Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Blackberry IoT platform could become smart city enabler

Steve Rogerson
January 14, 2015
Blackberry has launched an internet of things platform, initially targeting the connected car and asset tracking industries. The IoT platform will leverage the Ontario-based company’s technology portfolio, extending its security and reliability to emerging IoT applications. The platform will later be extended into the smart energy sector and the healthcare field with the hope that it could become a backbone for wider smart city applications.
The platform combines technology from QNX Software Systems, a Blackberry company whose software powers mission-critical embedded systems in cars, industrial applications and medical devices, with Blackberry’s secure network infrastructure and device lifecycle management software. The Blackberry global network infrastructure today handles approximately 35 petabytes of mobile data per month in data centres located around the world and manages peering connections with more than 300 mobile operators and 400 partner networks worldwide.
“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,” said Matt Hoffman, Blackberry’s VP of strategy and marketing. “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.”
An efficient, scalable messaging system forms the foundation of the platform and is responsible for its responsive performance. The system serves as the message bus for additional platform modules by delivering reusable services including security, instantaneous data indexing and storage for reliable real-time intelligence, integrated analytics for data visualisation, and fine-grained permissions that enable every action, message and data object to be validated.
The IoT modules provide functionality for data collection, including time-of-service and maintenance records, and device lifecycle management. The lifecycle management module comprises three main elements – over-the-air software update, application enablement and log collection – designed to accelerate device deployment and extend the longevity of in-field devices. By leveraging the platform foundation and using these pre-built modules only as needed, an organisation can efficiently create a customised IoT set-up.
The platform is initially targeted at industries that manage highly mobile, high-value resources, including the shipping and automotive markets. The platform’s asset tracking and connected car applications targeting those markets are just the first step in Blackberry’s IoT strategy.