BlackBerry lays out its next steps for IoT world domination

(Image credit: Future)

The head of BlackBerry has outlined more detail of how the company is continuing its transition into a true software giant.

Speaking at the recent BlackBerry World Tour event in London, CEO John Chen outlined the rapid pace the company has enjoyed over the past 12 months in accelerating its push into the IoT and security spaces.

Since leaving its mobile hardware operations back in 2015, BlackBerry has focused largely on software, with its Spark security platform hoping to help simplify protecting the IoT.

Managing all

Chen declared that his company already has over half a billion endpoints connected and protected across the globe. “This is actually a conservative number for BlackBerry,” he added, “think about the number of BlackBerry devices out there, and 150 million cars with QNX installed...we have a very healthy stock.”

The BlackBerry chief went on to outline the company’s vision of providing all parts of the endpoint security architecture, whether that be secure communications, a zero-trust platform, or authentication/identity management.

“We are now in every piece,” he noted, “(but) the whole idea is to make sure that we have a stack that is capable of managing all endpoints and securing all endpoints for IoT application.”

“We’re making good progress, and you’ll see that continuing for at least the foreseeable future.”

(Image credit: Future)

The event came months after BlackBerry completed the acquisition of AI security experts Cylance, a deal which widened BlackBerry’s knowledge in the industry no end. Joking that his CTO told him it would be quicker and easier to spend $1.4billion “of my hard-earned money” on Cylance than funding years of internal research, Chen outlined exactly what made the Californian company so appealing.

Chen noted that Cylance’s ability to work both in the cloud but also on-premise, as well as both online and offline, makes its technology ideal for the growing IoT network, with some industries, such as government and smart cities, needing to have security-conscious apps locked down offline.

BlackBerry will now look to leverage Cylance’s AI and machine learning expertise into its UEM platform by CES 2020 in January, with Chen saying he hopes to launch a mobile-based detection (MTD) service at the show.

“This is probably one of the most important things for the future,” he declared, noting that the system would bring machine learning and predicting capabilities into the MTD platform. One of the first visible use cases of the technology would concern monitoring the cybersecurity health status of new vehicles, many of which still rely on a constant stream of OTA updates to keep their systems up to date.

“We do need the technology,” Chen noted, “we need it for endpoint management and the IoT infrastructure…(Cylance) is such a key component of our future, we had to acquire it.”

“This is just the beginning."

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.