BlackBerry and ActiveSync

by Volker Weber

Today, I learned a lot about future BlackBerrys. Starting with PlayBook 2 and then BBX devices, they will use ActiveSync to talk to enterprise servers. If you are an IBM customer, now is the time to start talking about full ActiveSync support. Not just the "make iPhones work" variant in Lotus Traveler.

You have four months.


Agreed. Things would be a *lot* easier for customers, partners and even IBM if Activesync support was just accepted.

Paul Mooney, 2011-11-30

What's the company line again? Oh yes; "we'll wait and see what the market does".


Colin Williams, 2011-11-30

I don't disagree but I wouldn't base any decision on what RIM is doing.....otherwise you'd also be sucking the wrong end of a firearm that has a chimpanzee on the trigger.

And they are releasing new devices? How overly optimistic of them ;)

Darren Duke, 2011-11-30

We haven't listened to any customer demand for that.

Oh, sorry! I meant, we haven't HEARD any customer demand for that.

Craig Wiseman, 2011-11-30

Ob das eine gute Idee ist? Für mich war dieser Blackberry-Tunnel immer ein Kaufargument, unabhängig davon, dass er jetzt mal 3 Tage ausfiel.

Das transparente Umschalten zwischen 3G und Wifi, Queueing, eingebautes VPN funktioniert "managergerecht" ohne Benutzerintervention. Auf meinem iPad poppt auf einer Zugfahrt (beim PDF lesen...) permanent das Fenster "Mobiles Datennetzwerk konnte nicht aktiviert werden" (missverständlich, sollte heissen: "Swisscom hat es immer noch nicht geschafft, auf der meistbefahrensten Strecke Bern-Zürich Sendemasten aufzustellen"). In einem Wifi, dass eine IPSEC-Verbindung will, wird die nicht automatisch aufgebaut, und man hat den Eindruck dass die Datenverbindung hängt, etc. Natürlich ist das unabhängig von ActiveSync, aber nach den Erfahrungen mit RIM und seinen unvollständigen Umsetzungen in der letzten Zeit fehlt mir da doch der Glaube.

Kurz, wenn ich diese Experience auch auf dem BBX habe, kann ich gleich modegerecht auf ein iPhone wechseln.

Peter Daum, 2011-11-30

This is not a Windows phone x demand issue. It's an activesync issue. If Traveler simply supported Activesync in it's true form we would not have to wait or worry about new devices and software (or at least not as much). I am a huge fan of Traveler, but we could be a lot less restrictive on models/versions if ActiveSync was the standard tool for communication rather than the exception..

Paul Mooney, 2011-11-30

Where did you hear this, what about BES???

David Guillaume, 2011-11-30

At the BlackBerry Innovation Forum.

BES is going to continue for traditional BlackBerrys. BBX and PlayBook 2 are going to be different.

Volker Weber, 2011-11-30

Interesting, so the BBX Devices will be a bunch of me too devices ? In my mind the all BES, RIM Cloud thing is the real differenciator for RIM, enabling them to provide very unique data plans, on top of the all security / management features. From what you are saying the BBX device will use an architecture very similar to Androids or other Smartphones.

Will the traditional Blackberrys continue going forward as well ? Two lane highway ?

Joel Demay, 2011-11-30

Joel, care to read my last comment right next to yours? That should answer your question regarding traditional BlackBerrys.

RIM does not say they are abandoning the RIM Cloud. What they are saying is that BBX will talk ActiveSync. It may come as a surprise, but ActiveSync has won years ago.

Volker Weber, 2011-11-30

Die interessante Frage die sich für mich aus all den Ankündigungen zu BBX und Fusion ergibt: Ist es für Unternehmen heute überhaupt noch sinnvoll im großen Stil in Geräte mit OS7 oder gar OS6 (Bold 9780 etc.) zu investieren? Der Lebenszyklus neuer Geräte ist ja min. mit zwei Jahren anzusetzen...

Peter Meuser, 2011-12-01

Wenn man darüber nachdenkt, drängt sich unweigerlich auch gleich die nächste Frage auf: Warum sollte man heute in ein erfolgloses Playbook ohne App-Support investieren, wenn man stattdessen mit dem iPad ein Endgerät mit breitem App-Support haben kann, dass RIM künftig auch in seine Enterprise-Verwaltung integrieren will...

Peter Meuser, 2011-12-01

Regarding the 2 lane highway comment, the bigger issue for BBX success will be the cost (to developers) of building for the BBX apps ecosystem. Developers won't want to build for both BBOS and BBX (just as they won't develop both Symbian and Windows 7 or 8 for Nokia devices). How well RIM navigates this issue will dictate how the company will eventually succeed in market. Last time I checked, the Playbook app store choice is very underwhelming, unless you happen to like Canadian news and weather apps. The jury is still out on the Android compatibility mode.

Rob Ingram, 2011-12-01

Thanks, Rob.

Care to explain what Your progress on ActiveSync is? You can trust nobody likes to develop for ActiveSync and Traveler. Last time I looked 3rd party support for Traveler was non-existent.

Volker Weber, 2011-12-01

Hi Volker.

All we can say now is that this is under consideration but, unfortunately, there nothing more specific we can say right now. Here are some other points to expand on the issues further.

To address Paul's point, its never turns out to be quite as easy as meets the eye to say just 'simply support ActiveSync'. For example, consider all the versions of ActiveSync and features available across many devices in this public table. This sort of complexity forces us to make some choices and priorities:-

Additionally, IBM is always focused on going the extra distance to make sure our mobile solutions are hardened and secure. This becomes a challenge on devices where we and our customers don't totally control things. For example, we consider what sort of expectations our customers have for security that may no longer be achievable once we allow secure Notes data onto less secure unencrypted devices that readily can potentially be jailbroken? How would users connect securely on a particular device to their enterprise network? All of this needs to be considered as part of the solution when moving sensitive enterprise data around the mobile internet.

Rob Ingram, 2011-12-02

It's not necessarily easy. But your competition seems to be able to do it, while you are not.

You are supporting the iPhone, which can easily be jailbroken. You are not supporting the Lumia 800, which cannot. How does that fit your argument?

Volker Weber, 2011-12-02

To clarify the key security issue here. Windows Phone 7 (even Mango ) has no data encryption on the device, even when not jailbroken. That's a legitimate risk that enterprise customers need to be aware of.

Why not put the question to Microsft on when this major limitation will be fixed in the Win Phone OS?

Rob Ingram, 2011-12-02

I appreciate your concern about data security. However, if you take that as a reason to bury your head in the sand, it spells real trouble for Lotus. The industry has standardized on ActiveSync. Everybody makes sure they support ActiveSync. Device makers, software vendors, you name them. Even RIM has heard the call. Do you want to go it all alone?

Volker Weber, 2011-12-02

Rob, regarding the jailbreak issue and encryption issue on WP7. Surely you should support activesync on the device, and leave the risk with the customer to choose to go with a less secure device if they wish?

In other words, support it, support activesync on it, but when activating one of these devices ensure that the code sends warning messages to admins spelling out that it is unencrypted.

Alternatively, support it, and let IT department choose to enable support via policy in lotustraveler.nsf

Saying no to the consumer-business just doesn't work.

Paul Mooney, 2011-12-02

As stated earlier, I don't really have anything more I can comment on in this blog forum. Points all noted - really! - and also thanks for bringing the BBX angle to the fore.

Rob Ingram, 2011-12-02

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