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BlackBerry's Project Ion aims to build a secure app platform for the 'Internet of Things'

BlackBerry Q10 with connected devices
By Simon Sage on 21 May 2014 01:33 pm EDT
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BlackBerry has announced a big step into the Internet of Things today with a new initiative called "Project Ion". The details of the project are scarce for now, but the goal is to create a modern, extensible framework for machine-to-machine communication. If you want to know what that means, just check out Connectedly, where we're taking a good look at a broadening world of smart devices. In the enterprise space, most of M2M systems are old and proprietary, but BlackBerry is looking to recruit partners eager to get into (or expand their presence in) the internet of things.

Project Ion consists of three parts. The first part is a cloud-based solution powered by QNX. The second is a partnership ecosystem that brings together carriers, app developers, and other partners. The third involves partnerships with larger associations, like the Industrial Internet Consortium and the Application Developers Alliance.

Something like this has been in the cards since BlackBerry acquired QNX years ago. The operating system is deep inside secure environments across many industries, and BlackBerry's play to expand into them has yet to be fully realized. Project Ion holds a lot of promise in that sense, but it really depends on who BlackBerry manages to recruit to the cause. No doubt there are industrial solutions providers eager to modernize, but will Project Ion also appeal to the sexy consumer side of wearables?

Parties interested in getting involved with Project Ion can sign up over here. What would you guys like to see come out of this program?

Source: BlackBerry

Reader comments

BlackBerry's Project Ion aims to build a secure app platform for the 'Internet of Things'

124 Comments

Agreed spreading themselves too thin on hardware is not a good move but software definitely.

I don't care if other people want a bb10 device I wanted one and that's all that matters.

There you are!

Swiped via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing  )  ‎BlackBerry Q10...oh wait a sec....its my new  BlackBerry Z30 (STA100-5), son! The holy grail of phones! Once you go BlackBerry, everything else is wack-berry! LOL! #longestsignatureever

I agree that it doesn't mean hardware but should include incorporating some. That article pic makes think that a great use would be if you had a wifi-enabled sd card or camera that it can work through your phone to automatically backup your photos to a cloud. I think there is probably already iphone and android apps for that, but would be nice for that kind of function to be built into all new BB devices. I personally don't care for smart watches. I find digital watches kind of tacky. All of my watches are things like Seiko Chronographs. I love analog watches...

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10

There can be no talk of wearable devices from BlackBerry until they start making a profit again. You can believe once they do return to profitability. A lot if surprises will come along with it. Until then the market makers don't want to hear it.

C0007CCC8 PING BlackBerry info Channel

Wow!
Now we're finally talking High Tech! I love it.
Congratulations BlackBerry for pushing QNX into the infrastructure (before Google does...they keep trying)!
Hope the market will really understand what a difference QNX can make.
The so called "Things" to communicate on the internet with each other couldn't find a better platform then a QNX based one in terms of scalability, reliability, performance and security.
It's really (by far) superior by design!
We'll see those "Things" inter-operate lightening fast on this architecture.
They just need sockets, no Google "helper" proxies (hopefully!) on this real-time, QNX powered Service BUS.
Hope we'll get there soon.
QNX forever, wherever... as it deserves, right at the heart of the next generation of Internet. The serious one.
A strategic step into the right direction for the sake of freedom and privacy protection.
Thank you very much.

That is the issue with BlackBerry of lately Too much talk in qnx cloud and services. Nothing being delivered no revenue based on it thus it's not making sense (because it's not making dollars).

I want deliverables I want execution I want signed partners because that means both parties are putting their money where their mouth is!! That's the bottom line!

Posted via CB10

I'll give you a dose of reality. Replace "Internet of things" with "Mobile computing". This is just yet ANOTHER blah.

Wrong again sir.
These have been known for years (since the nineties) as "IP enabled devices"
Nothing to do with mobile really... this is a newer hype...

Their not moving forward with LIP SERVICE the NEED to stop the lip service!!

Approach potential partners directly!
Deliver on such promises; ON FUCKING TIME!
THEN make announcements.

