Wednesday, December 28, 2016

BlackBerry Radar and Modagrafics Partnership - A New Dimension in Asset Management

Kaivan Karimi
Sr. Vice President, Marketing and Strategy
BlackBerry Technology Solutions 

The need for efficiency in the trucking and transport industies has ever been more important.  Trailer utilization, theft, delay, and spoiled cargo are a few examples of problems that need to be solved.  

This is where BlackBerry Radar provides an innovative solution.  BlackBerry Radar allows shipping firms to monitor cargo in real-time, tracking everything from vehicle location and route data to trailer temperature, humidity, and contents. Thanks to its cloud-based analytics dashboards – that are accessible from anywhere via the web – Radar enables faster decision-making, more efficient use of trucking assets, and an overall increase in revenue per trailer.  Simple and self-contained, Radar dispatches instant event-driven alerts and regular, real-time updates, providing much better visibility into the status of the trailer for the dispatch center. Each Radar device is maintenance-free and takes only minutes to install, with a battery that lasts over three years while transmitting information more often than most tracking systems in the market. The built-in sensors monitor conditions and securely provide data to both the Radar dashboard and a fleet’s existing transportation management system
Radar’s end-to-end security, cloud-based architecture and browser-based user interface eliminates the need for costly IT investments or extensive security configurations.  With advanced technologies that are years ahead of competitors, our goal with Radar has always been to drive efficiency in the trucking industry. We constantly talk to our customers and partners and find solutions to their problems.  Our new partnership with fleet servigraphics provider and branding specialist Modagrafics is another step in this direction. 

Trailers are the new “mobile billboards,” and with a 97% ad recall rate (probability of remembering an Ad at later date after being exposed to) by consumers, trailer ads represent a valuable advertising tool. For over forty years, Modagrafics has provided fleets with the latest technology, design services, materials, printing, and logistics for vehicle branding. Their national installation network and experienced strategic management team wield a powerful product portfolio to offer better displays and easier management of brand presence. 

With Radar, Modagrafics is an even stronger strategic partner to their customers.  “The fleet customers we serve around the country have been looking for an affordable way to make all their trailers ‘smarter’ and leverage their fleet assets more effectively,” says Paul Pirkle, President and CEO of Modagrafics. “BlackBerry Radar is a game-changing solution that is incredibly easy to install and deploy across a fleet’s trailer pool. We think this is a huge step forward for the out-of-home advertising market.”

Radar provides a whole new level of ad measurement for trailer advertising campaigns. Branded trailer owners can see what highways their rolling billboards have been driving on, when they were there, and how much time they spent in areas dense with “consumer eyeballs.” They can then adjust routes and stops to get maximum reach for their ads, increasing their ability to reach targeted consumers. 

With its state-of-the-art secure sensing and communication technologies, ease of installation, and efficiency of use, BlackBerry Radar is changing the face of fleet management one partnership at a time.

View photos and videos of how BlackBerry Radar works on BlackBerry IoT’s Flickr page

And, for more information about BlackBerry Radar and the BlackBerry IoT Platform, visit

Kaivan Karimi is the SVP of Strategy and Business Development at BlackBerry Technology Solutions (BTS). His responsibilities include operationalizing growth strategies, product marketing and business development, eco-system enablement, and execution of business priorities. He has been an IoT evangelist since 2010, bringing more than two decades of experience working in cellular, connectivity, networking, sensors, and microcontroller semiconductor markets. Kaivan holds graduate degrees in engineering (MSEE) and business (MBA). Prior to joining BlackBerry, he was the VP and General Manager of Atmel wireless MCUs and IOT business unit.

