Image from BlackBerry advertisement

BlackBerry goes for BYOD (and enterprise) appeal in ad

Is the way to agencies’ hearts through the Super Bowl? BlackBerry seems to think so.

As part of its Jan. 30 launch event, the company formerly known as Research in Motion announced that it will for the first time run a commercial during Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday. The above image is a still shot from the forthcoming commercial. BlackBerry is sharing this image on all of its social media outlets, which include over 30 million people between Facebook and Twitter.

This is definitely a sign that BlackBerry — which announced it was dropping Research in Motion as the company’s name and changing it to the product itself — wants to appeal to a mass market, which these days could be the way to win back its government and other enterprise users.

BlackBerry traditionally has been viewed as a “work phone” that people used on the job. But in order to maintain its share of government users in the new “bring your own device” paradigm, the company needs to adjust its products and marketing to appeal to the commercial market. After all, any smart phone is becoming a work phone. So a Super Bowl ad seems a good place to start.

BlackBerry 10, the new operating system with features for both on- and off-the-job use, performed well in our test drive in November 2012, and it has generally received good reviews elsewhere. Late last year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement signed up to try BlackBerry 10 devices as part of a pilot.

But BlackBerry still has a way to go. Despite the launch earlier this week, the first BB10 phone — the Z10 — won’t show up until March and versions with a physical keyboard will take a little longer.

So we’ll still have to wait to see if BB10 really is a good option for enterprise users. Meanwhile, everyone have a great and safe Super Bowl Sunday, and, for the record – Go Ravens!

Posted by Greg Crowe on Feb 01, 2013 at 9:39 AM0 comments

Businesspeople using smart phones

Are smart phones ready to dump voice plans for VOIP?

Voice over IP services are becoming increasingly prevalent in agencies, replacing many old landline systems. And VOIP in the office also holds appeal for mobile users. The ability to talk to someone using your computer’s Internet connection is often more desirable than using up voice plan minutes on your cell phone.

For that matter, with the availability of Skype, social media and online messaging sites, and even Facebook adding VOIP to its mobile app, you might be also to just ditch that voice plan forever, right?

Jessica Leber, business editor at MIT Technology Review, found out it’s not that simple. She tried to spend a week during the December holidays without using any voice or SMS texting from her Android phone. Although she gave it a good try, she did not last the entire week, mostly due to complications in connecting VOIP programs via her smart phone to other people’s phone numbers, and the not-quite-there sound quality in most of the VOIP services she tried.
I think one of the major things that will keep folks from switching from their tried-and-true voice plans is that most of the people they’re calling also haven’t switched yet. Agencies switching office systems to VOIP with solid broadband connections is one thing; going mobile with VOIP is another.

Since live communication by definition requires two or more people, all parties really need to be on VOIP for it to work optimally. That won’t happen until nearly everyone decides at the same time to start using VOIP. Okay, ready everyone? On the count of three…

Yeah, we are going to have traditional voice plans for a while.

Posted by Greg Crowe on Jan 31, 2013 at 9:39 AM1 comments

Workers meet at coffeeshop to improve mobile gov

Wikithon spurs gov engagement in mobile

Do you have an idea how to improve government’s use of mobile technology? Or do you just want to know what Mobile Gov is all about? Then you might want to drop by the Mobile Gov Wikithon in Washington. D.C.

The facilitators from GSA's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies hope to find out how agencies are using the Digital Government Strategy,  the goal of which is to make government more accessible to the citizenry via mobile devices. They will also show people how to create a Mobile Gov Wiki account that will let them start contributing in their particular areas of expertise.

It is taking place on Thursday, Jan. 31, from 2-4 p.m. in the Starbucks at 801 18th St NW. They’ll have a conference table reserved for this event, and it’s a pretty big coffee shop, so they should have plenty of room (hopefully).

Posted by Greg Crowe on Jan 30, 2013 at 9:39 AM0 comments