Sorry for the cursing mods but heck minors of 13 curse all the time (school or friends) and I highly doubt many have bb's and CB10 app cruising these threads. Some may not appreciate this but there's a LOT more vulgarity and personal attacks that are far more worth your time.

This is an Advertising ploy to boost stock price and notice how it really didn't work???!!! Because NO PARTNER NOR CLIENT was Announced! It's like that.

So BlackBerry please in the future don't make announcements just to make a public conversation to stay relevant at the coffer machine at corporate stands in the office. Don't spend money on announcements - if it don't make dollars it don't make sense!!

OS: I love BlackBerry bit I'm not blind I'm critical and honest in their abilities I'm just sick of promises and nothing delivered. I don't like lip services unless it's coming from a hood rat!

Posted via CB10

I hope they partner with Intel for the internet of things otherwise they're not going places.

Posted via CB10

Again: BlackBerry is QNX mobile.
This is the truth... a matter of fact.
QNX was engineered at the time when you couldn't be successful in the industry and military (totally different story in software companies) without being the best.
It's been used for decades without runtime failures... besides marketing.
QNX Stands for Quick Unix for those who knows what that means... no javascript fried air nor kiddies playing the programming game at that time.
The rest of the recent history is just fashion
Time to change...

The truth is there's no partners, YEARS into this endeavor from BBRY. they can't sell it. They can't license it. They can't get consumers or enterprise in any noticeable numbers to buy it. They can't even advertise it right. They're burning cash and in debt now as well.

The real truth is that yes, while BBRY potentially COULD market a whole lot of things and services, the time has come to where the customers of said things and services would rather prefer a safer bet.

Let's face it! Google or Apples are your ecosystems of choice...
You've been absorbed, resistance is futile!
Join the 95% of the sheeps that stay on the SAFE side (this one is cool!), look confidently at their big numbers and forget about QNX that make things happen behind the scenes.
I'm starting to believe, with some disappointment, that your technical understanding is critically low... unlike your business frustration which seems definitely high

Wait.... what is going on... this actually looks like a vision that makes sense.

Connected cars you have
Connected medical equipment you invested in
Connect them with cell carriers you have
Keep them secure with your tech
Manage them with your BES tech
QNX based framework
Put QNX in vacuum cleaners (done)
Put QNX in fridges and TV (ongoing?)

What is this? BlackBerry being visionary again? I got goosebumps now.

Z30 Vivo Brasil

BlackBerry is misspelled for the source link of the article. Great article! It will be interesting how this new division takes off!

Posted via CB10

"You may have won a battle, but you have not won the war!" Says BlackBerry.

If only BlackBerry would have said that. Things will be heating up, if you know what I mean. :P lol

What do you think?

Posted via CB10

"Internet of things" why does that sound SO LAME and vague....?
Maybe I'm being to much of an ignorant, but that name sounds too unattractive to me

From my lovely Z30

Cisco's term. They've been running ads for it for some time. It's a generally agreed upon tech term in the blog sphere.

From my Neutrino Powered Z10

Exactly my point too. All this talk about connectivity, cars, devices, cloud management. BBRY is blah blah and Google/Apple/Microsoft is delivering. Why is it SO hard to see for a lot of people here that once again BBRY is getting further and further behind?

BlackBerry is in a world class academic environment where people innovate all the time. May they reap the benefits of early starters.

A great move and a great statement.

"We're taking back our leadership role, you guys can fight over the saturated smartphone game "

Yes, and saturation means reduced margins. Mark My words, in a few years, a high end phone will sell for 300 dollars. Interconnectivity is the key and a traditional Linux kernel doesn't cut it.

Posted via CB10

Working towards this will be bigger than smartphones, we have certain internet connected devices in our homes today, but the framework for them to hook to each other is still a little shakey at best...

Smartphones are one thing, every single device that uses electricity has the potential to be added to the Internet of things... MUCH bigger market as you can imagine, as another poster mentioned "GODZILLA" doesn't sound to far from the truth when you think about it

Posted via CB10

It's not a consumer product and therefore likely to get much less play on tech blogs, but this is really the "Bloody big deal" about BlackBerry. This is Alec Saunders marketing project now, working with prospective partners to shape and take advantage of the service that will underpin (hopefully) their many different services.

