BlackBerry may have stopped manufacturing hardware products like mobile phones, but it’s far from taking a step back in the technology industry. Instead, the Canadian company has set its sights on cybersecurity and licensing out its brand name.
Its most recent announcement unveils a technology and brand licensing deal with Swiss consumer electronics maker Punkt Tronics AG, which will allow the company to embed BlackBerry cybersecurity technology into its products and be certified as BlackBerry Secure.
Alex Thurber, senior vice president and general manager of mobility solutions at BlackBerry, explains that in the wake of so many cyberattacks and data breaches in 2017, “Savvy manufacturers like Punkt are recognizing the value of protecting the integrity of their innovations and the resonance our brand has with consumers who are increasingly anxious about the security of the products they choose to bring into their homes and lives.”
Punkt began in 2008 with the aim of creating electronics that are simple, useful, and timeless without intruding on their owner’s time and attention. Founder and CEO Petter Neby says the company is focused on “using technology to help us adopt good habits for less distracted lives”.
“By incorporating BlackBerry’s security technology into our premium products, we can now offer customers the highest level of security, without compromising on the simple, modern design they love,” he adds in a Mar. 7 press release.
BlackBerry Secure is a comprehensive platform that aims to protect just about every device, from mobile phones to connected Internet of Things devices.
Under this agreement, Punkt-manufactured products will still be branded as Punkt devices, but they will run BlackBerry’s secured software and can be marketed as such. Thurber explains to CDN that this differs from BlackBerry’s other big licensing partnership with TCL, which allows the Chinese company to design, manufacturer, and sell mobile phones under the BlackBerry brand name.
“This is a really exciting opportunity for us. We’re working with Punkt so they can use our highly secure software and all our security expertise,” Thurber continues. “Their products won’t be under the BlackBerry brand but they might say on a splash screen ‘BlackBerry Secured’ or something. We still control the last step of the manufacturing process so that a person using a device that says ‘BlackBerry Secure’ can be confident that that device is protected.”
While Punkt is based in Switzerland, Thurber says BlackBerry is “absolutely” looking for Canadian partners, particularly those outside of the telephony sector.