Canada remains the largest market for BlackBerry’s asset monitoring solutions for transportation and logistics, but the company has expanded its channel for Radar beyond Canada and the U.S. for the first time, to Mexico.
BlackBerry continues to expand the channel distribution for BlackBerry Radar, one of its newer products – and the last hardware solution that BlackBerry still sells. The company just announced over a dozen new partners have enlisted in the last six months, including two in Mexico. Those mark the first time that BlackBerry has expanded the Radar channel outside of Canada and the U.S.
BlackBerry launched Radar in 2016 as a secure asset tracking solution designed to improve supply chain visibility, and significantly broadened the portfolio last year.
“BlackBerry Radar was born out of the legacy of BlackBerry,” said Christopher Plaat, BlackBerry Radar’s SVP and GM. “It is the last remaining hardware device we sell, and it incorporates the history of BlackBerry.” It utilizes BlackBerry’s QNX embedded OS and fits into the company’s overall strategy of delivering secure point management throughout the enterprise, in this case around the transportation and logistics industry specifically.
As a relatively new product, and one limited to a specific vertical, it’s still a small part of overall BlackBerry revenues at this point.
“We are still not a large part of the overall business, but we have large growth aspirations and have been growing,” Plaat said. “The expectation is that we will contribute to both the top and bottom line.”
Plaat said that the importance of this kind of supply chain visibility product is underscored at this particular point in time, with the pandemic-induced instability in global supply chains.
“We understand the importance of improving the efficiency of global supply chains and provide asset visibility to make them more efficient,” he stated. “That’s especially important at this time, with the global supply chain having so much impact on all our daily lives.”
It’s a market where much of the competition comes from outside the traditional IT industry.
“The transportation companies have tried to provide visibility through manual and paper processes, and there are a number of competitors specifically in the transportation technology segment, who have been in this space for a while,” Plaat said.
BlackBerry believes that Radar has a major competitive edge over these OT [operational technology] companies, however.
“A big part of our competitive advantage is the BlackBerry legacy experience in designing a reliable, secure solution,” Plaat said. “That’s an important issue in this industry with high capital assets that you keep for years. The ROI is very good for a reliable solution like ours.”
The Go-to-Market objective is to have approximately a 50-50 split in Radar sales between BlackBerry’s channel partners and its direct sales force. BlackBerry Radar partners typically sell only this particular solution.
“Our Radar partners are transportation and logistics specialists focused on this market, and not necessarily on other BlackBerry solutions,” Plaat said. “We target partners who have a position in this particular market and are currently selling other services to an established customer base. Radar is complementary to the other things they sell.”
The new partners double the size of the Radar channel.
“Our channel is focused on North America, and we now have good geographic coverage in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico,” Plaat said. “We don’t expect partners to sell internationally without our approval.”
The new partners include the first Radar partners in Mexico. Inroute México focuses on in-cab trucking telematics solutions for the Mexican market, while Sitrack, a Mexican distributor, becomes Radar’s first international distributor, and can offer the solution more broadly in the Mexican market.
The other new partners include Canadian ones. Two are based in the Greater Montreal area, AttriX and Targipsum. Others include Edmonton-based integrator Gray Box Solutions and Waterloo-based The Owl Solutions, which, name notwithstanding, is a B2B SaaS company with an analytics-as-a-service platform for supply chain management.
Plaat said that BlackBerry partners who don’t even sell Radar should find this announcement of interest.
“It’s important that BlackBerry is expanding its channel and extending it into new markets,” he said. “In addition, BlackBerry still has an important position in Canada, as well as a legacy. Canada is still our largest market and a high percentage of our Radar customers are Canadian-based transportation companies like CP. We are also looking to add additional partners in Canada in the right markets.”