BlackBerry QNX Partners with Obigo to Build a Better Browser for Your Car

John Wall
Senior Vice-President and Head of QNX Software Systems


Software plays a big role in current vehicles. The best example is your in-vehicle infotainment system. With just a few taps, you can play music from your mobile device, view and manage advanced navigation systems, make phone calls, tap into traffic reports and weather forecasts, all from your car’s center display console. Drivers and passengers love these systems and are dependent on them. However, Infotainment has its own challenges to address. Security aside, the infotainment system needs to be able to provide support for the latest and greatest web browser technology to give the users access to the content they want the instant they want it, whether on the web or off. You do not, after all, want to be fumbling with an unresponsive display when you are on the road.

At BlackBerry, we are constantly seeking ways to improve the vehicle cockpit experience and to enhance our QNX CAR Platform for Infotainment (QNX CAR). This is why we are proud to announce our partnership with Obigo a leading Korea-based provider of mobile Internet services and browser software. Obigo is working with is to deliver a powerful, Chrome Blink-based HTML5 engine, which will enhance the browser experience of your infotainment systems.

As part of the agreement, our internal HTML5 team will be augmented by Obigo’s team of experts who will help to optimize the latest Blink browser technology with QNX CAR (pictured). QNX CAR, our best in class Infotainment system, has more than 50% global market share and is present in over 60 million vehicles. With QNX bringing this new browser to market, vendors and manufacturers can enrich their driving experience through new applications and services, and drive further customer satisfaction.

“Many automotive OEMs and Tier-1s still view open source HTML browsers as lightweight,” explains Obigo CEO David Hwang. “With almost two decades of browser experience on embedded systems, we have been working to change those perceptions with highly optimized technology that address open source browser performance issues. Working with BlackBerry-QNX, we plan to develop a product that will boost interest in HTML5 technology for emerging in-vehicle applications and services.”

Obigo’s technology will also simplify the coding of HTML 5 browsers for new infotainment systems and accelerate the product development cycle. Obigo joins the ecosystem of BlackBerry QNX partners that collectively offer the best-in-class system level solution for our infotainment customers.

Monday, December 19, 2016

From Concept to Reality: BlackBerry-QNX's Groundbreaking CES Tradition

Thomas Bloor
Business Development Manager, QNX BlackBerry

The annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has been growing in importance for the automotive industry over the years. You can hardly fail to notice that this year, as in previous years, the big automakers vie for floor space and attention with the glut of big screen TVs and other consumer goods. As always, BlacBerry QNX will be in the North Hall, proudly in the middle of the big automotive OEMs. 

At CES BlackBerryQNX has an enviable history of bringing concept cars that rival anything on the show floor, with one important difference – ours are not pure flights of fancy, and we show technologies that will become realities in the near future.

We started this trend back in 2010 with an LTE-connected Toyota Prius – 18 months before the first commercial LTE deployment in mid-2011. Working with Alcatel-Lucent to provide the experimental network, we demonstrated Google maps functionality with local search and an embedded Pandora radio app in a car for the first time. Connectivity is standard in many cars today, but in 2010 we demonstrated the future.
2012 brought us a CNET "Best of CES" award for demonstrating cloud-based natural language voice recognition, text-to-speech, and NFC based one-touch Bluetooth pairing.  Simply touching your phone to an NFC reader in the center console automatically paired the phone and car. 
In 2013 we got ahead of the trend for ever larger center stack displays – with detailed 3D maps and voice recognition Keyword Spotting – common today in smartphones but a first in a car. Simply saying "Hello Bentley" enabled you to start interacting with the natural language cloud based voice recognition Powered by AT&T’s Watson. 
2014 took literally us in a different direction. A 21-inch horizontally orientated center stack display extends across the dash, naturally extending the interaction and functionality towards the passenger.  Behind the screens the instrument cluster was integrated with the center stack running both driver information and IVI functions. With seamless controllability across the touch screen, physical buttons, and the jog wheel controls multi-modal input was highlighted across all available functionality. 

