Mobile communications provider Blackberry, was once known as a leader in the smartphone industry before their competitors blew them out of the water. While Blackberry are still trying to work their way back with their latest smartphones, it is clear they still have a long way to go. However, John Chen, the CEO at Blackberry, has announced a shift in focus which may just be what this company needs to re-establish themselves as a leader. The is towards IoT with their new platform that was announced on Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. In a market that is still finding its feet, there is a unique opportunity in IoT for Blackberry to come in and establish themselves.
The initial foray for BlackBerry will be in providing hardware and software support for cloud-based communications boxes built into shipping containers. It is built on technology from QNX Software Systems, a BlackBerry company, along with with BlackBerry’s secure network infrastructure and device lifecycle management software. Each box will include a cellular radio, Wi-Fi connectivity, a microprocessor and sensors for data collection, including time-of-service and maintenance records, and device lifecycle management comprising of three main elements – over the air (OTA) software update, application enablement and log collection.
The BlackBerry IoT Platform, is due to be available from April of this year. It has evolved from their Project Ion service that was announced last May. This is a future cloud-based service said to enable enterprises to develop IoT software. Blackberry has already connected around 50 million vehicles from over 40 automakers, including Ford Motors. BlackBerry current global network of data centers handles about 35 petabytes of data per month and has peering connections with more than 300 mobile operators.
Matt Hoffman, VP of Strategy and Marketing at BlackBerry was quoted as saying, “The BlackBerry IoT Platform blends the technologies that have enabled BlackBerry to become a leader in both the mobile data security and embedded systems industries. By combining the BlackBerry global network and device lifecycle management proficiency with the embedded software experience of QNX, we have built a modular, cloud-based platform that gives customers the chance to build IoT applications in a secure, efficient and scalable way. Looking ahead, we will extend the platform with other BlackBerry technologies to give developers additional control over the flow of information to devices on the network’s edge.”