Catering exclusively for larger businesses are the other two announced email services: Blackberry Connect and Windows Mobile. The first centres around work carried out between Blackberry manufacturer RIM and Finnish giants Nokia to port the Blackberry’s famous software onto other devices. Essentially what this means is Blackberry like interfaces and features such as push email, attachment viewing and secure encryption are suddenly available to Nokia 6810, 6820, 6822, 9300 and 9500 owners, while VPx and Vodafone v1620 customers will also be able to capitalise on this development within the next couple of months.
All Blackberry Connect features and services can also be setup on handsets remotely, with bespoke levels of functionality per device. Again a firewall server is required which costs between £1,350 and £3,450, with client licences priced between £40 and £70 and it adds the same £32.90 to each employees monthly contract.
The last of the three is designed for businesses that use Windows Mobile devices and have a Microsoft Exchange 2003 server. In its early stages email will still be received with data charges, but this will move over to push early next year. Prices have yet to be revealed.
Rounding off the event was what I personally interpret as the pleasant version of a Big Brother future. ‘Vodafone Device Management’ is available to all Vodafone Business Email and Windows Mobile users and offers a quite staggering level of interactivity between customers and technical support staff.
From a single screen Vodafone will now be able to remotely configure, interrogate, diagnose, manage and maintain all smart devices connected to the company network. The service can lock and even wipe data for lost or stolen phones, view and adjust application settings and relay chat with users via SMS. Everything you could possibly imagine is now at the company’s fingertips (even phone battery life) should something go wrong, though all personal files, pictures and data are strictly inaccessible.
So it looks like mobile phones just took one heck of a leap forward. The BlackBerry Connect service is not exclusive to Vodafone, so we can expect to see it appearing with other operators soon, otherwise it looks like this network has taken a significant lead on its rivals…