Say what you will of BlackBerry’s future in the cell phone business or in general, but the company that was once the name brand in smartphones and unbeatable security could once again become a front runner – this time in automotive technology. Having your brand be known for titanic security was, until a few years ago, not a totally compelling selling point, but that’s all starting to change with the increasing number of high profile hacks plaguing the news. In 2010 during some of the darkest days at BlackBerry, they quietly purchased a small company that would soon become BlackBerry’s QNX infotainment processor. Eventually, all the new Apple CarPlay and Google Android systems will come to be built on the QNX platform, making it possibly the most integral piece within the blossoming car tech value chain.
Fast forward to a few days ago when a Democrat from Massachusetts published a report detailing the ease at which vital car functions are able to be hacked in a variety of ways. While actions that hackers can take are dependent on the level of technology present in the car, chances are good that the findings will scare the public and politicians enough to take another look at how their car tech is guarded. As everyone’s nightmare came true, DARPA (a government agency specializing in all things cyber-terrorism) hacked a basic Chevrolet sedan and was able to make the car accelerate and brake without the knowledge or action of the driver.
This to say that BlackBerry may have an even more lucrative place within the auto industry than just the production of auto processors. Concerns are high when it comes to guarding company secrets and government plans on computers and smartphones. But stakes are exponentially higher when it comes to people’s lives, making BlackBerry’s reputation and unique abilities all the more appealing to automakers and automotive suppliers. In an industry undergoing significant technological upheaval, BlackBerry could very well emerge in the foreground as the safest, most secure auto tech in the business. Now there’s a selling point.