BlackBerry doubles down on ‘Enterprise of Things’ IoT capabilities

BlackBerry is also deepening partner opportunities around what they call the Enterprise of Things, with their recent SHIELD Advisor accreditation, and an upcoming Secure Applications Integration Consultant capability.

Richard McLeod, VP of Global Enterprise Software Channel at BlackBerry.

WATERLOO – On Monday, at the BlackBerry Sales Summit for the company’s direct salespeople here, the company emphasized two principal themes in their Spring Launch – neither of which is new, but both of which are critical. First, they emphasized that under CEO John Chen, BlackBerry has completed its revival from what many analysts considered to be the brink of oblivion, and is driving forward with a proactive agenda. Secondly, what BlackBerry calls the Enterprise of Things – the purely enterprise use of the Internet of Things, which excludes its many consumer-focused applications – is a core aspect of that agenda.

“This has been a significant year for us,” said Mark Wilson. BlackBerry’s Chief Marketing Office. “The last fiscal year was the one where we said that our turnaround is now complete – from being a hardware company to a software one, and from being consumer-focused to being enterprise-focused. 85 per cent of our earnings in our last report were from enterprise software.” He noted that BlackBerry has had six consecutive quarters of operating profit, and has $2.5 billion in cash.

Wilson indicated as well that BlackBerry had good recognition from analysts in unified endpoint management, including the highest product scores from Gartner for all six use cases in its Critical Capabilities for High-Security Mobility Management for the second year in a row.

“We are also seeing  good traction in non-regulated as well as regulated ones, because these days. everybody now cares about security,” he said.

Wilson emphasized that BlackBerry’s focus in their Spring Launch continues to be on the B2B side of the Internet of Things, what the company calls the Enterprise of Things, and which the companies sees as central to the current wave of enterprise productivity, following earlier ones around computers, networks and the Internet and mobile/cloud.

“Our strategy continues to be around the Enterprise of Things,” Wilson said. “The question is how do we best leverage our DNA in mobile-first, highly-embedded systems, and bring it into enterprise use cases.”

Wilson identified three core ingredients that you need in the Enterprise of Things –things, security, and a digital transformation strategy.

“In each of these cases, we think there is an interesting play for BlackBerry,” he said. “Of the technical barriers to the Internet of Things, Number One – by a lot – is security. We want to play in providing the secure connectivity of things, where we secure all the security across collaborating organizations, reacting to changes in nature of the nature of the workplace, the workforce and workflows.”

Wilson cited the newly announced BlackBerry BRIDGE, which integrates Microsoft Office 365 applications within the BlackBerry Dynamics secure container for mobile apps, as an example of an Enterprise of Things workflow app.

“BRIDGE makes it easier for users, IT managers and developers to realize all the benefits of the Enterprise of Things,” he said. “BRIDGE provides a native experience in a highly secure way using BlackBerry, allowing users in highly secure environments to use Microsoft anywhere.”

In addition to BRIDGE, BlackBerry also announced additional new software capabilities aimed at enterprise users, IT administrators, and developers. They include a new Do Not Disturb feature in BlackBerry Work, which lets enterprises can block email and calendar notifications for their employees outside of normal business hours, and BlackBerry WorkLife, which allows outbound calls on a BYOD device to use an employee’s desk number, not their personal number, to keep their personal number private.

New endpoint management capabilities include zero-touch enrollment to deploy pre-configured and secure Android devices on-demand and at scale, the ability to manage IT notifications by phone, text, or  mobile from a single platform, and the ability to support and provide Apple iOS devices that can be easily shared by shift workers through a “check-in, check-out” process.

A new software platform for developers to build mission- and safety-critical systems, such as automotive systems, rail transportation controls, healthcare machines and industrial automation systems, BlackBerry’s QNX OS for Safety 2.0. was announced. So was BlackBerry Analytics, which lets developers understand how users interact with applications on a daily or monthly basis.

“With the Enterprise of Things, we are on a journey,” said Richard McLeod, VP of Global Enterprise Software Channel at BlackBerry. “Partners find it interesting that with it, we are moving up the application curve,  becoming much more business relevant, and providing stronger stickiness to the customer. Partners who have historically viewed us as a device management company see that we are now also looking at business transformation.

“At its core, the Enterprise of Things is all about securely connecting – and security relating to that,” McLeod continued. “A key issue is how you assess where risks are in this hyperconnectivity, so we are – enabling partners with the capability of doing risk assessment through our SHIELD Advisory Program.”

Launched earlier this year, the SHIELD Advisor accreditation is designed to help partners better manage risks and improve the security of workplace Internet of Things devices. It lets partners access BlackBerry’s mobile security framework and comprehensive IT risk assessment tools to provide risk assessment services to customers.

“The SHIELD Advisor program also provides partners with an opening to resell consulting services from Rory MacLeod’s direct Cybersecurity Services Group,” McLeod added. “We co-operate very closely with the direct Services Group and find them quite complementary, rather than competitive.”

Another accreditation related to the Enterprise of Things is on the near horizon.

“The real power of these solutions comes from the business analytics around them,” McLeod said. “We will be announcing later this quarter a BlackBerry Secure Applications Integration Consultant capability. That will be the next step on the journey.”