Will This Be BlackBerry's Game-Changer?

Will This Be BlackBerry's Game-Changer?

With half of all companies expected to employ a bring-your-own-device, or BYOD, program by 2017, there's about to be a growing need to secure employee mobile computing devices in a streamlined manner. To that end, BlackBerry recently introduced its Secure Work Space solution for Google Android and Apple iOS devices, allowing organizations to secure and manage non-BlackBerry devices through its BlackBerry Enterprise 10 service. For users, Secure Work Space will separate work apps and data from personal data by keeping everything work-related contained behind a secured firewall. For BlackBerry, Secure Work Space opens up a tremendous opportunity to monetize non-BlackBerry devices when it becomes available in the coming months.

A multi-platform solution
According to Forrester Research, 350 million employees will use smartphones in 2016, and of those, 200 million will opt into a BYOD plan. From a technology management standpoint, it's a nightmare to manage a stable of differing employee devices because it's costly, inefficient, and difficult to deploy. With BlackBerry's end-to-end multi-platform solution, which covers 95% of smartphones shipped in the first quarter, it streamlines the enterprise IT administration process by eliminating the need to manage multiple network infrastructures. For the first time in what feels like ages, BlackBerry could have a competitive edge against Apple and Google.

Not the only game in town
As Apple works to further the iPhone's momentum in the enterprise market, it will be introducing a host of business-friendly features within the release of iOS 7. Enterprise customers will soon be able to benefit from enhanced virtual private network features, improved security management, employee app licensing, single sign-on authentication, and third-party data encryption.

Through Samsung's SAFE initiative, the South Korean smartphone maker hopes it can increase Android's enterprise market share, which stood at less than 25% in the first quarter, according to Good Technology. Like Apple, the SAFE initiative focuses on business security and scalability, but it also aims to ease concerns about Android's vulnerability stemming from its open-source nature, through implementing industry-leading AES 256-bit on-device encryption.

Despite these competitive threats, BlackBerry has the edge among BYOD-friendly companies because its Secure Work Space solution embraces a multi-platform approach. It's a nearly perfect fit for the spirit of BYOD, which is largely motivated by increasing employee productivity through catering to individual preferences.

Massive potential
Assuming Forrester Research has an accurate gauge that 200 million employees will opt into a BYOD program in 2016, BlackBerry's addressable market for its Secure Work Space solution could be quite massive. If IDC's latest smartphone market share figures are any indication, BlackBerry's BYOD addressable market would be 95% of smartphones shipped in the first quarter. Out of the 200 million devices, that's 190 million potential devices BlackBerry could seemingly tap into. With a cost of $99 per year per device, BlackBerry has a tremendous opportunity to drive absurd levels of service revenue growth, which happens to be company's most profitable segment.

Ultimately, the biggest challenge for BlackBerry will be how well it can convince potential customers that it has the staying power to remain viable in the coming years. Perhaps its $3.1 billion nest egg of cash should be brought to sales pitches.

Can BlackBerry go all the way?
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The article Will This Be BlackBerry's Game-Changer? originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Steve Heller owns shares of Apple and Google. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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