Frequent "teleconferencers" with BlackBerry smartphones take note: Research In Motion (RIM) today released a beta version of its new BlackBerry Mobile Conferencing application.
With the app, which integrates with the BlackBerry OS, RIM handheld users can quickly and easily invite other BlackBerry users to a teleconference, add new teleconference info to their mobile calendars and connect to conferences with a single click. In addition, the software helps you quickly reconnect to an ongoing conference if you're ever disconnected.
If you craft a meeting invitation with the PC-based email application that's connected to your BlackBerry, and audio bridge numbers and access codes are embedded in the message, other RIM smartphone users with the BlackBerry Mobile Conferencing app will be able to join the teleconference with a single click, via a "Join Now" option.
You can create up to five different "Conference Profiles" to include necessary teleconferencing dial-in information, such as phone numbers, and participant and moderator access codes. Then assign an individual profile to a meeting or other entry in your BlackBerry calendar.
When a teleconference is set to begin, a BlackBerry popup message appears asking if you want to join the conference. You never have to manually enter, or remember, any dial-in or access information.
When you send conference call invites with conference profile data, invitees see only the information necessary to joining the call, keeping your moderator codes hidden, according to RIM.
I haven't really spent too much time with BlackBerry Mobile Conferencing, but I created a number of Conference Profiles, invited myself to a pseudo-meeting and joined with one click, and everything worked as advertised. Overall, I think the app is a great addition to a mobile OS already designed to help businesspeople get more done in less time. It's little things like this that really set RIM's BlackBerry OS apart from other popular mobile software like Google's Android and Apple's iOS, at least from a business perspective.
The 357KB BlackBerry Mobile Conferencing software requires BlackBerry OS 5.0 or higher, and it's currently available for download from RIM's BlackBerry beta zone.
In related news, RIM is expect to soon announced an official BlackBerry videoconferencing application for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, but that application won't likely work with BlackBerry smartphones any time soon.