We have had a lot of interest from our education customers on integration with BES in Exchange Online in Office 365.  This is something that has not been available in Live@EDU in the past. RIM is making their BlackBerry Could Services for Microsoft Office 365 available at no cost.  While the general availability is scheduled for Q1 2012, they are currently in ‘Open Beta’ phase.  

Office 365 for education now provides a complete mobility story for your end-users at no cost.  Whether you are using a phone powered by Windows, iOS, Android, Symbian, Web OS and now Blackberry you have a method to synchronize natively e-mail, calendar and contacts.  What if you don’t have a Smart Phone, you still have the option to use POP or IMAP.  

I would like to thank Amin Tavakoli for posting the following information at the Office 365 UK blog. 

Things to consider when participating in the open beta program...

  • Consider that with any pre-release service there may be occasional service interruptions and maintenance requiring temporary system downtime
  • Consider that the open beta program is both a testing ground for you to explore the new features and functionality and for RIM to provide periodic service updates to ensure the service at launch exceeds expectations
  • You will have access to BlackBerry's technical support for any issues encountered
  • You acknowledge that the beta service is not a finished product and that your interaction does not reflect your experience with the finished product

If the beta isn’t for you, feel free to wait until Q1 of 2012, and follow the same instructions below to enable the integration with Exchange Online, when it becomes generally available. 

To enable your Microsoft Office 365 for BlackBerry service:

  1. An administrator must login to http://portal.microsoftonline.com and click on Setting up email on mobile phones under Resources
  2. Click Enable Hosted BlackBerry® services from Research In Motion®
  3. Agree to the information sharing agreement
  4. From the Microsoft Online Services Admin Overview, click Manage under Hosted BlackBerry® services from Research In Motion®
  5. Once the open beta is live you will be able to configure and activate desired BlackBerry devices

For more information regarding the BlackBerry Business Cloud Services Beta Program please visit https://www.blackberry.com/beta/businesscloud

You can find the full blog post from the Office 365 UK site here - http://www.office365blog.co.uk/2011/09/blackberry-service-for-office-365.html