Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Blackberry and ZTR monitor railcars

Steve Rogerson
April 8, 2020

Blackberry is combining technologies with Minneapolis-based ZTR to create a railcar monitoring system.
Recognising there was an immediate industry need for remote railcar monitoring that could withstand the rugged conditions of the railway, provide greater fleet insights and operate with extended battery life, the two companies decided to leverage their mutual strengths.
The partnership combines ZTR’s decades of railway industry expertise, technical support and railway IoT experience with Blackberry’s communication technology, battery management, security and hardware capabilities.
It was an easy decision for ZTR to work with Blackberry, according to Sam Hassan, CEO and president of ZTR. “We’re always looking ahead to anticipate customer needs and improve availability, reliability and efficiency through innovation, so it made sense to join together to deliver greater customer value,” he said.
The railcar system works end to end for owners, OEMs, lessors, shippers and managers to increase efficiency. Available through an online dashboard, the offering includes location-based services, utilisation, motion, mileage and cargo capacity for railcars and other non-powered railway assets.
“Known as the railway experts, ZTR is the perfect partner to help us expand the reach of our asset monitoring in an otherwise underserved market and one in which visibility and fleet insights can make a major difference in railway profitability,” said Christopher Plaat, senior vice president at Canadian company Blackberry. “Together with ZTR, we share a vision to bring digital transformation to the railroads so that they can make better, data-driven decisions that lead to greater fleet efficiency.”
With solid location information, users will be able to realise efficiency gains through analytics and reporting, and get visibility into their operations, allowing them to optimise asset use.
ZTR develops innovations for the rail and construction industries. Known as a pioneer in the development of locomotive modernisation and industrial IoT technology, it designs products aimed at improving the performance and reliability of aging locomotives, and delivers industrial telematics that allow companies to monitor and manage mobile and fixed assets remotely. With more than 375,000 telematics-enabled assets under contract, ZTR serves over 70 industrial OEMs and many rental houses.
Once known for its mobile phone business, Blackberry provides intelligent security software and services to enterprises and governments around the world. The company secures more than 500 million endpoints including 150 million cars on the road today. Based in Waterloo, Ontario, the company leverages AI and machine learning to deliver innovations in the areas of cyber security, safety and data privacy, and specialises in endpoint security management, encryption and embedded systems.