BlackBerry ramps up trucking presence with Radar

Feb. 7, 2018

Phillip Poulidis, senior vice president and general manager of BlackBerry’s IoT business, said every day the company takes steps to “dispel the myth it is just in the smart phone business.”

BlackBerry’s initial move into trucking was the asset tracking system known as Radar. The system provides “deep insights into company fleets,” Poulidis said, including trailer utilization, maintenance, and other functions.

Radar represents a key step in the transition that began about four years as BlackBerry shifted away from the cell phones it was initially known for. The transition has been aided by the company’s background and established brand, Poulidis said.

Trucking customers say “we know who you are. It is a blessing for us to have such a strong brand.”

BlackBerry’s initial trucking offering was the RadarM, which Poulidis said incorporates multiple sensors, and is well suited for dry vans, trailers, and containers.

The device can detect motion, humidity, and trailers doors opening or closing. More recently it released RadarL – a more simplified version that does not have temperature or load-sensing capabilities.

Radar customers are improving fleet efficiency on average between 7% and 10%, Poulidis said.

Just before the end of 2017, BlackBerry said it had partnered with Pana-Pacific to Radar through its 2,800 heavy-duty truck dealerships across North America. All stores were expected to be stocked with BlackBerry’s products before the end of the January.

An article in Motley Fool called the deal “a big breakthrough” that will help improve visibility for the company within the freight transportation space.

“BlackBerry could make a dent in the fleet management space that's expected to grow at 16% annually over the next five years,” the article suggested.

BlackBerry also reached a deal with BigRoad, to add the RadarM to its offerings. Big Road is a division of Fleet Complete, a provider of dispatching, fleet tracking and mobile management systems,

Incorporating Radar is part of a way to find “innovative ways to help drivers save time, comply with government regulations, and more importantly, make more money,” said Tony Lourakis, CEO of Fleet Complete. “

Looking ahead, Poulidis said the company has additional products under development. He also said implementation of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate could offer BlackBerry additional inroads into the trucking space.

 “Budgets were constrained (for some fleets) as they met those requirements. Now that it has passed, it opens the door for them to see how they can leverage technology in other areas” he said.

While Radar was on display at last month’s CES show in Las Vegas, the company’s booth was focused a bit more on its QNX operating system for autonomous and connected vehicles.

During the show Nvidia’s announced it would leverage the 64-bit, real-time operating system in its AI autonomous vehicle platform.

Also in January, BlackBerry launched new cybersecurity software called Jarvis aimed at protecting driverless cars. The company said Jarvis scans and delivers insights on potential vulnerabilities in minutes.

About the Author

Neil Abt

Neil Abt, editorial director at Fleet Owner, is a veteran journalist with over 20 years of reporting experience, including 15 years spent covering the trucking industry. A graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., he began his career covering sports for The Washington Post newspaper, followed by a position in the newsroom of America Online (AOL) and then both reporting and leadership roles at Transport Topics. Abt is based out of Portland, Oregon.

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