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Why the Future of BlackBerry Ltd. Will Surprise You

One of the things I truly admire about BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB)(NASDAQ:BBRY) is the resilience to survive the company has demonstrated over the past few years.

BlackBerry has long been associated with the smartphones it used to design and manufacturer. That all changed this past fall when BlackBerry announced that it was exiting the hardware business directly but would still work with partners that would design and manufacture devices to be released with the BlackBerry name.

With hardware taking on less importance, several other segments have emerged that will drive revenue for the company over the next decade. Some of these may surprise you.

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept of everyday devices being inter-connected to each other and the internet, feeding information and diagnostics back and forth. This could be a smart oven that starts heating dinner when you are within a few minutes of reaching home, or your car requesting a service appointment directly after consulting your calendar. The sheer number of possibilities for this technology are endless.

Upwards of 50 billion smart devices will be in the market within the next decade, which represents a huge opportunity for companies.

BlackBerry has capitalized on the opportunity the IoT represents through BlackBerry Radar. BlackBerry Radar is essentially an IoT-enabled asset tracking solution that allows shipping containers, trucks, or any other asset to be tracked across the globe in real time. The device is affixed to containers and provides real-time updates. It can sense movement, such as a container being opened, and temperature and humidity changes; and it provides software updates over the air when needed.

Software updating is another key element of BlackBerry’s IoT strategy. Through the company’s experience with the QNX platform, BlackBerry already has years of experience performing remote updates that can be pushed to devices of any nature. When factoring in BlackBerry’s extensive private network that spans the globe, an opportunity to be a leader in secure IoT communications and updates begins to emerge.

Security consulting

If there’s one area where BlackBerry excels at, it is security. The company is well known and respected for putting security at the forefront of any product release, which customers have come to expect and trust.

Earlier this year, BlackBerry launched a cybersecurity consulting arm, which continues to draw in new business for the company. Cybersecurity is an area that is often taken for granted and neglected by businesses, at least until they fall victim to an attack. The recent widespread DDOS attack on Dyn as well as the highly publicized hacks during the recent U.S. presidential election reminded us of the importance of taking adequate security measures.

BlackBerry’s Cybersecurity arm performs a wide variety of services, ranging from penetration testing and forensic services to providing training and certification services for companies.

Healthcare

Few people realize that BlackBerry has a working relationship with the healthcare industry that has massive potential over the long term. BlackBerry already has 1,000 hospitals and most of the Fortune 500 companies in the medical sector as clients, and, given the increasingly important role of security in the healthcare field, this figure is likely to continue to grow over time.

BlackBerry currently provides a myriad of solutions for healthcare professionals, including secure messaging, alert and emergency preparedness notifications, secure information exchange, and secure application access.

These solutions offer increased communication and security across medical professionals, patients, and first responders.

Beyond these emerging areas, BlackBerry continues to focus on building a larger audience for the company’s existing enterprise offerings, which have surpassed other segments in terms of revenue in recent quarters.

In my opinion, BlackBerry represents a unique opportunity for investors seeking long-term growth, and it can withstand volatility in the short term.

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Fool contributor Demetris Afxentiou has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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