Rhode Island state employees prepare to ditch ‘iBerrys’ for enhanced iPhones

In Rhode Island, state government employees might just have “an app for that,”oncethe second phase of the states mobile device management is implemented.

Last year, the state began shifting employees away from BlackBerry smartphones and toward the Apple iPhone, Chief Technology Officer Tony Lupinacci told StateScoop. All state employees have since moved off BlackBerrys, but their iPhone app environment is constrained. Though they’re using iPhones, privacy concerns limit employee application use to those that were available on BlackBerry.

That first rollout was simply to replace that functionality and [employees] affectionately dubbed them the iBerrys, Lupinacci said. We took this awesome phone and stripped it down to where all they could do was what they could on the Blackberry.

The second phase of the states MDM initiative will try to unlock some of the iPhones extra power like App Store and other functions, he added.

[Were going to start] letting the Apple phone do what the Apple phone does, Lupinacci said. We are figuring out ways to roll out the App Store securely so youre doing your work but not abusing the power of the iPhone. Its a balancing act.

The move to unlock iPhone potential comes as Gov. Gina Raimondos administration pivots its focus toward customer service and expanding the power of the states IT help desk. To help with that, Lupinacci is turning the MDM initiative inward, focusing on his own department and developing apps for technicians to manage tickets in priority and geographical order. Those apps, combined with the implementation of more tools from Microsofts Office 365 suite will better equip the state to work together going forward, he said.

I see a lot more productivity tools moving forward from our standpoint as well, Lupinacci said. We want to explore groups, explore SharePoint and OneDrive things we havent fully rolled out. Theres a clamoring for that technology, and so we want to listen to our customers.