Research In Motion (RIM) has recently announced BlackBerry Business Cloud Services for Microsoft Office 365 – a new RIM-hosted online service for midsized businesses and enterprises that extends Microsoft Exchange Online to BlackBerry smartphones. This new system will allow organizations to self-manage their BlackBerry deployments in the cloud. An open beta for the service has been launched in over 30 countries.
“BlackBerry Business Cloud Services is an easy and cost-effective way for businesses and government agencies to extend Microsoft Office 365 to BlackBerry smartphones and manage the deployment in the cloud,” said Alan Panezic, Vice President at Research In Motion. “We have been working together with Microsoft and select customers through an early access program and we are pleased to now launch an open beta for the service.”
Taking on a new role
“BlackBerry Business Cloud Services will help accelerate how BlackBerry customers can realize the full benefits of the best productivity experience across the PC, browser and phone with Microsoft Office 365,” said Julia White, Senior Director of Microsoft’s Exchange Product Management Group. “This new service delivers valuable enhancements to Office 365 while preserving the cost and business agility benefits the cloud offers to organizations of all sizes.”
The system’s key features include:
- Access to Microsoft Exchange Online email, calendar and organizer data from a BlackBerry smartphone
- BlackBerry Balance technology, which is designed to offer users a unified view of work and personal content on their BlackBerry smartphone while keeping the content separate and secure
- A web-based console for IT administrators to provision, manage and secure BlackBerry smartphones from anywhere
- Online access to employee self-service smartphone security functions, allowing users to reset a device password or remotely lock or wipe a device in the event of loss or theft
- Managed service providers, systems integrators, carriers, resellers and other partners can also use the cloud service to manage BlackBerry deployments on behalf of their customers.
A number of Fortune 500 customers and several government agencies in the US participated in an early access program and are among the many organizations that already plan to use the service.
Microsoft Office 365 customers can sign up for the BlackBerry Business Cloud Services beta at www.blackberry.com/beta/businesscloud. The cloud-based service is available for no additional charge to Microsoft Office 365 Midsized Businesses and Enterprises plan subscribers and works with BlackBerry smartphones on business or consumer data plans.