Not content with that, we foreshadowed greater integration of ADAS functionality warnings to the driver. In 2014 we warned the driver if local speed limits were exceeded through both the cluster and verbally through text-to-speech, and we followed this up in 2015 with a system that recommends an appropriate speed for upcoming curves based upon driving conditions and the radius of the bend.

So, what innovations will we be showing in 2017? I’m not allowed to tell you just yet but, in a first (for us), we’ll be showing both future and current production technologies and innovations.

Building on our products ranging from in-car acoustics through our comprehensive QNX-CAR application platform and to next generation driver assistance/autonomous drive we will be demonstrating how technology can enhance the user experience and increase safety for drivers and passengers.

While demonstrating technologies that will come to future production vehicles, these cars are not just "show floor wonders" because our automotive knowledge enables us to build demonstrators for the real world, which can be driven, thus allowing technologies to be experienced first-hand.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Holistic Security for the Software-Defined Car

Bill Boldt
Sr. Business Development Manager, Security
Blackberry Certicom

Due to high profile hacks on cars, it is hard to argue that without security you can have safety.   So, security is emerging as perhaps the most important factor in the evolution of the connected autonomous car.
Cars are the most software intensive systems in the universe with far more lines of code than even a state of the art jet fighter. By being such complex digital systems they have become prime targets for attack, and that is where cryptographic countermeasures come in.

Connecting the dots – in the emerging software-defined world safety increasingly
comes from security and security comes from cryptography. Robust cryptographic security implementation is how you increase trust, and when it comes to a car every system must be
trusted: inside the car, in the smart infrastructure, in emerging applications-based ecosystems, and in the manufacturing supply chain. When considering automotive security,
many factors come into play. Some are noted here:

  • Automotive security fundamentally depends on the security of the operating system. For example, a microkernel architecture that separates critical OS components into their own protected memory partitions, provides temporal separation, and provides network security, among other things can greatly reduce the attack surface.
  • Security assets (crypto keys, serial numbers, etc.) must be securely installed into electronic devices such as Electronic Control Units (ECUs), domain/area controllers, and other processors. This process is called "personalization".
  • Electronic devices will often get personalized and installed into vehicles in globally located factories, which should utilize secure equipment and processes to ensure security of the devices.
  •  Devices must be updateable at dealers and repair shops. 
  • Aftermarket suppliers must be able to sell and update secure devices, and
  • OEMs must be able to authorize or not authorize specific electronic devices at
    manufacturing time and after the car is in use (for example to enforce warrantee policies).
And, there are many more.

Personalizing a device such as a networked ECU means that it will become one of a kind. However, by definition that device cannot be used anywhere else. It becomes a unique stock keeping unit (SKU), which is averse to the purpose of flexible, just in time manufacturing flows. Security versus manufacturing flexibility is a serious trade off that will play a part of any automotive security design decision.

Security robustness versus cost is another critical trade off, and applies to the manufacturing infrastructure and the design of the secure systems inside and outside the vehicle. Because security must be injected in the factory and in the field, a secure manufacturing system must have global reach, be manageable on a distributed basis, be updatable by various entities, and remain secure for years. In addition, security updates will increasingly be made over the air, and the systems that do that must by highly secure while being easy to manage. To maintain the maximum amount of flexibility, personalization and updating should be moved as close as possible to the very last minute, which is becoming a critical objective of the global manufacturing blue print. 

Blackberry Brings It All Together

In the car, outside the car, and in the manufacturing supply chain, security must be designed with best practices in mind right from the start, and BlackBerry Professional Services can help with that. BlackBerry QNX provides mission-critical automotive software proven in the automotive market.  QNX software is well known for safety and new products are setting the new standard for security.

BlackBerry's Certicom subsidiary provides certified cryptographic code and design consulting, as well as secure equipment and managed services that harden the automotive supply chain. Completing the picture, BlackBerry's secure OTA managed services make it easy to update software and security assets over the air. When it comes to automotive security, BlackBerry brings it all together.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

On 64-bit and roadmap alignment

By Romain Saha
Strategic Alliances Manager
Blackberry QNX

One of the coolest things about my job is getting to see all the silicon roadmaps. OK, I’m a nerd. That is not a surprise to anyone I’m sure. Still, there’s a lot of amazing innovation going on. You just haven’t heard about. Yet. And you won’t hear it from me. Sorry.

