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BlackBerry Out to Secure Virtual Offices

February 21, 2017
By Steve Anderson - Contributing Writer

Changes in a market can hit businesses hard. The loss of identity, the lack of new potential arenas to move into, and general uncertainty about what a business should do next can cripple a business and shut it down outright. That's happened before to businesses like Nokia (News - Alert) and BlackBerry, former titans of the cell phone world badly damaged by the smartphone shift. Nokia pivoted to become a powerhouse in mobile connectivity and one of the biggest forces behind 5G. BlackBerry (News - Alert), meanwhile, is in the midst of its own pivot to secure cloud communications for virtual offices and others.

Virtual offices need secure communications to carry out everyday tasks, especially when the virtual office user may not be anywhere near an actual office. BlackBerry—who took more than a little flack over security itself back in the start of the Obama administration—is thus looking to get in on the communications platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) market, and is making security a chief focus.

More specifically, BlackBerry is bringing out its new BBM Enterprise software development kit (SDK), which will help developers add a new slate of tools to virtual office systems. In particular, those new tools will include such useful points as secure messaging, secure voice, and even secure video capabilities, all in a protected environment.

A great package by itself, but the SDK also allows for one-on-one chatting, group chat options, the ability to quote and retract messages, as well as edit and delete these. Further, there's the ability to accept calls while the app is running on a background basis. Throw in file sharing systems and real-time notifications and the potential value of the app using this system only increases from there.

The kit is expected to be widely available for both Android (News - Alert) and iOS developers later this month, and will be a particular help in reducing go-to-market times, allowing developers to offer secure communications without having to build said security from the ground up.

Diversification in general is perhaps best described as “probably not a bad move,” in fact; while it's possible to split focus to excess and fail to put the proper development into any one field, generally it takes a lot of diversification to run into that kind of problem. Thankfully, it's not so much an issue when breaking off from one field moving into one or two others, and BlackBerry is being fairly judicious about its diversification efforts.

With the mobile workforce still a very prevalent part of everyday operations, being the provider of secure communications tools here can be a major growth industry. Hopefully BlackBerry will find new success in virtual offices to help undercut its losses from mobile devices. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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