BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB)(NYSE:BB) has long been viewed by investors as a mixed opportunity. Long-time investors still burned from the epic drop that BlackBerry experienced in the years following 2011, when device sales dropped with each passing quarter as consumers and enterprise movers dropped the platform and moved to Android and iOS devices.
Over the course of the past year, BlackBerry’s business has not only stabilized, but has also shown signs of profitability, prompting many to view the company as a viable turnaround candidate.
Impressively, BlackBerry’s fortunes are no longer tied just to one initiative, but rather into several new areas that all show significant growth prospects.
BlackBerry has two new devices coming in 2018
Despite shuttering its hardware division well over a year ago, BlackBerry still has an impressive lineup of devices that continue to enter the market thanks to a series of partnerships established with third-party device manufacturers.
At CES earlier this month, BlackBerry revealed that there would be at least two new devices released in 2018 under that same successful partnership.
These partner manufacturers work with BlackBerry on designing new devices that the partner then builds and brings to market. This allows BlackBerry to retain a presence in the handset field as a niche player, and then focus on other areas where growth opportunities over the long term continue to persist, such as the automotive sector.
BlackBerry and the automotive sector
BlackBerry has been working feverishly on advancing the company in the automotive sector. BlackBerry’s QNX operating system is a secure, scalable system that is already in use in over 50 million vehicles. However, despite that massive market share, there’s an even bigger opportunity looming on the horizon for which BlackBerry has already made inroads.
Autonomous driving, and, by extension, secure communications between those self-driving cars and the myriad of systems in a vehicle is seen as the next evolutionary step in the automotive sector.
The past few years have seen a huge increase in the number of new safety and security systems offered in new vehicles. Many of these, such as Lane departure assist, active cruise control, self-parking controls and collision avoidance systems are merely the building blocks for a fully automated, self-driving car.
Linking those pieces together is where BlackBerry comes into play. QNX provides a secure and modular means of communication between those systems to occur in real-time. An example of this would be the vehicle sensing an upcoming obstacle and notifying the collision avoidance system to engage the breaks and then telling the lane departure system to move to a safer lane.
It sounds very much like science fiction, but these systems are real and already exist in a growing number of automobiles. BlackBerry has made significant progress over the past few months in bringing all these systems together.
Smart asset tracking
Another BlackBerry solution that’s gaining traction is an IoT asset tracking solution known as BlackBerry Radar. Radar is a tracking solution that allows real-time monitoring of any asset, whether it’s a shipping container, railcar or flatbed container, providing a host of requisite data ranging from temperature and humidity levels to speed and when a container door was last opened.
The solution has already proven successful for a number of clients and provides BlackBerry with yet another source of recurring revenue.