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Wednesday, 13 February 2013 14:37

BlackBerry app development set to boom

BlackBerry App Store

App development for BlackBerry® smartphones is set to explode with the launch of the new BlackBerry® 10 operating system and smartphones and the BlackBerry® World™ app store according to of leading mobile development company Realmdigital.


“The BlackBerry® Z10 and BlackBerry® Q10 smartphones powered by BlackBerry 10 are game changers,” says Bestbier. “The BlackBerry® ecosystem is very strongly embedded in South Africa – they are still the top selling smartphones in the country – and many of our top corporates have invested a lot in BlackBerry infrastructure. Now that the platform is even more attractive for external developers, there is a new sense of excitement. Our customers are sitting up and paying attention.”


Bestbier expects strong demand from customers that have not previously considered developing mobile apps at all. “Many of our customers know from their site analytics that they get a lot of BlackBerry traffic.” he says, “The BlackBerry® 10 operating system makes the development task easier than ever before.  The developer picture is starting to look very different.”


“The new devices are slicker and more powerful, and have made it very easy to port apps between different platforms. BlackBerry has also provided very good documentation and workshops which have helped to create a lot of excitement in the developer community.”Bestbier concluded.

Friday, 05 October 2012 11:46

How apps are taking over computing and content

Windows Phone Apps

Mobile apps are innumerable and integrated into almost all aspects of our daily lives. They have already changed computing in staggering ways, but there’s room for more innovation on a similar scale.


A short history of app domination

It’s hard to imagine now, but in the beginning there was the candybar phone. On it, the only things resembling apps were Calculator, Snake and a soccer thing.


Then there were the early smartphones. They were cool because you could connect to the Internet, do basic office tasks and try out the first rudimentary apps. We chose phones because they featured , WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS or FM radio.


After that came the current generation of smartphones – the BlackBerrys and iPhones and Androids – all gathering cult followings with iconic designs, hardware innovation and a sizeable collection of apps.


But gradually, the apps proliferated and got more exciting, finally taking on greater significance than the hardware itself. Helped by the success of Android tablets and the broad adoption of iTunes-like content distribution channels, apps became a content and computing platform of their own, existing independently from phone and tablet hardware.


Whereas before we were beholden to the device maker to choose what apps we could have, mobile consumers today enjoy a far more customisable experience. Two identical phones purchased by two different people can over time become vastly different instruments in the hands of their owners, depending solely on their choice of apps.


Hardware responses

Thus apps have become a threat to mobile hardware. Device manufacturers have responded in various ways, which has influenced the fate of devices on the whole.


A case in point is the goings-on of the current month. September is smartphone month, with announcements from Samsung, Apple, Motorola and Nokia, but the following remarks have significance for tablets too.


Apple, the leading smart device manufacturer, may have missed a crucial trick when it failed to include near-field communications with iOS 6 in its recent iPhone 5 launch. NFC would have enabled Apple users, at least, to make payments to each other. As a result all sorts of wags are saying smartphones are becoming boring.  And it happened overnight. In the blink of an eye, Apple appears to be under pressure to innovate again or lose its star power.


The jury is out whether the Android community can take the game away from Apple with great phones like the Samsung Galaxy S3, the Nokia Lumia 920 or the HTC One X. But even with innovation, hardware remains under threat.


Sometimes hardware is not enough

The common threat to these platforms, and the secret to their continued relevance – is apps. Apps are the new seats of innovation, and as they continue to proliferate and blaze new trails, they will find the appropriate hardware platforms and drag them along in their wake.


The best-case scenario for phone and tablet makers is to seek continued relevance in broad computing and communications tasks, as increasingly diverse hardware platforms take their place around the app ecosystem.


Or they can pursue restrictive business models and seek to protect their existing revenue stream, thus risking total irrelevance, or depend on unstinting innovation, and retain limited niche importance as other, more purpose-suited hardware, increasingly edges them out.


Stay close to the apps

The cautionary tale doesn’t end there. New hardware platforms, for example smart devices such as fridges, TVs, cars, gaming consoles and the like, would be well advised to note the crucial role of apps for their uptake.


And other (non-hardware) players in the app and surrounding ecosystem, like developers, app stores and the mobile and social networks, can also benefit from support and integration with apps, and thus ensure they will play a role in the user device personalisation future.


  • Hardware vendors and app stores must not restrict users’ access to apps – their role is to manage, reward, quality-control and ultimately foster a strong app ecosystem. The very innovative among them can even give new direction, such as Google with augmented reality.
  • In addition, hardware platforms should throw open distribution to mobile networks, which are increasingly spoilt for choice with the strength of Android.
  • Developers must stay close to the wants, needs, and issues of users, delivering apps on all platforms. They must seek a basis for global dominance, or risk being a flash in the pan.
  • Mobile networks must move on from delivering feature phones to incentivising their own developer ecosystems.
  • Social networks must continue to work on mobile app and customer integration.


