Business phones

RIM – what is there to say?

RIM is being sold to one of its existing shareholders who will take it private and in theory reshape the business away from the public glare. The same is happening, or trying to happen, at Dell. Nokia is being bought by Microsoft. All three brands may well fade away into the distance.

Shed no tears. Shit happens. Move on. We live in a very fluid world where aside from technological advances that can in theory be forecast because of historical trends – Moores Law etc – nobody can really predict the future. It takes remarkable vision to be able to move with the times, especially if you are a huge company – it’s like trying to do a handbrake turn with an oil tanker.

I remember when I worked for Mitel I was in  pub in Kanata and one of the Execs had a Blackberry that he was constantly referring to – a bit like how I am these days with my droid. What went through my mind was “hmm I need one of those”. It was more of a status symbol thing than me wanting to be able to read my emails when in the pub.

Timico gave me a Blackberry in the early days. It didn’t last long. Devices like the Nokia E65 and E71 soon overshadowed it. The E71 was a good phone. Not as good as my SGS4, or the S3 or the S2. It’s all progress innit?

I used to think that the future was all about phones replacing PCs. PCs sales are in decline. Phones and tablets on the up. Maybe I was right. Easy really. However in trying to decide where on earth this thought process (and thus the blog post) is going I’ve realised that phones are probably not the way forward either, at least in the form factor we see today.

The screen on my SGS4 is cracked – happened when it was in my pocket. The casing is chipped and dented – it isn’t an old phone, just not a very robust one. I occasionally leave it places and have to go back looking for it. It has to have access security to stop others using it when they shouldn’t and to protect my personal data.

Surely this is a form of device ripe for obsolescence. Although I poo poo’d the Samsung Gear smart watch maybe that is the form factor that will be where all the action is in future. It won’t be long before technology is such that we will have better processing power in the watch than we have in the handset today. If we want to type we should be able to dig out cheap portable screens/keyboards that hook up with the watch. These could even be disposable or so cheap that they are everywhere and you just have to pick one up and hook your phone.

A phone is less likely to be left somewhere and won’t suffer the same knocks as a handset.

There you go. Maybe people running big brands just need to get back to the basics of what influences people to buy something. Play in the forecastable tech developments and hey presto, you are still in business. Not as easy as that I know but it’s all that’s on offer this morning:)


End User phones

Importance of good web design – effect on a sales campaign

BlackBerry,technical,support,contract,UK,TimicoInteresting to see the importance of good web design in action. We have been running a campaign to sell BlackBerry Technical support. Despite not being trendy anymore many businesses out there use BlackBerry and we sell support.

Initially we were seeing quite a bit of interest but not seeing page views convert to new business. The old landing page was too much like a brochure with not enough “call to action”.

This was changed and we have immediately seen a substantial increase in business taken via the web. Over time we are going to systematically evolve our whole web strategy taking on board lessons learnt.

Business voip hardware

Ideal mobile VoIP client runs on a Blackberry

  1. Runs on a Blackberry. In my experience Microsoft push email isn’t reliable enough and I am seriously thinking of changing back to RIM
  2. Can call using any available network – wifi, GSM or 3G – deally can detect least cost route or allow you to set preferred network connection
  3. Has the same inbound number as my work desktop phone so I can seamlessly take the same calls wherever I am – this realistically has to be a fixed line number as you have to be a mobile operator to do it otherwise.
  4. Detects the presence status of my friends and allows me to send Instant Messages to any network.
  5. Active directory lookup for corporate users to avoid having to store all the numbers locally.
  6. High definition voice codec available for use on wide bandwidth connections (ie wifi)
  7. High quality speakerphone.
  8. Multiple VoIP subscriptions so that I can have both work and personal services on the same device.
  9. Front and back facing video (I’m not sure whether I’m kidding myself here!)
  10. All the usual touchscreen/music/GPS/integration with Twitter/Facebook and other social networking websites gadgetty stuff.
  11. Unlimited battery life (hey – I did say ideal mobile VoIP client 🙂 )

If anyone wants to add to this list feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment.

Business mobile connectivity

Blackberry service experiencing technical difficulties

Hot off the press is an alert from RIM saying their Blackberry service BIS/BES is experiencing difficulties.  According to RIM this means that

Customers may not receive new service books
Connect clients and BB enabled devices that require a new PIN may be unable to receive the pin
customers may experience delays in receiving messages and may get an ‘x’ when sending
customers may be unable to register their device i.e. Register Now
customers may not be able to roam in another location
customers may not be able to use internet browsing
Enterprise customers may be unable to connect to the BB network
customers may not be able to access their internet mailbox, integrate their account or view email attachments.

This is a fairly rare occurrence – unofficial poll around the office suggests once a year – but when it does happen it affects a lot of people. The alternative is to use your own push email but in my experience that is actually less reliable.

All I can say is that businesses need to work with providers that offer support at times like this.  There is nothing worse than having a service that doesn’t work and then being kept in the dark as to why this is happening.

For those who don’t already know BIS = Blackberry Internet Service, BES = Blackberry Enterprise Service.

Business mobile connectivity security

Blackberry gets huge endorsment by Barack Obama

In the news is the fact that US President-elect Barack Obama wants to keep his Blackberry when he becomes president. This must be worth a fortune in advertising to Blackberry manufacturer RIM and indeed their share price seems to have risen quite healthily this week.

The secret service is of course concerned about the Presidential  email security and I will happily leave it to both parties to argue it out. What is of interest is why the Blackberry? Why not an alternative email device such as a PDA or Nokia Smartphone.

I used to have a Blackberry but moved onto Nokia, primarily because the Nokia E-Series had a SIP Stack that would allow me to play with VoIP on mobiles. The Nokia’s were more of a phone as well rather than a clunky data device.

The Blackberry has  moved on since then and a quick survey of the Tech Support team suggests that it now has the edge in terms of features and ease of use. There is now even  a Facebook plug-in for blackberry.

Certainly from a commercial perspective the mobile operators are doing a very good job at incentivising service providers to sell Blackberry as opposed to alternative mobile email solutions. 

What is really exciting is the pace of development in the mobile handset world. Competition is really working here driving features up and pricing down.

RIM 5 day stock performance courtesy of Yahoo Finance
RIM 5 day stock performance courtesy of Yahoo Finance