From my Neutrino Powered Z10

Man this sounds interesting. If there is an affordable way to get this running for a small business like my own, I'm gonna all over this!

Yes, BlackBerry have to make it straightforward and simple for the small innovators to get on board with this.

Posted via CB10

Why can't BlackBerry just announce then launch products and services like any other tech companies instead of stating their intentions so others can first them with the product to market? I'd rather not know about it till its fully (not half) baked and ready to go.

Okay Kool.
I've seen the demos of qnx in cars but I'm yet to see a real life application with a blackberry handset. Apple used the qnx platform to enhance the iphone experience in the car. Is there such an experience for blackberry device users? I say quit the slick talking and just enhance and extend the blackberry experience. That's how other platforms entice and keep people coming back for device updates.

A glass with a hole...

or a cloud-connected spy camera carried and purchased by willing subjects...

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

It's the "PROSUMERS" that will use/buy "Internet Of Things"... #EmptyBuzzWord #LURE When you don't have any real products try to sell empty word like "prosummer" or IOT... -Chan

You sound like the vapourware master detector. ;-)

Let's see if it's a puff of smoke or if it's gonna turn solid...

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

BlackBerry is thinking at the meta level here. And who better to do this now that they own QNX?

So here is a phrase for future commercials, BlackBerry. "Connected & protected." Your welcome.

Posted via CB from "Z" best

This is the other point.
They owned the mighty QNX at the time when they changed the company name... but they didn't realize that BlackBerry was the prosumers provider, not the kernel of things.
To put it into the right perspective,
They were just the QNX mobile department!
Now looks like the meritocratic Inversion of Control is taking place.
That looks like a dream to me.
Well done BlackBerry

Well, since BlackBerry is not a big data specialist, it looks like they want to sell BES for the IoT. It coud be of interest to some vertical industries, but I don't see them going mainstream when giants like Google and Amazon are looking at doing the same thing.

Read the press release, articles and I am not getting what Ion is about. Besides that my gadgets interact more and that companies want to make more money with all my personal data that lives in the Internet of things without my permission.

I would love to see it be executed on. Lots of potential, but unless we see partners and actual use cases it's not much more than that. I would love to see QNX used in cars for more than just powering entertainment systems. I would love to see it used to deliver telematics data,including traffic conditions, etc.

Posted via CB10

But don't you really know that QNX has been used for decades in all sorts of mission critical systems?!
Nuclear plants, aerospace, medical equipments, cisco monster routers... and so on and so forth...
Although the current website is mostly advertising automotive, which really is unfair, check the markets tab...
QNX internal architecture is mind-blowing. It is THE masterpiece, reference, military grade RTOS. It is simply unbeatable.
Technically speaking there are no competitors out there...
Good to see a bit of meritocratic evolution instead of the usual, boring, irritating, short term marketing compromise.
QNX is potentially the ROOT of the next generation of Internet.
Thanks BlackBerry for thi step forward

Are you copy/pasting this from somewhere? What use does it have to a general consumer, mom and dad, son and daughter, that QNX has been used to run nuclear power plants and medical equipment and whatnot?

Are you planning on putting a nuclear power plant in your backyard, guarded by military specialists, next to your field hospital?

It has ZERO relevance and ZERO point to a consumer or even a rational thinking enterprise today.

I'm beginning to think you were just being sarcastic?

I'm beginning to think that you are born in the year 2000, that you are living in the middle of nowhere with your whole family, and that you all need a phone to spend the day...
Lucky you!
My only concern is that you may own a bb10 device...and that would be a catastrophe!

We see a lot of discussion on the internet of things and how BlackBerry plans on being a leader in it, but I don't understand very well how BlackBerry plans on monetizing it's position. I'd love to see some more specific discussion around this topic.

Posted while peeking and flowing on my incredible BBQ10! 

