RIM touts MDM to Asia's developed markets

Region's mature markets boast strong smartphone uptake so Canadian phonemaker hopes this, and ongoing bring-your-own-device trend, will boost its mobile device management business, exec says.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Research In Motion (RIM) is eyeing Asia's developed markets to tout its mobile device management (MDM) product, BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, due to the strong uptake of smartphones and mobile devices in the region.

Speaking at the launch of the product here on Friday, Charles Dufourcq, director at RIM Singapore, said the city-state, together with Malaysia, are the first two Asian markets the company had released the product in as it looks to tap on the ongoing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend.

Singapore, specifically, has huge growth opportunities due to its strong smartphone adoption and growing corporate culture within enterprises, Dufourcq noted. As sectors such as biotechnology, manufacturing, finance, and the corporate headquarters of many multinational corporations (MNCs) expand locally, he believes RIM's MDM product will become increasingly relevant.

The Canadian phonemaker had on Tuesday launched Mobile Fusion in Malaysia, reported tech site Hardwarezone.com. According to Annamalai Muthu, director for Malaysia at RIM, it aims to solve the management chaos faced by businesses and government with the proliferation of multiple handsets in the work environment, and help them not have to "move to the lowest common denominator on security for all the devices they need to manage".

Dufourcq added the company will also roll out the MDM suite to markets such as Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, and Indonesia. Most of these countries are mature economies with strong smartphone penetrations--a general precursor to where the BYOD trend tend to be more rampant, he said.

Indonesia is the notable exceptionand is a "unique" market target, he said. Even though the country is not as developed as the rest, RIM has the largest smartphone market share in the country so BlackBerry users there would adapt faster should Mobile Fusion be deployed in enterprises there, he added.

Alleviating CIOs' cost, security pressures
The RIM Singapore director noted CIOs globally are pressured by costs and security challenges that are brought about by the BYOD trend. The cost comes from IT departments needing to implement numerous security layers, including virtual private network (VPN), firewalls, and data encryption, on top of buying, building and maintaining the underlying infrastructure, he explained.

By consolidating the various platforms on Mobile Fusion, CIOs will be able to cut down on costs and ensure their data and networks are safeguarded with the software's security features at the same time, Dufourcq said.

The phonemaker had rolled out the product earlier in April, just shy of a year after it bought MDM company Ubitexxin May 2011 and picked up its technology.

RIM CEO Thorsten Heins said during its first quarter earnings that it plans to refocus on the enterprise business and capitalize on its position in this segment. He admitted then that it had been late in leveraging the BYOD trend, which resulted in slowing enterprise subscriber growth rate, so it is "committed to reclaim lost market share in this space".

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