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BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 unleashed

Promises most ‘significant’ release of its kind

By CBR Staff Writer

Research in Motion (RIM) has announced the release of the latest version of its BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES). Version 5.0 claims to offer enhanced admin consoles and better mobile email management.

Launching BES 5.0 at the Wireless Enterprise Symposium (WES) in Orlando, Alan Panezic, director of the BlackBerry Solutions Group, said that the upgrade is, “the most significant release of its kind.”

A number of the improvements go towards making it easier to manage large-scale enterprise deployments of BlackBerry devices, which RIM puts at 50,000 to 100,000 or more devices.

One of the new features is the BlackBerry Administration Service, a web-based centralised management component that enables IT admin to keep track of BlackBerry devices deployed within the enterprise.

Role-based access controls will enable IT admins to delegate tasks and duties to other members of the IT team. Job scheduling and throttling can also be used to better manage over-the-air application deployment and device software updates, RIM said.

From an end-user perspective, a number of new features have also been introduced. Speaking about BES 5.0 during the WES 2009 keynote, Mike Lazaridis, president and co-CEO of RIM said that the company wanted to enable users to manage email on their handheld devices in the same way they would via a desktop.

A number of calendar enhancements have been made, including the ability to forward calendar invites and view attachments in the calendar. Users can now flag emails for follow-up.

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A new file transfer system has been introduced as well, with remote access to Windows network file shares, enabling smartphone users to securely retrieve, view, edit and email documents from behind the firewall. This is compatible with BlackBerry Device Software 5.0, due for release later this year.

“This is the most tested release ever,” said Lazaridis. “It has been tested for over a year and now 12,000 RIM employees are using it. With a staggered release the entire organisation was upgraded with no downtime.”

Other companies also using BES 5.0 include IBM, Linklaters and Tayside Fire and Rescue.

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