BlackBerry is taking the same approach with its Internet of Things platform, launched Wednesday at International CES, as it is with its handset business: Aim at its core markets.
In IoT, the struggling mobile vendor has found an emerging area of technology where it may have the right combination of strengths. The company signaled as much last May when it announced Project Ion, a future cloud-based service it said would make it easier for enterprises to develop IoT software.
The results of that project, which involved beta testing by several customers, have been folded into a product called simply the BlackBerry IoT Platform, set for availability in April. The cloud-based system was announced at the biggest consumer technology show in the world along with some device and messaging news closer to the spirit of CES. But apart from some plans for messaging on wearables, the company’s IoT story steered clear of Las Vegas gadget fever.
Its target market in IoT, at least for now, is squarely within familiar territory: connected cars and asset tracking.
BlackBerry’s QNX business is a powerhouse in automotive as well as industrial embedded software, and the company as a whole has been rediscovering its unsexy enterprise roots. That trend continued on Wednesday with the introduction at AT&T of its BlackBerry Classic and an updated version of its chunky Passport smartphone. Both sport the company’s trademark physical keyboard, and the AT&T Passport, though it gets rounded corners, is still pretty square. The company did give a nod to consumer tech, saying its BBM messaging will be available on Android Wear smart watches.