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Will BlackBerry Radar Put BlackBerry Back on the Radar?

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In early 2007, the status symbol of any self-respecting geek was the BlackBerry 8800 series smartphone. Available a few months ahead of the iPhone launch, it was also the last time BlackBerry could claim supremacy to Apple.

Until now.

BlackBerry is readying for the release of BlackBerry Radar, what it’s calling in its press release ”an end-to-end tracking system for trucking companies and private fleet operators”. Radar is an Internet of Things (IoT)-based platform that monitors the location of trailers and containers and delivers timely, actionable data to transportation managers via a secure, online portal. Radar allows trucking companies and logistics players to track location, temperature, humidity, and cargo presence.

With over 10 million trailers without tracking solutions in the U.S., there is tremendous upside for BlackBerry. However there is intense competition in the overall space from long time market participants like CalAmp and Xirgo, fleet specialists such as Spireon and Geotab, and carriers like AT&T and Verizon. And, challenging to the many companies transporting things, most of the companies in the fragmented market require their users to not only buy their hardware, but log in and gain visibility through their proprietary platforms. Companies in the transportation space, however, would prefer an end-to-end integrated system that’s easy to use and open, and that’s easy to integrate with other devices and applications they may be using.

BlackBerry's hardware is a standalone monitor that is installed on the door of a trailer and, once affixed, it connects directly to the mobile network. If the past is any indication of the future, BlackBerry Radar users will be able to provide visibility to dispatchers, retailers, warehouses, terminals, distribution centers, and others in the supply chain.

When Blackberry speaks of Radar, our team all has the belief that Radar reminds us of the systems expertise that gave BlackBerry its meteoric rise towards the middle of the last decade. Additionally, BlackBerry’s expertise in security, its pioneering development of push messaging and secure mail delivery and its expertise in imbedded automotive with QNX, positions BlackBerry well to succeed here.

QNX has an unmatched secure end-to-end system that delivers over-the-air software updates to automobile. With the average vehicle using 60 million to 100 million lines of software code, QNX helps the auto industry provide proactive maintenance updates without time consuming visit to the repair shop. This solution has been derived from our technology for updating 50 million mobile phones in over 100 countries.

Customers in trucking and logistics will benefit from the higher utilization of assets, improved efficiencies and enhanced return on investment. So while nearly every company claims to have an IoT strategy these days, with QNX, a developer network, and deep radio and location experience, Blackberry actually has the raw materials necessary to build a highly relevant IoT business.

So today, while BlackBerry may be currently focused with a niche (but growing) market like logistics, there’s no reason that this same system, and its underlying assets, can’t be leveraged horizontally across several other IoT-focused vertical markets. With its mobile, embedded systems and security knowledge base, plus it’s carrier and channel networks in place, could this be the start of a Blackberry resurgence?


Edited by Ken Briodagh

Founding Analyst and Chief Technology Evangelist

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