In a recent webinar, Steve West, Senior Director of Business Development for QNX Cloud, gave a high level case for why BlackBerry and QNX are well positioned to help facilitate the full potential of the Internet of Things.
At first glance, QNX and BlackBerry might seem like a company with a split personality. BlackBerry has been focused on enterprise, while QNX still seems to be on the consumer side of things with its infotainment systems for automotive. The combined expertise of both companies nicely intersects at the Internet of Things because it combines their relative experience with security, scalability and reliability. In fact, the vision QNX and BlackBerry have for IoT is enterprise at its core and was best showcased in a case study for the Orlando Brewing Company.
The IoT work that QNX will facilitate with QNX Cloud and Project Ion is about productivity and making enterprise more efficient. Sure, IoT is also about consumer when it comes to devices like wearables and automated coffee makers, but QNX Cloud is more about helping the startups and developers who are making those products possible.
So what is Project Ion? Well, we actually still don't really know. All we know so far is that Project Ion is a combination of QNX Cloud, strategic partnerships and a few other unknown announcements. In terms of strategic partnerships, we know that BlackBerry has joined the Industrial Internet Consortium and there's a cloud partner for QNX Cloud soon to be announced. It's silly but fun to speculate and my guess is that Amazon will soon be announced as a cloud partner for QNX Cloud, allowing developers to host their IoT projects with Amazon or BlackBerry depending on their preference. Considering Amazon and BlackBerry have recently announced an app licensing deal, it's not far fetched that a cloud partnership is on the table as well.
Regardless of whether it's Amazon or BlackBerry handling the infrastructure, massive scalability is the key to IoT. In fact, have we ever seen anything in the history of technology scale to this level? Personal computers as an industry is a couple billion but that's nothing compared to what IoT will become when we connect everything that was previously unconnected. We're talking billions of devices, trillions of transactions and exabytes of data.
With so many connected devices and such a huge amount of data, you have to wonder how this will affect the networks. Again, this problem plays to BlackBerry's strengths. BlackBerry has a history of being efficient with data. Remember back in the day when Mike Lazaridis was warning of a network crunch? BlackBerry made great efforts to shrink data and be data-friendly with the carriers. It's this history that will make IoT work.
If you've been following BlackBerry through the launch of BlackBerry 10, you surely came across VP of Developer Relations, Alec Saunders. Alec has moved to QNX to lead the QNX Cloud team and we'll likely see a lot of the same bravado applied to getting IoT makers and developers on board with QNX Cloud. While we haven't heard much since his last presentation at O'Reilly's Solid Conference, we're expecting a beta late August, early September.