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BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB) Is Now So Much More Than Phones

The mere mention of BlackBerry  (TSX:BB)(NYSE:BB) typically brings memories of small keyboards and incredibly underpowered hardware devices that dominated the market long before both Android and iOS devices gobbled up the market.

Today, BlackBerry has reinvented itself as a promising tech company that is focused on its growing enterprise segment as well as maintaining its status as a leader in the realm of security. That’s not to say the company hasn’t been innovating further, because it has.

Here are some of the incredible technology projects that the Waterloo-based company is working on that more than justify the company as an incredible tech investment.

Could an Echo for the office be coming soon?

There has been an explosion of IoT devices in recent years, and the Echo from Amazon.com is still widely considered the device that brought massive adoption to the sector. Unfortunately, the Echo comes up short with respect to business users, which is one reason why we haven’t seen any significant adoption of the device in an office setting.

That might be changing soon, thanks to BlackBerry.

Company CEO John Chen alluded to this at the BlackBerry Security Summit this week, noting that a collaboration between BlackBerry and Amazon was in the works to integrate the converging enterprise and consumer worlds. That collaboration was charged with developing a BlackBerry Alexa-like device for the enterprise sector, with a Q1 2019 release to the market.

Several intriguing uses for such a device could include sending alerts to administrators, secure messaging via voice input, and assisting users with authentication-based tasks.

Increased security is coming

One of the growing trends in technology is what is known as “quantum computing.” These are essentially high-powered computers that are capable of doing significantly more calculations than a normal computer, bringing in a whole new era of computing possibilities. Unfortunately, as quantum computing gains in popularity, so too does the notion that these machines could be used to break past cryptographic methods commonly used today.

BlackBerry’s second announcement was the release of what it refers to a quantum-resistant code-signing service that offers some protection over that risk. Beyond the obvious benefits to organizations and sensitive corporate data, another key point to mention is that this new service has massive potential for future applications.

Our lives are becoming increasingly more integrated with computers, whether smartphones are connecting to devices, or vehicles are connecting to other vehicles or a growing number of home appliances. This movement is only going to increase, and the fact that BlackBerry is already working on securing that front has placed it in a prime position over potential competitors in the field.

BlackBerry adopting the blockchain?

A third announcement by BlackBerry this week holds massive promise for both the emerging technology known as the blockchain, as well as benefiting the growing need for medical research. A blockchain is effectively a public ledger of transactions, which is propagated to all client nodes on a network, making it virtually impossible to corrupt. The blockchain is arguably the hidden gem in the Bitcoin craze that hit markets last year, and the technology is being adopted in a wide variety of use cases.

In the case of BlackBerry, the company will leverage its massive NOC (Network Operation Center — otherwise known as the global infrastructure that keeps BlackBerry services and devices running when traditional carriers fail) to support the ledger. Patient data, labs, and information such as claims could be securely transmitted between end nodes, leveraging other IoT technologies like biometrics for authentication.

Bottom line: Should you invest?

BlackBerry has performed a complete turnaround from its former self, and the company is now revered by many as an enterprise-serving, high-margin, recurring-revenue, profitable company that has several innovative solutions around hardware, AI, IoT, and autonomous driving, which are sure to keep investors interested for at least a decade.

If that isn’t enough to consider an investment, then perhaps the stock’s 10% drop in the past week following a positive quarterly outlook should justify taking a small position in what is going to be an incredible growth driver for the next decade.

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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. David Gardner owns shares of Amazon. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon and BlackBerry. Fool contributor Demetris Afxentiou has no position in any stocks mentioned. BlackBerry is a recommendation of Stock Advisor Canada.

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