These days Blackberry is mostly discussed in the context of what might have being. A behemoth that is slowly dying but still trudging on in the face of horrendous odds. That is why it is so admirable to see it trying to leverage on its vast networked infrastructure to build the Blackberry IoT (Internet of things), formerly known as Project ION which was launched in May 2014.
The Blackberry IoT will initially be deployed to the automotive and asset-tracking industries only. From the above one can easily surmise that this is some form of GPS technology but on a mighty scale. Actually this is much more than the regular GPS which has being around for a long time. Even before the advent of the new generation of smartphones.
To understand how huge a punt the Canadian company is taking with the Blackberry IoT, it is only fair that one starts from the beginning. The question at the top is, what is the Internet of things or IoT for short?
In its most basic term, IoT is the phrase used to describe all the gadgets and devices that are connected to each other and to the Internet and do not require human instructions to tell them to upload the information to the World Wide Web. This is done automatically. This is a huge operation involving millions and millions of devices world wide. This might sound scary as it brings up visions of machines or inanimate devices corroborating to ultimately take over from mankind.
It might never come to that frightening scenario though. By adding just a basic RFID chip to all kinds of devices right up to the integration of complicated processors to sophisticated gadgets, IoT can be applied to practically anything in our everyday lives.
Take for instance your personal workspace in the office. With the IoT installed, your office can automatically adjust to your personal preferences to suit you. It would always make sure the heat in the office is at a particular temperature. It can also adjust the brightness of lights in the office according to your preference. The IoT can also tell when somebody steps into your space and inform you through a message on your smartphone if you are not in the office at that time. A form of anti-theft you might say. All these activities are of course uploaded to the Internet for communications with other devices automatically. That, in a nutshell, is a tiny bit of what IoT can do.
The Blackberry IoT project actually started when Blackberry acquired QNX in 2010 to provide a backbone for its Blackberry 10 operating system and to use as the software to control the infotainment system in cars. The latest project is just the natural evolution of what started in 2010. The Blackberry IoT has now evolved to QNX RTOS (real time operating system) which is very widely used among OEMs who have staked their reputation on the fact that it would be able to handle critical situations.
What Blackberry considers as an edge in Project IoT is, a.its wide network infrastructure which is capable of handling up to 30 petabytes of information per month and b. It’s (Blackberry’s) excellent device management cycle. The next stage for the Blackberry IoT is to expand the service to include two very lucrative niches, the ever expanding health care sector and the energy market that is daily integrating IT technology into its infrastructure worldwide.
We can only wish Blackberry IoT all the best. It is always a heartwarming thing to see tech giants trying to roll out products and services intended to make life and business easier. Even if most times they fail to tell us that the bottom line for them is the money they hope to make from consumers.