Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

BlackBerry creates new business unit for IoT, other innovation

Iain Morris
August 28, 2014
Mobile device maker BlackBerry has created a new business unit that will assume responsibility for developing Project Ion – the company’s Internet of Things (IoT) application platform.

Called BlackBerry Technology Solutions, the unit will be led by Sandeep Chennakeshu, who has previously worked as the president of Ericsson Mobile Platforms (Stockholm, Sweden) and the chief technology officer of former joint venture Sony-Ericsson, now Sony Mobile Communications (Tokyo, Japan).

BlackBerry Technology Solutions will also be responsible for other innovation activities, including work on the QNX embedded software platform, Certicom (cryptography applications) and Paratek (radiofrequency antenna tuning).

In addition, it will look after BlackBerry’s portfolio of around 44,000 patents.

“I am very pleased that Sandeep has joined BlackBerry [Waterloo, Canada] to lead BTS,” said John Chen, BlackBerry’s executive chairman and chief executive. “QNX, Certicom and Paratek are strategic and technically innovative assets with significant potential to address the much wider global markets for secure, reliable communications and embedded applications.”

“Project Ion creates an application platform that enables secure and collaborative machine-to-machine communication required by the growing number of end-to-end, Internet of Things applications,” he added. “Combining all these assets into a single business unit led by Sandeep will create operational synergies and new revenue streams, furthering our turnaround strategy.”

BlackBerry has been trying to reposition itself in the IoT space after suffering repeated setbacks in the market for mobile devices, where it has been losing out to Apple and manufacturers using Google’s Android operating system.

The move to pool QNX and Project Ion looks encouraging – QNX has already enjoyed success in the automotive sector and could be used to support IoT applications in various other industry verticals.

BlackBerry launched Project Ion in March with the aim of developing a “secure public application platform” capable of accessing massive amounts of data from multiple sources.

The company says it is also working on facilitating the development of an IoT ecosystem consisting of partners, carriers and application developers.

As part of those efforts, it has joined the Industrial Internet Consortium, a non-profit group whose aim is to drive standardization in IoT, and founded the Application Developer Alliance, which it describes as an “association that focuses on advancing application development while helping to solve current challenges such as security and privacy”.
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