WhatsApp has shown that having a hugely popular mobile messaging app can be very lucrative and now BlackBerry is looking to cash in on its own widely used cross-platform BlackBerry Messenger service. We already know that BlackBerry is planning to incorporate ads and in-app purchases into BBM but the company on Tuesday unveiled a new version of BBM that could make the mobile messenger into even more of a cash cow.
BlackBerry says that its new BBM Protected, a new version of BBM designed specifically with regulated industries in mind, will be available starting this summer for corporate users who value security above all else. The new service will have a monthly subscription fee, which means that questions about how it will generate revenue are already moot.
BlackBerry says that BBM Protected “will provide an unrivalled level of trust in enterprise messaging with end-to-end encryption of messages that uses symmetric encryption keys for BBM messages and best-in-class technology for public-private signing and encryption key pairs.” Best of all, BBM Protected easily integrates with standard BBM which means that you’ll be able to use it to message all BBM users without switching to a separate app.
Separately, BlackBerry enterprise unit president John Sims tells Re/code that BlackBerry is working on a way to use BBM as a way to help customers in emerging markets transfer money to one another.
Anyway you slice it, then, it looks like BlackBerry is being very creative when it comes to figuring out ways to make money from BBM. BlackBerry’s full press release announcing BBM Protected follows below.
BlackBerry to Launch eBBM Suite for Enterprise Customers
First Solution, BBM Protected, will Provide Secure, Enterprise-Class Mobile Messaging for Regulated Industries
Mobile World Congress 2014, Barcelona – BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ: BBRY; TSX: BB), a global leader in mobile communications, today announced the eBBM™ Suite, a new family of products and services that work with BlackBerry® smartphones and the BlackBerry enterprise solution, BES and BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10, to provide enterprise-class mobile messaging that brings together the core strengths of BBM with features and capabilities aimed at enterprises.
BBM Protected will be the first solution offered in the new eBBM Suite, bringing regulated industries the most secure and reliable real-time mobile messaging in the industry. BBM Protected will provide an unrivalled level of trust in enterprise messaging with end-to-end encryption of messages that uses symmetric encryption keys for BBM messages and best-in-class technology for public-private signing and encryption key pairs.
Employees will be able to use a single well-known, well-loved app to connect with internal colleagues under this regulated level of enhanced security, while remaining free to message BBM contacts outside the organization simply and easily with the privacy, control and security that is already inherent in BBM. For IT administrators and infrastructure managers, BBM Protected will work across BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry® OS smartphones in regulated mode with no OS upgrades required.
BlackBerry’s end-to-end security model is built on a foundation of secure hardware interacting with secure software. Security is reinforced at every level of the device from CPU to boot ROM, to OS and file system, and applications. The root of trust that BlackBerry builds for its customers remains unbroken throughout the chain, and is unlike other security models that rely on the interaction of components from multiple vendors.
“BBM has always been an important tool for business users who want real-time messaging that is reliable, trusted and puts control of contacts and personal information in users’ hands,” said John Sims, President, Global Enterprise Solutions at BlackBerry. “With the introduction of the eBBM Suite and BBM Protected, we will provide regulated industries and security-conscious organizations with a powerful and best in class instant messaging solution.”
BlackBerry remains committed to providing end-to-end solutions that are secure, reliable and benefit the productivity and collaboration of enterprise customers. “Regulated industries need an option for mobile messaging that maintains compliance, but still gives employees the freedom to be productive with peers outside of the organization. BBM running on BlackBerry smartphones in a BES environment is unrivalled in meeting this need,” said John Sims.
BBM continues to be a top choice for business users who turn to mobile messaging to enhance their productivity and collaboration through BBM Voice calling, one-to-one chats, multi-person chats, or BBM Groups, which offers groups of up to 50 people the ability to chat, share calendars, lists and images. BlackBerry users can use BBM for video calls, to share screens and to create private BBM Channels for one-to-many collaboration and sharing.
Pricing and Availability
BBM Protected as part of the eBBM Suite is expected to launch this summer and will be available to enterprise customers through a monthly per-user fee.