By now you've probably heard people using the phrase "BBM". What they're referring to is BlackBerry's instant messaging tool BlackBerry Messenger.
BlackBerry Messenger, or BBM, allows BlackBerry owners to instant message each other in real-time as long as both users have exchanged PIN's or shared barcodes.
Your PIN is a unique, 8-digit code assigned to your BlackBerry. Your barcode is a unique square barcode image that when scanned by another user's BlackBerry, shares your contact information with them.
And in case you haven't noticed, BBM is extremely popular especially among teenagers and twenty somethings. In fact, BBM is one of the sole reasons that RIM is able to hang on to its non-business demographic and for many people the one thing stopping them from switching to Apple's iPhone.
But BBM isn't just for being social. It can also be a valuable tool for business functions as well.
Here are some reasons why BBM can help you in your business when it comes to getting work done and decisions made.
Firstly, BlackBerry Messenger makes communication as quick and efficient as possible. Simply put, BBM is the fastest way to get a message to someone using your BlackBerry. Instead of having to compose a new email or text message, you just select a contact's name in BBM and start typing. They get your message almost instantly.
Plus BBM is a "streamed" conversation. Each message you send and receive doesn't create a new event in your 'Messages' inbox. Instead you watch as the conversation unfolds in real time.
Another reason BBM is loved is its message status and confirmation icons. When you send a message in BBM, you see a "D" icon indicating your message has been delivered. There's no worrying about whether your contact successfully received your urgent request. BBM tells you.
And once your message has been viewed by the recipient, the "D" changes to a "R" indicating your message has been read. This gives you peace of mind knowing your colleague or employee has read your message, especially in emergency situations.
Plus, BlackBerry Messenger gives you access to employees without relying on a computer or email system. That means if your computer breaks down or email stops working, you still have a way to keep in touch and make sure decisions are getting made.
But by far one of the best features when it comes to BBM for business is the ability to create groups. Creating a group for your business allows you to chat in a shared stream as a company. Just select your company's group, start typing and everybody sees it instantly. This is great for collaboration and getting a quick consensus on something especially if not all staff work in the same location.
Lastly, BlackBerry Messenger is discreet. When you want to have a conversation with someone "offline", BBM is a great option. Unlike email which leaves a paper trail, BBM offers a secure connection on RIM's encrypted network and once a conversation has been ended, there is no message history kept.