There’s no denying that we are reaching a point in our civilization where everything will be able to communicate with everything else. Even inanimate objects like refrigerators and cars will be able to communicate with other devices.
This is what’s called the Internet of Things (IoT). It is the interconnection of independent computing devices with the Internet. A classic use case is having a blood pressure machine at home that transmits the results to your doctor, who may be in a different city or even a different state.
IoT could be revolutionary. And one company that I believe will reap the benefits of IoT is BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB)(Nasdaq:BBRY).
It’s all about that software
Marc Andreessen, the famous venture capitalist, is known for saying that software will eat the world. And that’s very clear now with the cloud allowing for seamless data transmission.
But the problem is security. Do you really want your medical records streaming back and forth through the cloud without some assurances that it’s safe?
BlackBerry excels at that. It has always been really great at security and with its QNX operating system, hardware companies can easily connect to the cloud without worry. BlackBerry has made it a very secure operating system.
What’s great is that Ford is already doing this. It used to use Microsoft’s Windows, but now it has put QNX in its cars. Cars connected to the Internet are already starting to exist.
Project Ion and market potential
BlackBerry is working on what it calls Project Ion, which is a secure public platform built on QNX. This is meant to nurture an IoT environment. In other words, Project Ion is likely what will offer the medical device company or the refrigerator company the capability to seamlessly connect those devices to the Internet.
Now all this sounds farfetched. Why would someone want his or her refrigerator connected to the Internet?
Say you’re driving your Internet-connected car home and your daughter just finished the milk. Your IoT refrigerator knows this and sends a message to your car to warn you that you’re out of milk. You stop at the next grocery store and buy milk.
For all of that to happen, it will require devices connecting to the Internet and a secure operating system: QNX.
The CEO of Cisco believes that there will be 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020. And he says that the Internet of Things can be a US$19 trillion market. Every single one of those devices is going to need a strong operating system. BlackBerry has that.
Should you buy?
Because of this, I believe that BlackBerry is a buy. The short-term will continue to be tumultuous. The price will rise and fall like it always does. But while it has lost the focus of American people, one day no one will even know that it’s BlackBerry that makes it possible for their devices to connect to the Internet.