Homeland Secure IT is stuck in the past! That’s right, a high-tech business is using what most consider to be antiquated technology.
It isn’t because of the cost, it is because of the features. We are actually paying more per month for our cell phone plan than if we were using the latest devices and connectivity.
What we use and why we use it:
Our handheld devices are Blackberry Curve 8350i smart phones, on the Nextel / Sprint network, using iDEN with Direct connect and Blackberry Enterprise Server connectivity. As mentioned, this is an expensive data plan. And it is a slooooooooow connection. However, we use what we have because it provides:
- Instant communications with our techs via Direct Connect (a phone call takes so much longer, and we can DC multiple techs at once in an instant)
- Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) provides us with INSTANT transfer of mail, contacts, calendars from our Microsoft Exchange Server. Mail generally moves in a matter of seconds, instead of minutes with ActiveSync Push
- The Blackberry Curve has a very fat-finger-friendly physical keyboard on it that allows rapid typing, without even looking at the display.
What we dislike about this:
- iDEN transfer speeds are horrible. Try browsing on one of these phones if you are not around a WiFi connection sometime.
- Cell calls are dropped CONSTANTLY and we are out of range constantly (Verizon phones have a signal, almost always when ours do not)
- People who call us while we are in a Direct Connect conversation get “Please hold while the subscriber you are trying to reach is located”
- If you try to direct connect someone while the phone is being used for email, you get “User busy in data”
- Many times the phone will never ring, but we will get a voice mail notification (presumably because we had no signal)
- This service is expensive in comparison with Verizon
That list is just off the top of my head, I’m sure I will think of a few more points after I hit submit.
What we would like:
- A major reduction in service interruption due to signal path. Verizon appears to be the best bet in regards to that.
- Instant mail transfer to allow our clients to send/receive email INSTANTLY with no delays, like we have with BES. Our customers are used to getting responses in a few seconds after sending their email, going from that to a delay of several minutes means that a conversation spread out over a half-dozen emails could take 10-15 minutes to complete due to the transport delays.
- A push-to-talk experience like Direct Connect, or something very similar. Of course, there are some push-to-talk Apps for the Android, but they are not “instant” in functionality, they actually appear to record your comment, then send it, and play it on the remote end. I am unaware of a Push-To-Talk Verizon Android phone, and obviously, iPhone does not offer it at all.
- An Android or iPhone rather than the old Blackberry, but with a good keyboard on it, not just a touch screen. Something we can run the latest and greatest apps on and feel a little more “with it”. The only Android phone offered for iDEN is the Motorola i1 which has Android v1.5 (lagging behind the rest of the world by far)
So here we are, stuck in the past, and feeling unhappy, but unable to make a move.
We could move to Verizon, get a modern Android phone like the Droid 2, with a keyboard, have great signal most everywhere we go, and give up Direct Connect as well as suffer with slower email, but make up for it with faster internet browsing.
We could move to the Motorola i1 Android device on Nextel, but still have slow internet, and an outdated Android…
We COULD go back to carrying two phones, one for feel-good experience, and one for Direct Connect and email.
If you have any comments, I would love to hear from you. Especially if you have used a “walkie talkie” or “push to talk” app on Android that gives a more “Direct Connect” like feel, closer to real-time communication.