Last week was the annual summit of BlackBerry analysts. As BlackBerry tools and QNX The operating system is expected to be widely used in the next generation of cars, this event often provides a glimpse into the future of cars. This future is coming very fast and promises to change almost everything we currently define as a car, from who drives it to how it behaves while you own it. These changes are also expected to drastically reduce car ownership by individuals.

These future cars will increasingly look like wheeled computers. They will have more computing power than the supercomputers of a few years ago, will be packed with services and will have pre-installed accessories that you can activate later. The only thing these cars will have in common with today’s cars is their appearance, and even that is uncertain. Some of the proposed designs look like movable living rooms, while others fly.

Let’s talk about software-defined vehicles (SDVs), which will be on the market in just three to four short years. Then we will end with my product of the week, also from BlackBerry, which is perfect for today’s conflicted and changing world. This is something that every company and country must have implemented so far – and it is crucial to the pandemic and hybrid work world we live in today.

The problematic journey of car manufacturers to SDV

Software-defined vehicles have been slowly making their way into the market over the past two decades, and that has not been nice. This future car concept, as I noted above, is basically a supercomputer with wheels that can move on and sometimes off-road if needed, autonomously, often much better than a human driver can handle. .

I first looked at SDV in the early 2000s when I was invited to visit GM’s OnStar efforts, which encountered significant operational difficulties. The problem was that OnStar’s management was not from the computer industry – and while hiring computer experts, GM did not listen. The result has been a rewriting of a long list of mistakes the computer industry has made and learned from over the past decades.

Later, car companies opposed vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology because they did not want competing vehicles to talk to each other. They thought that if they (who were not software experts) created an autonomous driving platform, their competitors would license it from them (something that would never happen). In fact, in the beginning, GM was hardly a departure from its own approach to the problem and a lack of trust in the software experts it hired to fix it.

This is one of the reasons Tesla is being blown up by much larger and better funded existing car companies. Tesla uses the knowledge of the technology industry to create a superb rolling computer. While Tesla’s competitors were trying to recreate what was already known in the computer industry, Tesla was selling cars and dominating the electric car segment.

Over time, the popularity of this patented approach declined. Car companies realized they were decades away from Tesla’s comparison and began to partner with technology companies that knew how to build a better computing platform.

Expected birth of SDV

Over time and surprisingly slowly, automotive OEMs began to adopt technology from the computer industry. Nvidia has been a great success here, as most carmakers now use their Omniverse-based simulation platform to develop their software. As this is initially the least risky approach, some also plan to use Nvidia hardware, at least initially to avoid possible liability and potential withdrawals that will result from using a hardware platform that was not part of the overall solution. Nvidia.

On the software side, BlackBerry has delivered its QNX OS, which is designed to meet very high military and infrastructure needs (consider nuclear power plants) specifically focused on security. You want your car’s operating system to be very secure, because no one wants to take a nap in the back of their car when it’s hacked and suddenly think it’s in a demolition derby.

This combination of technologies allows car companies to rethink the way they deliver cars. So far, for most modern cars, you get what you order. If you want something to change, you can do it on the secondary market. But car companies have realized that they can incorporate features into cars that can later be turned on for subscriptions. In turn, this can expand the revenue potential of their products beyond the initial sale and provide immediate satisfaction for their customers.

Just as you can run various applications and games on your phone, you will gradually be able to do the same with your car. But with these capabilities come the equivalent risks that the car can be compromised and do bad things, and since we’re talking about a fast-moving, heavy, high-speed vehicle, these “bad things” can be a brand killer if enough hacks happen in a very narrow window.

BlackBerry says that the combination of switching to SDV, combined with the use of BlackBerry technologies such as QNX and IVY (discussed earlier) helps carmakers make this software-defined transition safe and secure, so don’t worry that instead that they drive us, instead our cars will drive us.

Completion: in anticipation of tomorrow’s cars

The cars that appear in the middle of the decade, in just three short years, will be significantly different from the fixed products we have today. They will be software upgraded, more secure, more autonomous, and some will even fly. To get there, car companies, with some exceptions, have moved to adopt and use technologies from companies such as IBM, Nvidia and BlackBerry.

When cars can take you and you don’t need drivers, there is an argument that we will no longer own cars, but will pay for a service. But even before that becomes commonplace, our cars will be software-defined, which means they can be upgraded over the air – including adding features you didn’t originally order but later found you wanted, and they they will be able to drive themselves more and more.

Ensuring a secure result is crucial for our lives as drivers and pedestrians alike, but also for minimizing OEM liability and increasing OEM revenue while reducing low tide and keeping more cars off the ground.

The automotive world will change a lot in the second half of the decade and will look much different than it does today.

BlackBerry AtHoc

While watching the war in Ukraine, a BlackBerry product came to me that needs to be used much more widely, namely AtHoc.

AtHoc is an employee tracking and care application designed to help employees in the event of a disaster, both by informing their managers of their condition and by informing employees about hazards and how to deal with them safely.

Many may recall that during the 9/11 attacks, BlackBerry pagers remained operational even after the telephone infrastructure was damaged, allowing first responders to receive critical information about the nature of the disaster and where to go to soften it.

We don’t have these pagers anymore. Instead, we have AtHoc, which helps employees at risk during a disaster compare the resources and information they need to significantly reduce that risk and reach safety.

Unfortunately, according to John Chen, CEO of BlackBerry, it is not yet used in Ukraine, but it has been used successfully to protect employees during other military attacks and has presented itself in an exemplary manner. It was also very helpful during the pandemic, tracking employee infections, allowing for better staffing and helping to ensure that the infected employee gets the resources he needs to improve.

AtHoc is currently being used aggressively by government (including public safety and law enforcement) and education. But I think that given the risks we face, it needs to be applied much more widely to better ensure that an employee in distress receives the help he needs soon enough to ensure his safety and health.

AtHoc may be the best product on the market focused on employee safety, and we need that focus nowadays. So, the Blackberry AtHoc is my product of the week again.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the ECT News Network.

BlackBerry and Preparing for the Software-Defined Automobile

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