BlackBerry Redefines Itself for the 21st Century
On Thursday, Canadian security software supplier BlackBerry surpassed Wall Street estimates for its quarterly revenue. This takes the company one step closer to being the world’s leading provider of secure end-to-end mobility solutions—its new mission. After analysts predicted its first-quarter revenues at US$171.25mn, it finished the quarter with a total of US$174mn, with shares up 90% over the past year. To explain its recent success, BlackBerry highlighted increased demand for its cybersecurity and QNX operating software.
What Are Its Best-Selling Products?
No, it’s no longer cell phones. Instead, BlackBerry leads the market in cybersecurity. Ever since businesses have adopted cloud computing and moved to remote work, cyber threats have increased—and recent high-profile ransoms such as those paid by Colonial Pipeline and JBS Foods have companies worried. According to Frost and Sullivan, Blackberry is well-positioned to secure all IoT endpoints, in addition to over 96% of current cyber threats. All of the G7 governments (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US) rely on its software, as well as 45 companies in the Fortune 500.
Furthermore, BlackBerry now sells critical software for electric vehicles. The company already secures more than 500 million endpoints, including more than 195 million vehicles. They’ve now designed solutions for 23 of the top 25 global EV automakers, which represents 68% of total EV production. Said a proud Ottawa citizen: “The self-driving car—equipped with BlackBerry QNX software—is no mere hunk of metal. It’s the culmination of years of innovation and effort, a source of futuristic inspiration’.
How Did BlackBerry Get Here?
Cue a brief history of the company’s milestones, courtesy of Reuters:
- 1985. Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin co-found Research In Motion (RIM) as an electronics and computer science business based in Waterloo, Ontario.
- 1994. RIM launches a handheld point-of-sale card reader, which verifies debit and credit transactions directly to a bank.
- 1997. RIM lists on the Toronto Stock Exchange, raising more than $115 million.
- 1999. RIM launches a rebranded BlackBerry email service across North America, offering the first wireless device to sync with corporate email systems.
- 2004. RIM’s subscriber base surpasses 1 million BlackBerry users.
- 2012. The CEO promises a strategic overhaul as RIM reports a slump in BlackBerry shipments.
- 2013. The company formally unveils the BlackBerry 10 at a glitzy launch event in New York, with simultaneous gatherings in other cities around the world. In conjunction with the launch, its CEO announces that the company is changing its name to BlackBerry.
How Has It Remained Relevant?
For those of you who thought BlackBerry had grown obsolete, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the company has spent the last decade reinventing itself from a phone company into a top security software and services provider. The following represents a handful of Blackberry’s recent FY21 achievements:
- Authored and received grants for 2,000 new patents
- Managed 18 major development centres in 7 countries
- Prevented over 165 million malware-based cyberattacks
Endpoint security, transport asset tracking, embedded systems—BlackBerry, rather than growing obsolete, has expanded into cutting-edge technologies. CNNMoney summed it up: ‘It’s time to get the image of people in the late ‘90s frantically typing on their CrackBerries out of your head. That’s BlackBerry’s past. Software and services that BlackBerry makes for other companies is its future. And it looks like a bright one’.
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.