Except maybe that the embedded world – at least in the areas we play – is going 64-bit. Pretty much already gone 64-bit actually. Intel architecture has been 64-bit for as long as I can remember. ARMv8 is almost exclusively 64-bit. It’s here. It’s real. You can buy it. Pretty much everybody has it.

Graphics is another area that is moving fast. The latest embedded GPUs are really impressive. I know of one chip that actually has two full-blown GPUs on a single die. The things I’m seeing on the bench are amazing. Light-years ahead of where we were only a generation ago.

Roadmap alignment is key for us. We need to make sure our products sing with our silicon partner’s technology. We need to make sure customers can take the latest SoCs and build the things stuff the world wants.

One of the things the world wants these days is a digital cockpit - a unified experience across multiple displays in the cabin.  That is happening today but it takes two SoCs to do it, one for cluster and one for infotainment system. It also takes space, power, cabling, connectors and inter-processor communication. Hassle. Lots of hassle I bet.

The obvious dream is to eliminate all this cost and complexity and just use a single SoC for both. Easy. Except digital instrument clusters and infotainment systems are different. Very different.

Infotainment systems need lots of horsepower. They use lots of memory. Navigation systems alone can drive addressing past 4 Gigabytes. Huge state diagrams. They also need lots of eye-candy. GPU performance is key. Complicated indeed.

Digital instrument clusters need incredibly smooth graphics performance but are relatively simple otherwise. Except that they are safety critical. Enter ISO26262 certification. Overlay that with making sure what you think you are rendering is actually what gets displayed. If the screen says P(ark) and the car is in R(everse) people get hurt. Or worse. Clusters are complicated too.

What do you need to make all this work? For sure you need a 64-bit safety-certified embedded OS. You need a hypervisor with the ability share graphics across virtual machines. You need ISO26262 top to bottom as well as a way to ensure cluster rendered output matches the intended output. And you need an SoC with the juice to make it all happen. That’s a lot. No wonder people think the single chip digital cockpit is still a dream.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Evolving into a Domain Controlled World

Thomas Bloor
Business Development Manager
BlackBerry QNX

In 1859, Charles Darwin set out his theory of evolution by natural selection. He defined natural selection as the "principle by which each slight variation [of a trait], if useful, is preserved." The concept is simple but powerful: individuals best adapted to their environments are more likely to survive and reproduce.
Of course, the unspoken corollary is that species with extremely short lifespans, such as insects, will be more successful as they get to go through more evolutionary cycles and adapt to changes in their environment faster. Anyone who has seen the movie “Jurassic Park” knows that while the dinosaurs died out, the mosquitoes essential to the plot evolved and survived to annoy us even today.

A similar evolutionary challenge plagues automotive, with product cycles spanning three years or more, we struggle to keep up with the faster evolution of smartphones whose consumer driven life cycles can be as short as only twelve months. Now as we look forward to the fully autonomous car it’s obvious that car makers and suppliers who can adapt and evolve faster will win in these new markets. This is especially true because cars are becoming more and more software-defined.

In order to contain the rapidly rising cost of electronics innovation in the car, the industry is looking towards consolidating functions into a number of domain/area controllers that will evolve from today’s complex architecture  based upon an increasing number of Electronic Control Units (ECUs) scattered throughout the vehicle.
Automakers are currently racing to bring new innovations into the car across Infotainment, Driver Assistance, Autonomous Driving, and other things.  The winners in this race will be the companies with the ability to evolve their products faster, while tackling the challenges of safety, security, and escalating system costs.

