BlackBerry quits smartphones, finds its calling in software
BlackBerry is snatching success from the jaws of defeat as it announces its software business has enjoyed 89 percent year-on-year growth – a boost which correlates directly with the complete closure of its smartphone business.
The company has finally decided to quit the smartphone industry, ceasing production entirely. Sales have declined steadily since the release of the ‘BlackBerry killer’ iPhone in 2007. Once iPhone and Android phones were able to fully support e-mail and other web services, BlackBerry devices were left in the dust and couldn’t hope to keep up.
However, vast growth in the brand’s GAAP software and services revenue has ensured BlackBerry has a strong back-up plan, and it has a new strategy in place. It is actually a global leader in securing, connecting, and mobilising enterprises, and is working behind-the-scenes with its former cell phone competitors.
John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO of Blackberry, stated: “We are reaching an inflection point with our strategy. Our financial foundation is strong, and our pivot to software is taking hold. In Q2, we more than doubled our software revenue year over year and delivered the highest gross margin in the company’s history. We also completed initial shipments of BlackBerry Radar, an end-to-end asset tracking system, and signed a strategic licensing agreement to drive global growth in our BBM consumer business.
"Our new Mobility Solutions strategy is showing signs of momentum, including our first major device software licensing agreement with a telecom joint venture in Indonesia. Under this strategy, we are focusing on software development, including security and applications. The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners. This allows us to reduce capital requirements and enhance return on invested capital.
"We remain on track to deliver 30 percent revenue growth in software and services for the full fiscal year. We are revising upward our non-GAAP EPS outlook to a range of breakeven to a five cent loss, compared to the current consensus of a 15 cent loss. This reflects increased confidence based on improving margins and reduced interest expense from the recent refinancing of our debt, as well as planned investments in growth areas.”
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Ivy.ai’s new chatbot streamlines resources and policies
Ivy.ai, a creator of AI chatbots for higher education, is offering a chatbot that helps institutions streamline name, image, and likeness policies for athletic programmes.
This solution will allow athletic departments to dramatically reduce inbound inquiries while answering inquiries related to compliance, financial aid impact, how-to documents, and best practice training videos.
It will allow institutions to condense information in a way that is easily accessible and eliminates the need for student-athletes to read complicated manuals. Institutions can also engage with student-athletes via a real-time feedback loop to see which topics truly matter and what needs further clarification. This allows administrators to be proactive and provide a competitive edge in recruiting.
Helping institutions connect their students with information
“Athletic departments at colleges and universities are overwhelmed by the challenges posed by the name, image and likeness legislation,” said Mary Frances Coryell, Vice President of Strategic Alliances and Partnership.
“Ivy.ai is uniquely positioned in the market to help institutions connect their student-athletes with policies and information related to NIL such as state laws, restrictions and relevant contacts. Our chatbot can digest all relevant policy information and provide answers to student-athletes at any time on any device. We expect the NIL market to move quickly, so student-athletes deserve the answers on their terms, rather than exclusively during work hours.”
Primary use cases for the chatbot include:
- Answering commonly asked questions related to name, image and likeness
- Communicate policies such as state laws, restrictions and compliance regulations
- Provide contact information for various advisors and agencies
- Connect training materials for athletes to improve their branding
- Engage in two-way reactive and proactive communication to keep policies student-centric
Back in March 2020, the company offered schools a free COVID-19 Response System, including a customisable COVID-19 Response Bot, a human-to-human live chat system and an SMS Text platform. These services are offered completely free of charge.
"The customisable COVID-19 Response Bot will help schools connect their students with important information, such as the school's operational status, where to go for treatment, and what to do to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus. We already added that information to all of our clients' AI chatbots, and we found that in many cases students needed additional support. That's why we're including our human-to-human Live Chat system in this offer. The SMS Text platform can be used to drive awareness to this communications channel for your students." said Mark McNasby, CEO of Ivy.ai.