BlackBerry MVS dials up unified communications

Research in Motion has taken another step toward blurring the lines between phones and personal digital assistants with the recent release of BlackBerry Mobile Voice System.

The BlackBerry MVS ' introduced at the Wireless Enterprise Symposium in Orlando, Fla. ' is designed to integrate seamlessly with an office desk telephone through a private branch exchange. It uses an MVS client on the device, an MVS connector on the BlackBerry Enterprise Server and the Ascendent Voice Mobility Suite, which interfaces with a PBX.

Users can make and receive calls as if they were at their desks, and caller ID is extended to their BlackBerrys so call recipients won't be confused. Mobile users can access functions such as call transfer and extension dialing just as from inside the PBX.

Systems administrators can extend information technology policies to mobile phones. Key security benefits include the ability to automatically authenticate mobile users to the PBX. And because calls are routed through the PBX, those placed from a BlackBerry can now be logged or recorded.

The most difficult thing about developing MVS, said Alan Panezic, RIM director of technical services, was how to support so many different PBX systems. Although most organizations plan to move to an IP PBX, most still have many non-IP systems.

Panezic said he had asked chief information officers at the symposium how many had an all-IP PBX strategy. Every hand went up. When he asked how many were even halfway there, not a single hand went up.

BlackBerry device security is still there when the unit is connecting
via PBX. IT staff can force password use on the BlackBerry from the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, and if a device is lost, the BES can shut down access to
the PBX.

'I'm not in any way'exposing my PBX to an attack,' Panezic said. 'As soon as I realize a device is lost, I can shut it down.'

BlackBerry MVS is expected to be available later this month.

About the Author

Patrick Marshall is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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