Research In Motion announced that its BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0, designed to increase IT administrators' ability to handle an increasingly mobile enterprise work force, is now available. Apple, Microsoft and other IT companies have been competing with greater strength in the mobile marketplace, prompting RIM to unveil a new line of solutions that increase the functionality of its BlackBerry line.
announced on May 4 that its BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 is
now generally available. The server, which provides a central link between the
company's BlackBerry smartphones and enterprise systems, includes several IT
administrator features designed to make enterprise mobility computing more
flexible and robust.
The announcement was made at RIM's eighth annual Wireless Enterprise
Symposium in Orlando, Fla.
The server integrates with IBM Lotus
Domino, Microsoft Exchange and Novell GroupWise, and has been designed with an
eye toward improved security for e-mail, organizer data, instant messaging and
Code-named Argon, the BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 was originally
unveiled in a presentation in New York
on Feb. 11. Upgraded from Version 4.1.6, the server had been running in
production mode at RIM for over two years and had been in the hands of early
adopter users for around a year.
a demo during the presentation
, RIM showed how the Web-based administrative
interface made IT management processes more rapid and flexible, giving
administrators a Web-based interface and users the ability to view e-mail
attachments and manage, add, rename and delete e-mail folders.
The server also features over-the-air software loading so that mobile
devices within a network can be wirelessly updated as soon as new software
becomes available. Administrators can automatically schedule these updates
remotely, at times most conducive to workers' schedules, and use the dashboard
screen to reconfigure software and other components.
The server includes role-based access controls so that certain tasks can be
delegated to the IT staff, with the dashboard displaying only functions
available to that particular IT worker. In addition to giving an IT administrator
the ability to "push" mandatory applications or updates to individuals, the
server also prevents prohibited applications from being downloaded by
In total, some 350 IT policies can be applied to individuals or groups by
the administrator, including password protection and the use of certain
BlackBerry features such as the camera. A color-coded view on the dashboard
allows administrators to see parts of their environment that could be
developing potential user- and server-related problems.
The server supports all current BlackBerry smartphones. It has also obtained
Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level 4 (EAL 4+) certification with regard
RIM finds itself in an arena of increased competition, as Apple
iPhone and various Microsoft
products seek to dominate the mobile and wireless device marketplace. The
company recently debuted its own application store, BlackBerry App World,
during the CTIA Wireless convention in Las Vegas.
At the launch, RIM announced that applications from Salesforce.com, Bloomberg,
the New York Times and other top-marquee companies would be available,
seemingly putting it in direct competition with Apple's App Store.