The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend played a large role in eroding RIM's (RIMM) market share.The way in which RIM has addressed the BYOD trend with BB10 OS is exactly how they will win back market share.
Let's assume for a moment that RIM has addressed with BB10 all of the shortcomings that led to it's demise:
- Apps- Launching with over 150,0000- Check
- Web Browsing experience- BB10 Launches with the Best in Class web browser -- faster than most desktop PC's- Check
- Hardware- BB10 will launch with both a full touch and a Qwerty version. They have innovated with"flick" intuitive technology that will make this typing experience Best in Class- Check
- Innovation- There are several aspects of BB10 OS that are very innovative and create a whole new user experience--one that has the efficient Corporate world in mind while at the same time addressing the "hyper connected" younger crowd. Features like Flow, Peek and Hub along with the Time Warp camera are very innovative and were designed after giving much thought to what the world wants to see in a smartphone--and to where the world is going with smartphone computing. Check
The BYOD trend is definitely taking foot all over North America. IT managers crumbled to the demands of employees who wanted "cool" phones -- and they left RIM in droves. More security conscious firms and governments have remained but that to is becoming a risk.
When RIM was developing the BB10 OS they took a good hard look at this trend and in my mind have come up with the perfect answer.
Enter BlackBerry Balance
The BlackBerry Balance (see video in link) feature on the new BB10 has been reported on by several analysts and tech sites as a godsend from an IT security perspective as a solution to the BYOD trend.
I would agree that any vorporate IT security would love these features on a phone:
- The ability to have (2) two separate profiles on a phone. One for work and one for personal.
- A separate app world for the work profile for IT managers to force down apps or have "pre-approved" apps available for down load.
- The ability for both profiles to be fully secured and encrypted.
- The ability to remotely wipe the Work profile without touching the personal side when an employee leaves the company.
- The built in security features which prevent an employee from copying work data into a personal file/email.
- The built in security features that prevent 3rd party apps downloaded on the personal profile from integrating with the work profile
So,all fine and dandy if you are an IT/corporate manager looking for security in the BYOD rush -- but those aren't the only ones with a say in which phones get purchased. Some companies have a list of "approved" devices for BYOD to at least minimize the management headaches associated with multiple platforms. At the end of the day, it's the individual consumer who makes the BYOD purchase decision.
What does BB10 and Balance offer the "joe average" consumer?
- If an employee chooses a phone with BB10 OS they have a phone that has the same (if not better) "bells and whistles" that Google's (GOOG) and Apple's (AAPL) iOS currently offer.
- With BB10 they have a phone that can be used as a Work Tool but at the same time has all of the functionality of a "Play or Personal phone".
- With BB10 an employee has the built in functionality that allows them to "shut off" the work profile after hours or on weekends when they don't want to be bothered by the emails and texts associated with a "Work Phone" or they can choose to have the "Unified" inbox to keep abreast of both personal and work communications --the flexibility is unlimited.
- Most importantly, by choosing a BB10 phone with the Blackberry Balance feature an employee can be secure in the knowledge that their personal profile is free from the prying eyes of their employer. They do not have to be concerned with what apps they have downloaded, what web sites they visit or what they say when sending an email or a text.
It's a win / win and a very "balanced" approach to the BYOD trend. Companies get the security they so covet and employees get the same security and "personal space" that is currently lacking in the BYOD trend.
The analysts and bloggers have always tended to look at the Balance feature from just the corporate view, however, I think we are missing the point if we don't look at it from the consumer/employee side.
Personal privacy can and will play a big role in consumer decisions for which smartphone to chose in the context of a BYOD purchase.
That option was never part of the decision making process in the past because that feature did not exist in a competitive smartphone.
With BB10 that option is now available and no other OS (Android/Windows or iOS) has that ability -- it simply cannot be done with their current architecture/OS.
Disclosure: I am long RIMM.