Even though the eventual demise of Blackberry will come as a surprise to no one (especially with its ongoing lack of integration with cloud services), I will still feel some degree of sadness when the time comes. After all, if you’ve ever been a member of IT staff, there’s a good chance that you’ve used a Blackberry as a reliable tool for supporting your systems. Even today, there are even now a number of reliable apps on the Blackberry platform that are of immense use to any developer, devop, or sysadmin. Take Metamessage, for instance. Essentially, it provides one with the ability to monitor emails and to be alerted with a repeated ringing if an email meets some sort of criteria. If you’ve ever needed a blaring siren to awake you from your sleep due to a gigantic monster stepping on one of your servers, then this app fits the bill. Plus, it has over a decade of use by quite a few companies; sustaining such operations for so long helps to prove its reliability. However, despite its popularity among IT staff, you can’t find it on Android. In fact, the overall Android platform and app store doesn’t quite have the same roster of enterprise tools as the list for the Blackberry. (More than likely, that’s probably due the Blackberry’s origins as a product for email and enterprise, unlike the smartphones of today and the mainstream’s use of multimedia as the primary functionality.) If you look for any app with the same value and support offered by Metamessage, you’ll be hard pressed to find one.
Which, in turn, makes me think…maybe such simple enterprise tools shouldn’t be platform-dependent apps after all. Instead, I see an opportunity for a startup online service that could fill such a vacuum. Take the example of Metamessage again. Basically, one could create a service version that would just need an account with information about the client (including the detailed email criteria). Then, using simple rules specified in his/her email client (like Outlook or Gmail), the client could forward ‘candidate emails’ to the service. (These candidate emails may not fit all of the rules in the needed criteria, but at the least, the client wouldn’t forward all of their emails, most of which are likely not applicable.) Then, when a forwarded candidate email qualifies according to the criteria, the online service could repeatedly pester the client with an alert, such as through a series of repeated phone calls. I could even see metadata-driven design helping to paint the picture of the overall architecture. Obviously, there’s some work involved in order to create such a service, but if one were to aggregate all of such IT productivity tools out there into one space, it might be a lucrative form of passive income for the creator.
It’s just a thought…one that I can hopefully expand upon in the near future.