Research In Motion's (RIM) free BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) Express software should become available today to organisations that employ IBM's Lotus Domino mail server and associated infrastructure, according to the BlackBerry-maker. BES Express is a no-cost, "slimmed down" version of RIM's full BES with many of the same security safeguards and mobile connectivity options, but fewer IT control policies for corporate BlackBerry administrators.
BES Express lets BlackBerry users wirelessly synchronise email, calendar, contacts, notes and tasks; manage e-mail folders and search corporate mail from their smartphones; book meetings and appointments, accept meeting requests, check availability and forward calendar attachments; set out-of-office replies; and much more.
BES Express admins have access to a remote, Web-based management interface that lets them quickly deploy applications over the air, connect and manage BlackBerry smartphones, apply IT control and smartphones usage policies and more.
The full version of BES is best-suited for managing company-issued BlackBerry smartphones, according to RIM, while the free BES Express software is a great option for securely connecting employee-owned BlackBerry smartphones to corporate networks, since no additional software licensing fees are required to connect staffers' personal devices to BES Express. And most consumer BlackBerry data plans, or BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) plans, are compatible with BES Express, so pricier enterprise date plans aren't necessary, as is the case with the full BES.
The full version of RIM's BES also starts at roughly $4000 for a 20-user license, plus the costs of enterprise data plans for all devices on the server. BES Express is free to download and install. (Read more details on the differences between the full BES and BES Express.)
RIM released BES Express for Microsoft Exchange back in February, but it took nine more months for the BlackBerry-maker to get this new BES Express for Lotus Domino out the door. (The most recent version of BES Express for Exchange, v5.0 Service Pack 2 [SP2], was released in August.) Unfortunately, BES Express is still unavailable for Novell GroupWise and other corporate mail servers.
BES Express for Lotus Domino supports both Domino Enterprise Server and Domino Messaging Server. But organisations that wish to employ RIM's BlackBerry clients for IBM Lotus Sametime, Lotus Connections, and Lotus Quickr, will need to employ the full version of BES.
Learn more about BES Express for both Microsoft Exchange and IBM Lotus Domino, and download the software, on RIM's website.
Al Sacco covers Mobile and Wireless for CIO.com. Follow Al on Twitter @ASacco. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline. Email Al at ASacco@CIO.com.