlayBook for the first time.
RIM has not released Mobile Fusion, and has not set pricing for the product. While this is a competitive marketplace already, RIM’s entrance into mobile device management beyond BlackBerry may help aide the company shake concerns that it cannot roll with the punches. Many companies depend on BlackBerry Email Services (BES), and CIOs nationwide have been contemplating a shift away from RIM, cold turkey.
By extending RIM’s secure platform beyond just BlackBerry OS devices, RIM will be able to help retain their existing BES customers, and prevent them from moving to open solutions, or Microsoft Exchange. Both alternatives support BYOD devices, and make a cold turkey solution attractive for companies facing disdain for BlackBerry’s current situation in the device world.
Mobile Fusion could also be seen as an important stop-gap between BlackBerry OS 7 and BBX. By acknowledging the lack of a stable monolithic platform with OS 7, Mobile Fusion buys RIM time to perfect BBX, without abandoning their existing customers. Even if initial BBX devices are a flop, Mobile Fusion will ensure customers remain with BES while RIM continues efforts to regain a stable device footing.