BlackBerry’s Project Ion is Their Foray Into “The Internet of Things”

Internet of things

BlackBerry is going in full kilt when it comes to the Internet of Things and what is coming next from QNX and its cloud backend. They just announced their first project called Project Ion at the O’Reilly Solid Conference in San Francisco where developers are being pitched the platform.

So I am sure you first question is “what the hell is project Ion?” or something along those lines. Turns out it is just a cloud backend with BlackBerry QNX that allows for easy communication between the QNX powered device and its cloud controller. Alec Saunders who is heading the initiative said that:

“We have stolen liberally from open source software in computing and networking that has been going on in the last couple of years. Many of them didn’t exist in the form we are using them in, 18 months ago.”

What they have done is taken the Cassandra database in a cluster with Kafka getting data back and forth along with Vert.x for programming (via JSON, C, Node, and others) and Solr for search. This is the full package that BlackBerry is trying to get developers to build their products on. Not a bad stack but QNX is really the secret sauce.

Check out the details in the press release below or their website:

BlackBerry Enables Businesses to Derive Value from the Internet of Things

New Project to Provide Secure Public Applications Platform and Resources for Real-Time Decisions

WATERLOO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – May 21, 2014) – BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ:BBRY)(TSX:BB), a world leader in mobile communications, today unveiled a series of initiatives, codenamed Project Ion, to help businesses easily connect people, devices and machines, and derive value from these connections. Project Ion is a cornerstone of BlackBerry’s vision to offer end-to-end solutions for the Internet of Things.
According to Forrester Research, Inc., "New smart products and the systems that connect them will eventually provide users with more personalized experiences. By collecting and combining both personal data and contextual information from the surrounding environment in real time, these products will give individuals experiences that serve them in their immediate moment of need."(1)
"As connectivity costs continue to fall and connected technologies become pervasive, a new market is emerging – the Internet of Things," said John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO, BlackBerry. "Billions of connections, generating trillions of transactions and exabytes of data daily, will require platforms that can operate securely on a global scale. No other company is in a better position than BlackBerry to provide the technological building blocks, applications and services needed to enhance productivity, improve real-time decision making and deliver on the vision of the Internet of Things."
Project Ion was announced at the O’Reilly Solid Conference (May 21-22, San Francisco). It will offer the resources necessary to access massive amounts of data from multiple disparate sources and distill it into meaningful, actionable information using open source and third party analytic tools. This deeper insight will empower companies and organizations across a range of industries. These include doctors and caregivers who require real-time diagnosis information to improve patient care, consumer products companies seeking new ways to better understand and engage with their customers, insurers pursuing more accurate risk profile information and manufacturers in need of better logistics and control data.
Project Ion will focus on developing a host of Internet of Things resources, including:

--  A secure public application platform that will enable a new generation
    of IoT applications that can access massive amounts of data from
    multiple sources and allow businesses to make timely, informed
    decisions. Powered by QNX(R) technology and BlackBerry secure enterprise
    mobility management, this platform will securely manage data from
    millions of end points across multi-device, multi-platform environments.
--  Facilitation of an Internet of Things ecosystem consisting of partners,
    carriers and application developers looking to connect an ever-growing
    number of Internet-enabled devices on a secure public applications
    platform. 
--  Strategic partnerships, including membership in the Industrial Internet
    Consortium(TM) (IIC), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to driving
    standards-based technologies for industry, academia and government to
    accelerate the development and availability of connected technologies.
    BlackBerry is also one of the founding members of the Application
    Developer Alliance (ADA), an association that focuses on advancing
    application development while helping to solve current challenges such
    as security and privacy.

Select partners and developers will soon have early access to the product component of Project Ion. To learn more about this project and to sign up for the product Beta, go to www.blackberry.com/project-ion.

(1) Frank Gillett: "Pioneer Vendors: Smart, Connected Products For The Internet Of Things," Jan. 2014

About BlackBerry

A global leader in mobile communications, BlackBerry(R) revolutionized the mobile industry when it was introduced in 1999. Today, BlackBerry aims to inspire the success of our millions of customers around the world by continuously pushing the boundaries of mobile experiences. Founded in 1984 and based in Waterloo, Ontario, BlackBerry operates offices in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. The company trades under the ticker symbols "BB" on the Toronto Stock Exchange and "BBRY" on the NASDAQ. For more information, visit www.blackberry.com.

Forward-looking statements in this news release are made pursuant to the "safe harbor" provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and applicable Canadian securities laws. When used herein, words such as "expect", "anticipate", "estimate", "may", "will", "should", "intend", "believe", and similar expressions, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on estimates and assumptions made by BlackBerry Limited in light of its experience and its perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as other factors that BlackBerry believes are appropriate in the circumstances. Many factors could cause BlackBerry’s actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, including those described in the "Risk Factors" section of BlackBerry’s Annual Information Form, which is included in its Annual Report on Form 40-F (copies of which filings may be obtained at www.sedar.com or www.sec.gov). These factors should be considered carefully, and readers should not place undue reliance on BlackBerry’s forward-looking statements. BlackBerry has no intention and undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

BlackBerry, QNX and related trademarks, names and logos are the property of BlackBerry Limited and are registered and/or used in the U.S. and countries around the world. All other marks are the property of their respective owners. BlackBerry is not responsible for any third-party products or services.

6 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. They’re trying to do a repeat of what they did with the smartphones: sell BES to those who need it to protect their IoT network, except that this is much bigger.

    They should be OK with that stack since Cassandra is what they use for BBM and vertical industries should be happy to have one secure solution, but I’m not sure they’d be happy with having just one vendor. Hopefully, everything will be standardised soon for other big players to use.

  2. Looking at a recent survey:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/21/ca-avg-technologies-idUSnPn2yG2t8+88+PRN20140521

    “Respondents were of the opinion that the top 5 devices that could present a security threat were: IP Phones (66 percent), CCTV (42 percent), Factory Equipment (34 percent), Sensors (31 percent) and Actuators (28 percent).”

    “The top reasons respondents associated with the IoT that are preventing small businesses from buying and implementing smart devices were cost (48 percent), security (51 percent) and fears about government monitoring (27 percent).”

    It looks like BlackBerry’s solution could cater for the needs of enterprises.

  3. Where did you find out information about their tech stack?

    • Saunders spilled the beans during an interview. They’re also using an undisclosed big cloud provider.

      Something else which hasn’t been mentioned is how BlackBerry will use its experience with Balance to segregate the information an end-point will have access to.

  4. I love my blackberry smartphone!!

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