For several years, ITS has operated a Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) to facilitate email, contact, and calendar sync features for Blackberry smartphones used by NAU faculty and staff. We have just renewed our maintenance and support contract on the BES through June 30, 2013.
Several years ago, the Blackberry was a very popular portable email device on campus, and we had well over 200 NAU users fetching their email through the BES. Since then, Microsoft has added the ActiveSync protocol to its Exchange mail service, which allows most modern smartphones (iPhone, Windows 7 Phone and Android phones with Touchdown) to sync email, contacts, and calendars directly with the NAU email server without requiring a product like the Blackberry Enterprise Server.
A recent audit has revealed that our campus Blackberry population has dropped dramatically, with less than fifty active BES users remaining. Unless this trend reverses, we expect that this will be the last year that ITS will operate and administer a Blackberry Enterprise Server.
Options for those choosing to use their Blackberry devices with NAU Exchange email after June 30, 2013, will include using the phone’s built-in IMAP mail support to sync only email with Exchange or purchasing a third party Blackberry compatible app that would facilitate full Microsoft ActiveSync mail, contact, and calendar synchronization.