Evolving the Vehicle Architecture
With the advent of technologies such as virtualization, the industry is looking at making the first evolutionary steps towards a consolidated domain/area controller architecture. Some forward thinking automakers are looking to a flexible and scalable vehicle architecture that can be configured to support entry to premium level applications by varying the number and configuration of domain/area controllers in the vehicle and the software they run.

Now this will not be a one step process. Consolidation of systems into these domain/area controllers will be a process that takes place over several generations as the interfaces and communications become more standardized within the vehicle architecture. The ability to flexibly compile functions into different build configurations will then depend on a unified software architecture, so the choice of software architecture and platforms will become a strategic decision that can enhance flexibility and time to market. Conversely, the wrong decision, or no decision, on a consolidated software platform can slow product evolution and flexibility and potentially lead to extinction. 

Key here is the selection of a software environment that is capable enough to be the foundation across the range of applications such as infotainment, driver assist or even autonomous drive

Automakers or Tier 1 suppliers that create a unified operating system environment across multiple functions within the car will be able to consolidate faster, and with more flexibility, by avoiding the penalties of increased cost and time to market when consolidating systems with disparate software environments.

As security continues to be in the public mind, automakers are facing the reality as in corporate IT that security will evolve continuously as vulnerabilities are identified leading to a process of patch issuing that need to be applied over the lifetime of the car.

Now with a fragmented operating system environment, security costs escalate as each operating system will have its own vulnerabilities and security flaws. An entry point for a hacker can be anywhere in the car, making automotive security a system level issue that necessitates an automaker to identify and fix security vulnerabilities across all operating systems in the car. 

As the electronic modules within the car are supplied by multiple Tier 1s, ensuring system level security of the complete automobile becomes a challenge for the automaker, requiring penetration testing of the complete car. With this reality a unified operating system environment is better and simply more secure. While we may never get to a single operating system in the car consolidating from the 6 to 8 in use today to 3 or 4 is a realistic objective.

Future Proofing
The auto industries' traditional business model is being challenged by the need to quickly evolve the features in their products. Cars were traditionally sold with fixed functionality with no concept of upgradeability of electronic systems. This is changing with advent of connectivity. Manufacturers such as Tesla, who is a leader in the industry when it comes to remotely upgrading the software in their vehicles remotely.
Such remote over the air upgradeability is constrained by today’s distributed ECU architectures as each ECU performs a fixed function with defined outputs, with only limited elements of the system having the ability to be upgraded. Moving forwards, a more consolidated domain/area controller archtecture with an advanced Over the Air (OTA) update capability will enable automakers to maintain and upgrade systems in the field a lower cost than traditional software recalls.  

Unified Solutions
Known as the market leader in Infotainment and Telematics software, QNX provides a unified operating system and suite of products that help solve the challenges of the fragmented operating system environments found within today's vehicles. A family of solutions branched off of a common core ensures efficiency in investments while enabling the flexible scalable domain/area controller architectures of the future.

With a new paradigm appearing in automotive security QNX is positioned to  provide the basis of the next generation of safe and secure vehicle systems. True type 1 hypervisor solutions enable the flexibility to host cluster and infotainment functions within a single domain/area controller, while meeting ASIL requirements for the driver display. The same technology enables hosting of separate operating systems such as adaptive Autosar to extend lower body domain/area controller functionality and enable a truly flexible vehicle architecture. 
The need to evolve vehicle architectures will place critical importance on the choice of operating systems and software in the car. Over the air updates, safety and security robustness, and overall flexibility will be critical attributes determining the success or failure of automotive software environments. 

With over two decades of automotive software experience, BlackBerry-QNX is used in more than 60 million vehicles today across infotainment, telematics, advanced driver assist, vehicle control, and over the air updates. 

Evolving architectures with the benefit of thirty years of experience QNX is the software platform that can enable consolidation, feature evolution, safety and security at lower overall cost in response to the changing needs of the automotive industry.