BlackBerry has announced a series of initiatives, for now under an umbrella code-named "Project Ion," that will focus on helping people and businesses benefit from the information it's possible to collect from the ever-growing number of connected devices and machines—from the Internet of things (IoT).
"Billions of connections generating trillions of transactions and exabytes of data daily will require platforms that can operate securely on a global scale," BlackBerry CEO John Chen said in a May 21 statement, released to coincide with the O'Reilly Solid Conference in San Francisco.
"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," Chen continued.
Project Ion, said BlackBerry, 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."
BlackBerry expects these tools to empower organizations across a range of verticals, from health care to manufacturing.
Among the resources Project Ion plans to develop are:
• A secure, QNX-powered public application platform that will be able to access data from multiple sources, enabling businesses to make more timely, informed decisions.
• An IoT ecosystem consisting of carriers, application developers and other partners all focused on connecting connected devices on a secure and public applications platform.
• Strategic partnerships that will accelerate the development and availability of connected technologies.
BlackBerry is already a member of the Application Developers Alliance (ADA), an organization focused on advancing application development, and said another key partner will be the Industrial Internet Consortium, a nonprofit focused on driving standards-based technologies that will help industry, academia and government.
"Today thermostats and smartphones have the capability to talk to each other. Tomorrow virtually all of our devices will be connected," Alec Saunders said in a blog post and at the conference.
Once head of Developer Relations, Saunders is now vice president of the QNX Cloud business Chen introduced in January, stating that while there are 5 billion handsets in the world, there may 500 billion devices presenting "a tremendous opportunity for an organization."
Saunders continued, "We're already starting to see trends—imagine a world where your contact lenses can measure glucose levels, your car has always-on 4G LTE and even dairy cows are connected to the Internet to make sure they're as healthy as possible."
Unfortunately, he added, much of the traditional technology around IoT is "expensive, usually proprietary, custom built and often confined by the boundaries of the enterprise firewall."
Project Ion, he added, wants to put customers at the center of the IoT experience and "offer tools and resources to securely connect millions of devices and distill information for real-time decisions."
More information is to come, said BlackBerry. For now, it's pointing interested parties to a new Web page for Project Ion and asking: What is your vision for the Internet of things?