BlackBerry could become a major M2M player, says CEO John Chen

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BlackBerry could become a major M2M player, says CEO John Chen

BlackBerry CEO John Chen says his plan for a turnaround includes a yet-to-be revealed machine-to-machine offering that he says will be a “major play”.

Chen yesterday talked to Vinod Mahanta of The Economic Times about his ongoing turnaround of the beleaguered device maker. He reiterated his dominant themes of late; that BlackBerry must focus on its core strengths of enterprise and security. But he also revealed that the company is working on a longer plan that goes beyond simply returning the company to profitability, which he expects will happen next year.

“…a turnaround isn’t just about being cash flow positive or creating a near-term strategy”, he said. “It’s thinking long-term and identifying what will help us leapfrog current trends and to be a leader and not a follower.”

“We also see long-term value in BlackBerry and in five years, we expect to have a major play in the M2M space. BlackBerry is well positioned to lead this charge as it looks to unite people and machines across the Internet of Things – from smartphones to in-vehicle telematics system ..”

BlackBerry’s QNX, which it acquired in 2010 from Harman International is already the backbone of its BlackBerry 10 platform and a world leader in the connected car space. Its customers include Porsche, BMW, Saab, Audi and Acura.

But the company also plays in other markets, including the medical device field, where its OS is used in retinal scanning devices, lasers for eye surgery and diagnostic equipment. GE uses QNX to control turbines, Caterpillar for surface mine control systems. QNX also powers nuclear power plants for Westinghouse and Atomic Energy of Canada.

Unlike the hyper competitive mobile space, M2M might offer BlackBerry a place where it has a lot of runway. According to research firm Markets and Markets, the worldwide M2M market is expected to reach $85.96 billion by 2017, a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 26.1% between 2012 to 2017. Cisco says the number of connected devices exceeded the world population by late 2012 and will rise to 15 billion by 2015 and 40 billion by 2020.

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