We spoke earlier in the week and over the past few months about Samsung Approved for the Enterprise or SAFE, Samsung's latest push for enterprise adoption and use by government organisations. It seems as if they must be doing something right as the United States Defense Department announced today that by next February, the Pentagon will open its networks up to about 100,000 new mobile phone and tablet computers running Android OS as well as few other mobile operating systems such as Apple's iOS and Windows 8 from Microsoft.
BlackBerry's indifference to any competition in the enterprise space has been somewhat mind boggling, with statements eluding to the fact that they have been in charge in that space for many years. Blackberry seems to not be too keen to the fact that although not much changes in the world of Blackberry, things are changing all around them and that may be something that they need to start paying a bit more attention to as more and more businesses are moving away from Blackberry and in to "bring your own device" policies.
"This is not simply about embracing the newest technology -- it is about keeping the department's workforce relevant in an era when information accessibility and cybersecurity play a critical role in mission success." The bring-your-own-device policy "presents many compelling benefits," though existing Pentagon policies and security vulnerabilities "prevent the adoption of devices that are unapproved and procured outside of official government acquisition," -Teri Takai-Department of Defense Chief Information Officer
The United States military has relied on BlackBerry devices for quite some time now and currently the Pentagon uses more than 600,000 device in total, most of which are BlackBerry handsets. Last year though the US Air Force was to buy as many as 18,000 iPads to replace paper manual charts for pilots and navigators. The department uses approximately 8,700 devices running on the Android platform at this time.
"We're device agnostic, what we're looking for is to have a family of devices approved for use by junior enlisted members to senior officials." US Air Force Major General Robert Wheeler
While as of now, the networks of the Defense Department will remain closed to personal devices, the DISA (Defense Information Systems Agency) is planning to decide on the firm that is to develop a new architecture that will make it possible to manage such a system that will manage various mobile devices and be able to distribute software across differing platforms. The military even plans to build their own mobile application store which will handle many of the non-classified software installations. The agency is also in talks with US mobile carriers about who exactly will get their business, which is probably going to be a good gig to have especially if it involves access to even some of that US military owned spectrum.
The Pentagon wants it's employees to be able to use the best devices. This means the device that makes the individual happy and most productive, which is not always a BlackBerry device. Top-of-the-line and the most trendy devices are changing at a pace that is faster than it has ever moved before and it is becoming unrealistic to stick anyone with the same handset for over one year and expect it to remain relevant. What do you think of this move by the US Government? It may be a move in the right direction, but is it enough and do you think it will happen anywhere close to soon enough? Let us know in the comments.