This is my first WES conference and I’m still in the process of understanding what it’s all about. A lot of the people here, nearly everybody, are dealing with the medium / large businesses. For example, the T-Mobile booth was focusing not on devices, but on their international presence as well as the small business teams they have. Its the same with AT&T and Verizon, where they don’t talk about which phone, as the phone models themselves aren’t important, but about how they sell services to help you mobilize.
WES 2010 makes it very clear to enterprise that what’s important is how to organize, “securitize”, and reduce cost on your business, and how the BlackBerry solution is the best. There are hints and talks of Android, iPhone, and WinMo (though very little on poor Windows) being part of the conversation here, but everybody realizes that the model of the phone itself doesn’t matter. What’s important is the back end. On that note, everybody loves the BES solution. I’ve met with a couple of people from a healthcare group last night at the big party when Beoudin Soundclash was playing, and they were at WES to shop around to find a software solution to integrate in their 3500 BlackBerry setup. They currently use a few web apps, but they were here to see if some of the companies here had a better program to use inside their network.
I’ve also met with an employee from a huge media company (one of the biggest in the world), who had about a funny story of one of their execs who happened to lose one of their BlackBerrys. Before they set up the remote disable of the phone, someone had found the device happened to have access to the emails of all the stars. He mentioned that the corporation sells their content on every single appliance they could, but internally, they needed one that had basic security options, and he mentioned that the Android wasn’t quite up to par with the remote disable capabilities of BlackBerry.
Many of the late night conversations I’ve been having are centered around the new BlackBerry 6, and how it must have a few key points for it to be a top seller. One of the key points was speed. Another important factor is that BlackBerry 6 will hopefully address some of the major user frustrations, such as battery pulls. The fact that battery pull apps sell very well on BlackBerry is significant.
Another hot topic is was App World, and how it really needs a revision and more convenience. I’ve had some particularly scintillating conversations with CrackBerry Kevin on this subject. Ideally, App World will allow you to download an application with a single click, much like the App Store. App world should also allow you to download 6-10 different apps at once. It was said that BlackBerry 6 needs these things in order to be a hit with the BlackBerry market. In talking with a RIM employee, I heard him say BlackBerry has a fairly long development cycle. “These new phones have a 2 year development cycle”, which reminds me of F1 racers and their cars. Tech cycles for RIM are different than other company’s cycles. From what I hear, the process is that when team A comes out with something, team B goes back and revises it, and then comes out with something, which Team A goes back and revises. It’s a circle that helps quality control.
I have spoke with a lot of employees at RIM who say that network compression is the most important competitive advantage of BlackBerry. I’m constantly reminded that there isn’t infinite Bandwidth, and that if you have a device that uses 1/3 the bandwidth, you would save that much more on your backend.
“Always-On” and “Always-Connected” are buzz words that are thrown about frequently. A lot of the new software being written and sold deals with easily networking many products to your phone.I’m constantly being reminded that my phone is so much more than a phone, but is part of, and key to, my interactions with the whole world.
So, who is at WES and what are they doing here? Networking and sales. You have investors here, people who work for carriers, content providers with their programs to help you sell your content, accessories (BMW is here, with a nice blue car, as well as Otterbox, ) Oracle and Cisco.To me, after wandering around for three days, the announcements of the new 3G Pearl and the 9650 feel like it is completing the BlackBerry lineup, rather than innovating something new.
MVS is really the biggest new thing from RIM and it includes WiFi calling. The hints of BlackBerry 6 are a tease, and only a commercial. MVS promises to complete the office experience, where you extend your business line from a stationary desk to your mobile phone. The ability to shift to a different device to control the call is a technology that we will be seeing more of, in the future. Imagine your car having its own cellphone, rather than using your cellphone in your pocket and using that battery. Also, imagine walking into the shower / bathroom and having the showerhe ad carry the conversation as you clean yourself and sing to yourself. The push away from the carrier cell signals is nice, shifting to WiFi, as the idea seems like the cell towers might be full, or that the ability to connect to someone else doesn’t have to rely on one company.
As I eat the wonderful food here at WES, I watch many people from across the world interact, pull out their BlackBerry and scan one another’s BBM QR code, and plan to carry on as they leave here. I’ve added new friends to my list, people who I played WiiTennis with during the Will.I.Am concert, or when I was playing EXPERT DRUMS with some others in Rock Band, which was set up near the smokers lounge. I pretty much rocked the house.