In other news Apple and Google will just implement the Internet of Things without security in mind, and reap the profits, while BlackBerry works on their version. Sorry I'm tired of buzzword bingo and pie in the sky ideas while people one here claim that they can't even afford to compete in phones or other low hanging fruit with BB10.

Posted with a BlackBerry Z10

Every time someone states that BlackBerry should put out a wearable, or a TV box, or tablet, or anything that could readily run BB10 now and expand the ecosystem, or even advertise the products, so many people here jump up and scream they can't afford it or can't compete in this segments. These same people will be cheering statements like this ION thing even though we have been hearing about QNX bringing huge advances in M2M and IOT of since before the PlayBook launched. So BlackBerry can't get the IS to compete on a simple consumer level, but they will be able to pull off the Internet of Things? It is more a comment of prove you and crawl before you walk. Also how long is this vision away? Sorry but I remember the PlayBook announcement and we heard all if these cool buzz words then and BlackBerry has yet to deliver on any of it. How about just announce ION when it is done and ready and not now when you can't even successfully launch an existing user base of over 60 Million people.

Posted with a BlackBerry Z10

Please make FX mobile work with bb10 instead instead of using the ancient Motorola ES400 ( windows) which looks like the phone from the 90's. Our service people use these Motorolas which is driving everyone nuts!... low screen res, hard to type on and it crashes. Help BlackBerry!

Posted by BlackBerry Z10

Still not enough information to properly comment on this.

All we know is that they have given their undisclosed work on M2M a name.

Glad to see at least some (if limited) movement in this.

Posted via CB10

Oh my god! It's killer robots they are creating!!! Maybe Skynet?!

Cartman says: Screw you guys I'm going home!

That would be Google.

This will be used by the Rebel Alliance (Star Wars), or the Human Resistance (Terminator).

Anyone who has not been turned into an ANDROID cy-borg yet!

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

This is big. This is VERY big. I stuck with BlackBerry and BB10 (and BBRY) because of the underlying QNX framework and it's possibilities. This is what Heins meant when he said mobile computing and connected devices.

Think of it this way. Now a mobile computer (the BlackBerry device) can talk to most industrial and household gadgets. For example, the car computer gives off many fuel and maintenance related information, and has QNX embedded. BlackBerry devices can natively connect and use the info. Combine that with your Maps, and you can exactly calculate your car's expenses.

Or think of managing the smart electric grid, which also has a QNX base. Combine that with your home's connected devices, and you can control electricity consumption on the grid. Or an industrial process, which can have a native app on the BlackBerry platform and connect with the industrial sensors and actuators securely.

BlackBerry needs to partner with the manufacturers of household devices as well as Siemens, Alstom, Toshiba, Ford and GE to get the industrial Internet and consumer connected Internet.

Now lets see how well they execute!!

Z10STL100-3/10.2.1.2273 /CB10

I don't think so.

On Industrial side, IoT is being discussed long back. And the underlying network infrastructure is already there and dominant networks and companies are fighting themselves.

IoT is nothing to do with devices but network infrastructure and applications. BBRY is very week on the later part hence leaving infrastructure as the main key role of BBRY in consortium.

With that, they need robust roadmap and clever business decisions to make a killing.

I think it is a great idea. BlackBerry should go ahead with full force.

ChannelX C000D3759 We promote channels

This is the right time for BlackBerry to enter into wearable gadgets...now or never!!

Posted via CB10 with lovely Z10STL100-1/10.2.1.2141

I'm SO excited about this one!!! If Chen knocks this one into the bleachers it we will be looking at a totally different world for BlackBerry!! I really pray that they take back their solid, respectable position in the world of technology.

Posted via CB10

This company is starting to seem more and more all talk and no walk.

Let's see some action on some of these big strategic announcements here!

I do like the direction though.

Let's go BlackBerry!! Weehoooo

Posted via CB10

I read this on Connectedly. I love it. BlackBerry is the most secure at everything and this is a clever move.

Posted via CB10 on my Z10

BlackBerry is becoming interesting day by day under John Chen's leadership. Seriously this guy knows how to turn around BlackBerry.

Posted via CrackBerry App on my Zed 10