Don’t count BlackBerry out just yet. The company has a plan to own the next generation of Internet-connected gadgets using its QNX platform, which already powers BlackBerry 10 OS and a good percentage of car infotainment systems. The Canadian company announced the new system, called “Project Ion,” on Wednesday at the O’Reilly Solid Conference in San Francisco.
BlackBerry hopes to use Project Ion to power the upcoming “Internet of Things,” which refers to the belief that in the near future everything from our appliances to our jewelry could come with Internet-connected chips and sensors. Using QNX, BlackBerry wants to combine personal and contextual data to provide a platform any company can use to power its devices. Here’s what BlackBerry envisions Project Ion will work toward:
- 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 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 (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.
It’s nice to see BlackBerry looking to the future for once instead of just playing defense, but we’re not entirely sold on Project Ion. At the moment, it seems that Google is far better positioned to control the Internet of Things — especially since Android seems to have found its way into the crevices of every major electronic and appliance around — ranging from smart TVs to refrigerators and even, soon, Android Wear smartwatches. BlackBerry’s biggest advantage is likely its reputation as a secure network, but we’re not so sure the promise of security stands a chance against Google’s massive data operation.