It begins with apps

It’s obvious that change in mobility is constant and shoots off in many directions at once. For now, apps hold all the aces.

Blackberry Enterprise Server no longer the only game in town

The decline of RIM and increasing diversity in the smartphone market are driving more South African CEOs to take a hard look at their mobile device management (MDM) strategies.
Blackberry still dominates South Africa, with several surveys estimating they hold around 40% of local market share. But things will look very different in 12 months. RIM has lost its global tech edge, and the BBM service that has driven so much local adoption is finally seeing serious competition from rivals like WhatsApp that aren't tied to a single platform.
The trend of enquires Vox is receiving suggests that local corporates who've built their mobility strategies around Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) are being forced to adapt due to the twin pressures of RIM's decline and the growth in bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies.
There's a very strong global trend away from trying to dictate to users which mobile devices they can bring into the corporate environment. If you want people to be productive and available even when they're out of the office, they're going to want to be able to choose their own devices, and right now iOS and Android are where the action is. That's before we even consider tablets. The mobile device landscape is going to continue becoming more diverse for some time.
Fortunately diversifying doesn't have to mean writing off existing investments. Newer MDM systems like MobileIron can build on existing BES implementations, while establishing a platform that's more appropriate for the coming era of mobile diversity.

Published in Mobile
UC projects fail when they don’t heed cultural impact on organisations

Unified communications (UC) is changing the way organisations operate, as their employees tend to be more available, productive and effective when invested with UC tools.

But report published in July from analyst firm Canalys points out that many UC deployments fail or don’t meet their goals because their cultural (people) impact and the related contexts of IT consumerisation ‘BYOD’ (bring your own device) and workforce mobility are ignored.

In Tellumat, we are in agreement that many UC failures can be avoided by approaching projects as a business transformation process in which the user experience is central.

Three key trends

Consumerisation is the increasing use by employees of technologies like smart phones, iPads, video and social networking tools in the enterprise.

As Canalys points out, organisations that fail to assimilate and take advantage of consumerisation (for instance, with a BYOD strategy) will find themselves increasingly at a disadvantage against competitors.

For example, organisations that aren’t visible on in social media will become remote from customers who want to communicate via an increasing number of channels. (Conversely, UC solution providers that do not recognise the touch points of the technology with consumerisation and BYOD will at the very least miss the opportunity to leverage existing consumer platforms.)

Vendors and partners must also advise customers on the impact of workforce mobility, on processes and information accessed by employees.

Workforce mobility is not a new concept, but due to the consumerisation of IT and BYOD, it is a rapidly accelerating trend, making it an IT priority.

The proliferation of mobile devices provides employees with greater access to tools like video collaboration. Increasingly, employees want to access business applications and social media while on the move. If mobility is not considered as an integral part of future UC strategies, then the investment will be wasted.

Expert guidance

To accommodate these trends in employees’ everyday workflow, organisations will need guidance from experienced UC partners. Issues that have to be thrashed out include:

  • The decision about which platforms to support (iOS, Android or BlackBerry),
  • The changing security ecosystem, and
  • Networking (the number of devices without Ethernet ports is on the increase).

But it goes deeper than processes and architecture, touching the very core of an organisation’s objectives. Technologies like UC, BYOD and mobility have impact far beyond the scope of just an IT department purchasing decision. They affect management, HR, marketing, sales, R&D and back-office integration, in countless new ways.

To prepare for the impact of the new technologies and accommodate them, organisations must ask themselves what they want the technologies to achieve, and within what parameters. The following considerations are common:

  • Organisations must work through changing access modes and trust accords very closely and apply corporate policies as well as IT security measures accordingly.
  • Education of employees is a crucial aspect of a holistic UC deployment: employees must understand their responsibilities and obligations in a world where they are able to freely move sensitive data from device to device and location to location.
  • Equally, the corporate culture of the organisation must embrace trust and openness in a mobile, UC-driven, BYOD environment, so that employees are able to take more rapid but well-informed decisions.
  • UC deployments that incorporate collaborative tools and social media work most effectively when the deployment is aligned with business goals such as improving customer satisfaction or streamlining decision-making processes.
  • Collaboration must enable individuals to identify other individuals in order to be able to freely form communities that can quickly come together to tackle specific company issues.

All these and more must be keen focus areas in the purchasing decision, to ensure that the organisation is prepared for the big changes that UC can bring, and that benefits will be realised.

Published in Mobile
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