BlackBerry says it can take back-end software development off the to-do lists of enterprises that want to take advantage of the Internet of Things. On Wednesday, the company showed off concept software for a cloud-based service on which enterprises will be able to create IoT applications. That service, due by the end of next February, is designed to get customers over the development hump to collecting data from networked machines and making use of it to improve their operations. BlackBerry says it will be able to securely manage data from millions of end points across multi-device, multi-platform environments.
The demonstration at a conference in San Francisco marked the debut of Project Ion, a series of initiatives to inject BlackBerry into the hot IoT industry where some of the biggest names in technology are already active. The 30-year-old mobile company, best known for its once-dominant business handsets, comes to IoT through its QNX division, which provides operating systems for industrial equipment and vehicles. The hope for IoT is to collect data about machines and human activity in real time, from many sites, and derive insights from it to better run operations and serve customers. But with a wide range of sensors and other connected equipment in the field, and floods of different kinds of data, that's not an overnight task. IoT cheerleader Cisco Systems plans to introduce an application enablement platform in the next few months. BlackBerry sees its own opportunity to help make IoT happen.