BlackBerry pins hopes on mobile ‘Enterprise of Things’

BlackBerry has launched a new mobile-native platform aimed at enterprises looking to secure communications between the network edge and their cloud applications. Dubbing this market the ‘Enterprise of Things’, the company says its BlackBerry Secure platform is the next step in the company’s transformation into a software-only business – and one that hinges on the IoT.

There’s not exactly a shortage of companies looking to sell communications technologies which will carry IoT messages from origin to application, but BlackBerry is hoping that its solid reputation in enterprise-grade software and particularly security will persuade corporations to sign on the dotted line. Along with its QNX automotive business, BlackBerry is allocating significant resources to pursuing the IoT as a core market.

BlackBerry has consigned its mobile phone division to the scrap heap, apart from its Nokia—style brand licensing deal with TCL of China – but is transferring its mobile skills to the new strategies, bolstering them with a number of acquisitions. These days, ‘smartphone’ is now longer mentioned at all in BlackBerry’s self-description, where it outlines itself as a “mobile-native security software and services company”.

The EoT BlackBerry Secure offering includes technoloy it has acquired from Good Technology, WatchDox, AtHoc and Encription. The company is also proclaiming its victory in a Gartner enterprise mobility report, where it placed first in all six use cases.

The services on offer range from simple device management and communications, all the way through to penetration testing and alerts – aiming to be compatible with all messaging and file types in order to appeal to as many customers as possible and break with the closed-walls past of BlackBerry’s heyday.

A key part of the appeal will be the promise of future-proofing applications built using the platform. BlackBerry says it is hoping to significantly expand the Secure platform’s features, as well as take it into new markets, and grow the partner ecosystem. With more business on board, and more partners looking to sell through the various channels, BlackBerry is evidently aiming to foster an ecosystem, rather than go it alone.

“Businesses must be able to confidentially and reliably transmit sensitive data between endpoints to keep people, information, and goods safe,” said John Chen, BlackBerry’s CEO, the man in charge of the aggressive commercial overhaul. “BlackBerry is uniquely qualified to address this emerging market now because of our deep experience, industry leadership, and ongoing product innovation.”

The list of new applications, which will be available in January, aim to provide a seamless experience across smartphones and PCs – although we’ll keep ears peeled for any installation headaches and outages that crop up. Whether they need to connect remote workers or remote gateways, BlackBerry hopes its solid reputation in security will win deals to connect company-wide assets to its IoT cloud offerings.