BlackBerry cancelled their annual BlackBerry Live event this this year and replaced it with smaller half-day events in various cities around the world.
The events took place in New York (US), Montreal and Toronto (Canada), Chicago (US), Cologne (Germany), Washington DC (US) ending in London here in the UK.
The event took place in Central London and was packed with predominantly BlackBerry users. At one point attendees were standing in the back and having to be ushered to an available seat. BlackBerry phones were in hands everywhere and interestingly there was a vast amount of Bold 9900’s on show, highlighting the fact that legacy devices are outselling BlackBerry devices by more than two thirds.
In front of every attendee was a notebook, a pen and a lollipop. Yes, I said lollipop. Why lollipops were given out at an Enterprise event for BlackBerry business users is still a mystery!
The event was billed as the UK leg of the tour but as it turned out that wasn’t quite the case. Rather than the BlackBerry Experience Event UK, taking place in London, it really was the BlackBerry Experience Event London for London.
In the opening notes, attendees were informed about the importance of London to business, how successful London is in the business sphere and more about London and business. There was even the predictable England v Germany World Cup joke made, referencing Markus Mueller, BlackBerryÃ¢â‚¬Ëœs managing director for Europe, who was at the event.
What is clear is that BlackBerry still have no grasp that the UK doesn’t comprise of London, Slough and a few more English cities. With BlackBerry market share in the UK steadily declining, continually ignoring Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will do nothing more than increase that decline.
Markus MÃƒÂ¼ller was appointed Regional Managing Director Europe at BlackBerry in March 2014. In his role he is responsible for the development and execution of business strategy and company growth in the region. Previous roles held by Markus at BlackBerry also include Managing Director for BlackBerry Germany and Senior Director, EMEA Enterprise Partnerships.
Before his involvement at BlackBerry, Markus was founder and CEO of ubitexx GmbH which served as a consulting and software firm for mobile computing solutions. In 2011, BlackBerry acquired UbitexxÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s software Ã¢â‚¬Å“ubi-SuiteÃ¢â‚¬Â which was employed to power device management, security and controls for BlackBerryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Enterprise Server as well as for Android and iOS based devices and tablets, to be managed from a single web-based console.
Earlier in his career Markus worked for a variety of IT companies around the world. These included Palm and Microsoft in offices located in Munich, Berlin and California.
Markus took to the stage to deliver his keynote. I covered this excellent keynote earlier in the week, so i wont repeat it here.
The summary was that BlackBerry realise that they have a battle on their hands in the Enterprise but they are confident, have a strategy and firmly believe that it is a battle that they can win.
A session mostly about statistics quickly passed by. While some of the stats highlighted did pertain to BlackBerry, they would have been relevant to most businesses. What saved the session was that it was professionally presented and included the audience.
Another session was a BlackBerry customer panel comprising Steve Sumner from Taylor Vinters, somebody from Moderated by CCS and Alastair Lang from Glasgow City Council. I couldn’t tell you who was from Moderated by CSS and Alistair Lang was from Glasgow City Council but wasn’t from Glasgow City Council but still had something to do with Glasgow City Council. Confused? That information – or lack of – neatly sums up the quality of this session.
Basically, it was three BlackBerry business customers discussing why they chose BlackBerry and why they stayed with BlackBerry. At times, it appeared they forgot there was an audience there as they chatted amongst themselves.
A quick summary of their “discussion” of why they chose BlackBerry was down to security and cost. Hardly rocket science!
Now if you left the event at this point in time, you would have been feeling misled and totally disappointed. With the exception of Markus’s keynote, the mornings sessions were uneventful. Content is king at events and so far, content was seriously lacking.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that the mornings events were really nothing more than a warm-up. After a quick lunch, the event really kicked off.
The Real Event
This was the real event and this is what the attendees had come to see! This was all about where BlackBerry are now and what is coming.
Unfortunately, I cant tell you about it!
BlackBerry, in their infinite wisdom, decided that the afternoon session was to be under NDA. At Rapid, we dont breach NDA’s.
What I can say is that what is coming “shortly” for BlackBerry users is exciting and excitement is one thing BlackBerry users are needing.
Attendees left the event on a high and were all given a free “Goody Bag” on the way out which included a BlackBerry Power Bank, BlackBerry Mini-Speaker, BlackBerry Flash Drive and all the relevant information that they need. A nice touch.
More of what transpired in the afternoon and less of the morning would have really improved the event but I don’t think attendees really cared as the afternoon events made it all worthwhile.
BlackBerry missed an opportunity here. I should be writing about what transpired, what is coming and building up the beginning of some momentum.
Sadly, that is not the case. However, keep it tuned to Rapid because we will let you know as soon as BlackBerry let us.
[signoff predefined=”Enjoy this?” icon=”icon-users”][/signoff]