Mobile Fusion will allow 10,000 mobile devices to be controlled from a single control console, can handle multiple devices per user, and can manage iOS, Android, and QNX devices in addition to current BlackBerry devices.
Perhaps most interesting was their positive embrace of the consumerization of mobile devices in the enterprise. In the past consumerization has been seen as the enemy of the BlackBerry ecosystem, as employees demanded they be allowed to use one device for both work and personal activities. Businesses that resisted this effort tended to have employees that carried BlackBerries for work but iPhones/Android devices for themselves.
With Mobile Fusion RIM is openly embracing this trend – being able to access confidential work data and post to your Facebook friends from the same phone has proved to be something of a nightmare for the IT departments of large companies, but Mobile Fusion makes provisioning and security of company data easy, without restricting the use of personal apps.
Alan Panezic, VP of Software Management explained over the webcast that RIM’s intention is to “delight both end users & CIOs”. RIM feels their ability to make security and governance easier (and less expensive) while also staying out of the way of personal use will become increasingly important as ever greater portions of the workforce are “digital natives”, employees that grew up accepting information revolution and mobile access to it as normal. They built similar abilities into BlackBerry Balance, which is available on BB7 devices, and on the PlayBook after it's Q1 OS update.
This feels like the first solid evidence that RIM truly understands where the business market is heading. Whether this translates into the first QNX-based phones that will be released sometime in 2012 remains to be seen, but for BlackBerry fans it has to be nice to see RIM embracing these trends rather than trying to hide from them.
One final tidbit – The term “BBX” was nowhere to be heard in the webcast, while “QNX” was used several times. Obviously that may not mean much, but VP’s are usually careful with branding; could RIM be reconsidering their use of BBX after the legal problems they ran into with it? Time will tell.