According to Alec Saunders, VP of QNX Cloud at BlackBerry, the world of networks, the Internet, and the interconnectivity of everything are at a tipping point. During BlackBerry Experience: New York, John Sims, BlackBerry’s President of Global Enterprise Services, stated that in 10 years time the number of devices connected to networks will amount to over a trillion.

All these devices will require data. We are talking about Zettabytes of data. For those of you who aren’t fond of math, a zettabyte is one sextillion bytes of data or, in other words, a billion terabytes of data. And if that sounds like a large number it’s because it is. If such an enormous amount of data information is being transmitted over various networks, the next logical question should be, “How is this data monitored and secured?”

 “BlackBerry may have the right components to establish an attractive and robust service on a global scale.”

The idea of establishing an underlying network infrastructure for connected devices isn’t new. There are companies that currently offer an end-to-end solution in this area. But with proven, reliable, stable, and secure QNX technology already embedded into many different industry systems in the world today, BlackBerry may have the right components to establish an attractive and robust service on a global scale.

With machine-to-machine(M2M) technology mostly limited to a customized and proprietary service and/or product which only functions within the infrastructure of a company, there’s a demand for a secure public applications platform that can operate on a worldwide network. This is where Project Ion steps in.

BlackBerry’s vision is to utilize its QNX cloud to provide a service that monitors and protects a world of data communications known as “The Internet of Things.” This shall be the first of three initiatives for Project Ion.

Mr. Saunders also announced that they are building an IoT ecosystem consisting of key partners, app developers, and carriers as part of their second initiative. The direction of this ecosystem will most likely be driven by their partnerships with the IIC (Industrial Internet Consortium) and the ADA (Application Developer Alliance). This is both necessary and clever on BlackBerry’s behalf.

The IIC is a not-for-profit organization that catalyzes, coordinates, and manages the collaborative efforts of industry, academia, and the government to accelerate growth of the Industrial Internet. The IIC website provides scenarios which will give users a look on how big of an impact in tomorrow’s world the Industrial Internet will have.


“The ADA is an industry association dedicated to meeting the unique needs of developers as creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs.” They boast of over 30,000 individual developers and more than 170 companies. Their objective is to be “the rising tide of the industry delivering essential resources, serve as a collective voice on policy issues, and act as the connective tissue in the app ecosystem.”

“The project is designed to service businesses and enterprises exclusively.”

These are two great partners to build around for BlackBerry to move forward because it establishes a sense of trust for the vision of Project Ion and it encourages new partners to join and be a part of its evolution. Any interested parties who wish to be a part of the vision of Project Ion may enroll at

A strong “sell” for BlackBerry is its brand recognition. They’re already a global leader in mobile communications and provide an unmatched end-to-end solution in regulated industries. Presenting another compelling service from their established portfolio will instinctively be synonymous with security, efficiency, and productivity in the eyes of potential clients; three key elements that all businesses seek to implement into their long term strategy and financial structure.

Some of the questions which are on the minds of many people regarding Project Ion are: What kind of impact it will it have on consumers? Will there be an offering for them? What does this project mean for them? The quick answers currently are, huge, no, and not much. The project is designed to service businesses and enterprises exclusively. Consumers may have some concern that their information may be used without their consent or knowledge, but there are a few things they should consider regarding this issue.

First, the information being transmitted is not personal. It’s M2M communications. BlackBerry knows that data is at the heart of everything they stand for and that it will be imperative for them to remain true to their DNA with data information.

Consumers who would like to opt in or out of such “tracking” on their devices should note that it would have to work out the details with the manufactures of their products not BlackBerry, since BlackBerry is not building their devices. It should be clearly communicated to consumers that BlackBerry will not be selling their information, but simply allowing clients secure access to M2M data via subscription service.

“If you step back to get a clearer picture of the implications of Project Ion, it is something to marvel at.”

No doubt there are those who will not distinguish this difference, but nevertheless, BlackBerry’s QNX cloud will aim to set the gold standard for the next evolution of M2M communications.

BlackBerry cannot afford to jeopardize what has made them the leader in secure mobile communications so consumers needn’t worry. The reality is that there is a critical need for what Project Ion is establishing– “a secure public applications platform for the Internet of Things that operates at a global scale.” BlackBerry is building for the future. “Customers will be the center of a connected IoT experience with the tools and resources to securely connect millions of devices and distill information for real-time decisions.”

If you step back to get a clearer picture of the implications of Project Ion, it is something to marvel at. Imagine tiny sensors being built into bridges or structures, where their integrity can be sensed well before it collapses. Imagine having the ability for water systems to communicate when there are leaks so companies could respond immediately for repair and maintenance work. Imagine intelligent electricity grids that can adjust rates for peak energy usage. These feats alone would save hundreds of millions of dollars annually for many countries. In Cincinnati, residential waste volume fell 17% and recycling volume grew by 49% through the use of a “pay as you throw” program that used IoT technology which monitored those who exceeded waste limits. The possibilities of this innovative technology are endless.

This is the future and BlackBerry is building it today. The genius of Project Ion will be its omnipresent potential due to QNX technology. The only thing that remains to be seen is if BlackBerry can execute this vision effectively.


Edited by Sharon Mamolo