Saturday, September 19, 2009

An Innovation for Black Berries - Environment Segregation

I have been a BlackBerry user for many years. And will probably remain one for years to come. I however deplore two things. The first is the internet capabilities of the BB which reminds me of the pre Netscape days of the Internet. Navigating the web on a iPhone and then coming back to a BB is like going back to the stone age. I am seriously hoping that this is going to change. Moreover, there should be no reason why I should not be able to access the internet in my home through my wireless network on my BB as if it were another computer in my home like I am able to with my i-pod touch.

The second thing I deplore is a lack of a portability feature which does not exist on any portable device I have seen. This feature, explained below, would be very useful to me and many other users. I conjecture that, technologically, it could be very simple to offer this to customers. Would RIM be the first to offer this feature it would also, I think, help the company gain market shares.
What is the feature? It would be the possibility for the portable device to carry two chips so that I could switch easily and rapidly back and forth between my work BB and my personal BB on a single device.

I now carry two BBs. One for work and one for personal use. I do this for many reasons. First, because my employer does not let me use my work BB for personal matters. Second, because I want to keep my privacy. I don't necessarily want my employer to know about my personal life. Third, because I am not allowed to access the internet at work from my work computer for personal matters. And, fourth, if I do use the BB for personal matters (whether the internet, e-mails, downloads or the phone) I have to file some burdensome paperwork to reimburse my employer for the my personal share of my use of the device.

For these reasons, and in a world where work is increasingly mingled with our personal lives, I keep two BB to be able to deal with my obligations. Now that I have implemented this completed segregation of my two lives by having two BBs, I find it very useful and very satisfying. Not only I manage the risks of my misusing my employer's resources but my employer is also very happy. The only problem is that I have two BBs; which is a pain!

I also encountered another situation where having only a business BB account was a problem. Last year, I left my job but had to relinquish my BB chip immediately. I was allowed to keep the device. I lost use of the phone for a few days until I was able to reactivate the account under my name. I lost important information on my calendar and my contact list. This also meant that people that were used to communicate with me for personal reasons on my work BB could not get in contact with until I was able to reach them to give them my new e-mail address. Although I regained access to a BB within a few days, it took me a few weeks before I could inform everyone of my change of e-mail address.

It is only a question of time before this environment segregation becomes compulsory and is imposed upon employees by employers. One of the reasons, I believe why it is not already enforced, is the perception that it is too complicated for people like me to have two BBs. And it is indeed complicated.

By offering the solution, RIM would incite more and more employers to make environment segregation the norm. And many people like me would jump on the opportunity to have a dual environment BB device. It simpler, it's better and its safer. By the way, it would also work with the i-phone. I have the same problems with mine but I only have one so far. That's partly because of the keyboard and partly because I already have five i-pods. I would call this new device the di-phone for dual i-phone.

I would be curious to know what you think about this.

1 comment:

  1. If you don't want to lose your contacts, calendar information, your best bet is to use Plaxo, not perfect, but it allows you to synchronize several computers. Personally, my core address book is on my home computer, my address book is increased using one of those card readers machines, my office machines receives new addresses but doesn't send!

    All my personal emails are on Gmail accounts which I can access from my BB but do not download onto my BB, hence privacy.

    As for two devises, I acquired a cheap mobile phone from virgin for all personal calls (if we were in the US we would have a family plan...). Every so often I buy $20 of time, it seems to last a while.

    Cannot wait for Google Voice to come to Canada, it will resolve all these issues neatly.