BlackBerry Taps Biz Users With Movirtu Acquisition

by Sohini Bagchi    Sep 25, 2014

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In an effort to tap more business users with smart mobility features, BlackBerry recently acquired Movirtu, a provider of multiple identity solutions for mobile operators, including a Virtual SIM platform that allows more than one number to be active on a single device. In an exclusive interaction with CXOtoday, Manoj Khilnani, Country Marketing Head – Enterprise, BlackBerry India explains how the acquisition gives BlackBerry a unique edge in providing improved management and services of iOS, Android and BlackBerry devices used in BYOD and COPE environments.

“As we move to a BYOD and COPE world, enterprises, mobile operators, and consumers continue to face a number of challenges related to policy, efficiency and convenience,” he says explaining the rationale behind the acquisition. “Movirtu’s technology eliminates the need to carry multiple devices or SIM cards and allows for corporate and personal numbers to be provisioned on a single device. It also allows discrete enterprise policies to be applied to only the work side of the device, while allowing full usability of the personal portion of the device,” Khilnani says.

The acquisition complements BlackBerry’s Secure Work Space, BlackBerry Balance, and other partitioning technologies, which gives employees the freedom and privacy they want for their personal use while delivering the security and management needed for business use. With Movirtu, employees can switch between profiles for calls, data and messages, while on their home network and in roaming situations and provides users the ability to switch between profiles easily, he says.

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In other word, this gives the smartphone maker the opportunity to improve BYOD and COPE policy management and billing, increasing efficiency and convenience for enterprises, consumers, and employees alike. As Khilnani notes while employees get separate work and personal phone numbers on the same device, enterprises can retain ownership of the work mobile number and get split-billing for data and voice and retain ownership of their personal number.

Also Read: BlackBerry Looks Beyond MDM

The new acquisition fits into BlackBerry’s existing mobile strategy of providing greater value added service, believes the company. “We’re also taking advantage of BlackBerry’s global infrastructure, also known as “the NOC,” which is already connected directly to hundreds of mobile operators worldwide,” says Khilnani. He comments that BlackBerry and Movirtu will be able to leverage these existing connections to offer quick and reliable deployment of the Movirtu Virtual SIM solution with minimal effort for the operator. This will be offered as a subscription-based cloud service to mobile operators. Additionally, in conjunction with the BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) platform, companies will be able to apply IT policies to the business number, without impacting the usability of the device for personal use, he explains.

According to Khilnani, even though Blackberry and Movirtu never came together in the past, both the companies shared a vision to redefine the mobile experience by introducing multiple virtual identities and addressing a critical challenge faced by enterprises, mobile operators and employees throughout BYOD and COPE environments, and hence this acquisition.

On the company’s plans of any further acquisitions in similar space, Khilnani says, “Our primary strategy is to leverage BlackBerry’s significant in-house capability, in terms of both incredibly talented people as well as a deep trove of technology assets and patents. In addition, we will continue to look for ways to augment those capabilities to strengthen its relationships with enterprises, mobile operators and consumers by meeting their underserved needs.”