Blackberry Platform Tracks a Car Down to Its Steering Wheel Positions

Jan 08, 2015 10:00 AM EST | Jordan Ecarma

Blackberry is getting in on the Internet of things in a big way--connecting and tracking devices and cars through a new platform that uses the QNX operating system.

Unveiled as part of CES, the new platform combines the QNX system already used in more than 50 million vehicles with Blackberry's secure network and its device-management software, the company said in a statement.

Ford recently ditched Microsoft after years of complaints about its in-vehicle software in favor of Blackberry's QNX  for the new Sync 3 infotainment system. Now QNX will track vehicles and devices in industries including healthcare and shipping services. 

"By combining the BlackBerry global network and device lifecycle management proficiency with the embedded software experience of QNX, we have built a modular, cloud-based platform that gives customers the chance to build [Internet of things] applications in a secure, efficient and scalable way," said Matt Hoffman, vice president of strategy and marketing at BlackBerry Technology Solutions.

Once the leader of the smartphone world, Blackberry has since seen its global market share fall to 1 percent. CEO John Chen is working to diversify the company and believes the Internet of things will help Blackberry grow, Bloomberg reported.

The new Internet of things platform is being tested at hospitals to connect medical devices. In the future, the system could be used to track shipping containers and provide detailed analytics for vehicles. The platform could purportedly document everything from music to air conditioning preferences to the position of the seat and steering wheel.

The system will initially be geared toward the shipping and automotive industries as well as the fields of healthcare and green energy.

QNX software, which is used in General Motors' OnStar in-vehicle system and Ford's new Sync 3, is forecast to increase from more than 16 million units in 2013 to 56 million in 2020, Egil Juliussen of IHS Automotive said in a statement.

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