BlackBerry has announced a number of initiatives to expand the functionality of its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) app, including greater BBM Meetings support for Apple devices and greater IT controls for organizations using BlackBerry Protected.

BBM Meetings is BlackBerry’s mobile-optimized collaboration solution that allows users to schedule, host and participate in meetings when they have an Internet connection using their Android, iPhone, or BlackBerry 10 smartphone or their Windows PC or Mac.

BlackBerry is expanding the BBM Meetings support for Macs with a new Microsoft Office Plug-in for Mac that will be available soon. The plug-in will allow users to easily add a BBM meeting directly from their desktop in Office, just as Windows users are able to with the Microsoft Outlook Plug-in for Windows PC.

One the plug-in is installed a green Video Recorder icon will appear in the Outlook Home ribbon that allows a user to start an instant BBM meeting, a Calendar icon will allow a meeting to be scheduled, and within the meeting scheduling meeting there will be the option to Add BBM Meeting.

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As well, BlackBerry is also making an optimized mobile collaboration experience available for iPad users. In addition to the usual BBM Meetings features, it also includes a white boarding feature for expressing ideas visually during a brainstorming session.

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New BBM Protected controls

BBM Protected is a more secure and controlled version of the BBM messenger app which gives IT managers more granular controls and the ability to set security policies, and there are now several new controls that IT administrators can put in place.

BBM Protected Cloud Directory Service can be enabled as an IT policy, and it allows BBM Protected users to instantly connect and chat with coworkers within the organization without first sending a BBM invite – users just need to enter their name to find them in the directory using a search function.

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Other new policies include BBM Protected Wipe Data, which gives administrators the ability to remotely wipe all BBM activity, such as Contacts, Chats and Groups. Users retain their BBID credentials, but any corporate data can be secured in a bring your own device scenario should an employee be leaving the country.

Also new is BBM Protected Disable BBM Channels, which allows an administrator to choose to turn off BBM Channels by user, as a way of selecting which users can access what in an organization.

The BBM Protected updates are available now.

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