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A Glimpse of “30 Ways QNX Touches Your Life”


Mike Lazaridis never fails to point out in recent interviews that practically everybody is using QNX and just doesn’t know it. Luis did some digging and came across a nice list on QNX’s website that they published for their 30th anniversary back in June of last year. Keep in mind this list is about 6 months old and was put out only a few months after RIM’s acquisition in April of 2010. Still I kind of get a kick out of the fact that RIM now owns the backbone software for many critical services we all rely on. Personally my favorite is the fct that OnStar is based on QNX… but now I am kind of wondering if the LASIK surgery I did two years ago was using a QNX system. 🙂

So what are you waiting for check out the list below:

People encounter QNX technology every day when they:

  1. Use Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube — QNX technology provides the software foundation for the world’s highest-capacity routers, which handle the data, voice, and video traffic for hundreds of millions of Internet users every day.
  2. Flip a light switch — QNX technology controls thousands of power-generation systems worldwide, from wind turbines to nuclear stations to hydroelectric plants.
  3. Call for help — By leveraging the unmatched reliability of QNX technology, 9 1 1 dispatch systems deliver emergency assistance 24/7, nonstop.
  4. Call for help on the road — The QNX-based OnStar system, deployed in dozens of car models, automatically calls for help in a crash and can even provide emergency responders with the car’s exact location.
  5. Use green energy — QNX-based power-grid simulators help utilities integrate electricity from solar panels, wind farms, and other renewable energy sources.
  6. Save gas — QNX-based traffic control systems reduce fuel consumption by optimizing traffic flow, minimizing traffic jams, and reducing waits at intersections.
  7. Eat a jelly donut — QNX-based food inspection systems detect dangerous contaminants and can even spot items with missing ingredients, such as jelly donuts that have no jelly.
  8. Get a caffeine fix — Car navigation systems based on QNX technology not only provide automatic route selection and turn-by-turn directions, but can even track down the nearest coffee shop if you’re thirsting for a latté.
  9. Shop online — Online retailers like and Avnet rely on QNX-based warehouse automation systems to move massive amounts of merchandise every day.
  10. Watch TV — QNX technology keeps couch potatoes happy, controlling television stations, delivering cable signals, and even powering universal remotes.
  11. Watch an action flick — QNX technology powers motion-control systems that create some of Hollywood’s most spectacular special effects and stunts.
  12. Take a train — From high-speed trains to subway cars, QNX-based systems go the distance, controlling locomotives and coordinating railway traffic.
  13. Fly in a plane — QNX technology is at the core of pilot-training simulators and air-traffic control systems worldwide.
  14. Board a boat — QNX-based navigation and radar systems keep cruise ships on course by helping crews navigate through fog, bad weather, and narrow estuaries.
  15. Buy shoes — Footwear vendors like ASICS and Brown Shoe rely on QNX-based warehouse systems to move their products from the factory floor to the shoe store.
  16. Keep cool in the checkout line — QNX technology controls the HVAC systems in many of the biggest big-box stores in North America.
  17. Stay connected while driving — Using innovative QNX software, car infotainment systems connect seamlessly to Bluetooth phones, MP3 players, USB sticks, and a variety of other devices and services.
  18. Build a sundeck — Using QNX-based machine-vision systems, sawmill operators extract the maximum amount of lumber from every tree.
  19. Mail a letter — QNX technology helps mail-sorting machines push the performance envelope, processing up to 40,000 letters per hour.
  20. Visit the doctor — QNX technology brings reliability to a host of diagnostic devices, including ECG machines, angiography systems, cardiac monitors, and bone density analyzers.
  21. Take medicine — QNX-based vision systems scan for defects in a variety of manufactured products, from pharmaceutical blister packs to the lids of peanut butter jars.
  22. Get better — QNX-based cancer treatment devices use proton beams to target tumors precisely, without damaging nearby organs.
  23. Wash socks — A QNX-based system automatically configures control panels for washing machines and tests each panel to make sure it functions correctly.
  24. Breathe clean air — QNX-based building-automation systems help factories, universities, and other large facilities slash power consumption by up to 50%, reducing the amount of fossil fuels burned for electricity.
  25. Go to college — Students and professors worldwide use QNX technology to perform medical research, explore new forms of energy generation, and even discover new planets.
  26. See better — Using a QNX-based LASIK system, doctors perform bladeless laser surgery to help people reduce their dependency on glasses and contact lenses.
  27. Buy a book — Bookstores throughout North America rely on QNX-based point-of-sale systems to deliver highly personalized service to their customers.
  28. Play video poker — QNX technology powers intercasino gaming systems that can pay out multi-million-dollar winnings, with zero tolerance for error.
  29. Drive over a bridge — QNX technology helps reduce drawbridge congestion by controlling automated bridge raising systems.
  30. Go for a digital drive — QNX-based digital instrument clusters are changing the face of in-car computing, combining virtual speedometers with navigation displays, backup cameras, and other content to provide drivers with the most appropriate information for every drive mode or road condition.

On a side note you might want to check out QNX’s previous 25 ways QNX touches your life or their blog post from CES highlighting the car companies showing off products at CES with QNX built in. I was also kind of impressed with how many companies went on the record congratulating QNX on their 30th anniversary.

All in all QNX seems like a huge deal for RIM. I am really excited for 2012 when my phone will hopefully be running QNX and never have to reboot… That is my dream a phone that NEVER has to reboot.

8 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Great post Ronen! I knew QNX was huge, but man that’s an impressive list. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hmmm… QNX used for treatment of cancer? Wonder how Steve Jobs feels when QNX is helping him through his Cancer Treatments? I just get a kick out of this! How is it that he supposedly made this State of the Art OS, but it is not used in fields like cancer treatment? Tisk, Tisk, Tisk… How the World Turns. Just remember Steve Jobs, RIM just might be your savior!!!

    • Taking it a bit far aren’t we? No need for that.

      QNX is definitely a great acquisition for RIM. With the microkernel structure, no more long boot-ups! No more needing to reboot after installing a program. No need for battery pulls. Can’t wait to see this in smartphone form.

      Since RIM owns it now, does that change their work in the fields that Ronen as noted in the list? Are they going to be more focused on RIM’s projects? I wasn’t sure what the terms were for the acquisition.

      • I think it is not absorbed in to RIM and will not be, they are left as a subsidiary and will continue that way because they have other revenue streams like automotive and other industries

  3. Yeah not sure what QNX is up to but so far it seems like they are losing no steam in getting into more cars.

  4. I wonder besides car and phones, where else will it expand to?

  5. @Joe:
    That makes sense, I realize now they probably wouldn’t just throw away all their other projects to focus on RIM products.

    It makes me wonder whether or not RIM is thinking about getting into these “embedded systems” as well in a bigger way? We all thought (well me anyway) RIM bought QNX only for its OS capabilities on the Playbook, but maybe they also bought it to tap into the market the QNX currently is a leader (as evidenced by all the things on your list).

  6. That’s an awesome investment RIM made. It will pay off for decades to come. I want QNX to touch my life with a Playbook in my hands.

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