Nextel Introduces BlackBerries to MBA Students

 
 
By Carol Ellison  |  Posted 2004-09-22 Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Nextel, Inc., seeks research on impact of BlackBerry and Direct Connect by distributing the devices to MBA students at the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business.

How have your BlackBerry and other personal communication technologies changed the way you do business? Thats the question being asked this year at the University of Marylands Smith School of Business where Nextel, Inc., has distributed 320BlackBerry 7510s to master degree candidates. The partnership is designed to afford the school the opportunity to study the impact of technologies that provide students with 24-hour real-time access to information.
Nextel will use the research in marketing its services to corporate executives. And, the partnership is expected to seed the market for the companys messaging services, as well, including Direct Connect, the companys push-to-talk walkie-talkie service.
"We always want to find one or two business or university entities and create a model," said Chris Hackett, Nextels vice-president of education. "One of the things that most impressed us about Maryland, and part the business school, is how theyve been able to climb in the ranks of business schools nationally year over year, particularly in their utilization of technology." The current partnership, Hackett said, involves "a long term commitment on the part of the university to embrace the technology"—particularly to study and quantify its effects on student life and academic activities, and to develop whitepapers on the findings. According to Hackett, the whitepapers will demonstrate "what it is the BlackBerry can do and the benefit that Direct Connect can provide in that environment." Hackett said the whitepapers would be used in Nextels marketing efforts and acknowledged that the company also hopes to use the project to open new sales channels. How connected is too connected? Click here and take Sean Gallaghers test to find out. "Our whole strategy is to really jumpstart the BlackBerry sales within the university, particularly in the graduate business schools. The reason why we chose Maryland is that we already had a strong relationship with them." Cherie Scricca, the Smith Schools associate dean for masters programs and career services, said that students, to date, have used the devices primarily for personal communications, although they are becoming more creative over time. One student, for instance, is using the BlackBerry to organize colleagues to work together on projects via conference calls. "That would not have been possible in the past," she said. "One student said to me it feels like its given me an extra day of the week. The issue for the school, said Scricca, is not so much the device as "getting folks to engage and grapple with the technology in very real and practical ways." Check out eWEEK.coms Mobile & Wireless Center at http://wireless.eweek.com for the latest news, reviews and analysis.

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Carol Ellison is editor of eWEEK.com's Mobile & Wireless Topic Center. She has authored whitepapers on wireless computing (two on network security–,Securing Wi-Fi Wireless Networks with Today's Technologies, Wi-Fi Protected Access: Strong, Standards-based Interoperable Security for Today's Wi-Fi Networks, and Wi-Fi Public Access: Enabling the future with public wireless networks.

Ms. Ellison served in senior and executive editorial positions for Ziff Davis Media and CMP Media. As an executive editor at Ziff Davis Media, she launched the networking track of The IT Insider Series, a newsletter/conference/Web site offering targeted to chief information officers and corporate directors of information technology. As senior editor at CMP Media's VARBusiness, she launched the Web site, VARBusiness University, an online professional resource center for value-added resellers of information technology.

Ms. Ellison has chaired numerous industry panels and has been quoted as a networking and educational technology expert in The New York Times, Newsday, The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio's All Things Considered, CNN Headline News, WNBC and CNN/FN, as well as local and regional Comcast and Cablevision reports. Her articles have appeared in most major hi-tech publications and numerous newspapers and magazines, including The Washington Post and The Christian Science Monitor.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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