Waterloo, Ontario’s BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY)(TSX:BB) has announced the identity of the first customer for their BlackBerry Radar asset tracking system, Oakville, Ontario’s Caravan Transport Group.
BlackBerry Radar is an end-to-end “Smart Trailer” asset tracking software and hardware solution, designed to help trucking companies and private fleet operators optimize asset utilization, reduce theft, and cut operational costs.
“Running a fleet of ‘Smart Trailers’ has been a vision of ours for a while, but it wasn’t until we met with BlackBerry did we think it could come to fruition,” said John Iwaniura, president, of the Caravan Group of Companies. “We have been in the transportation industry for a long time and have yet to see any solution as comprehensive, compact, easy to use and useful as BlackBerry Radar.”
Although financial details of the deal are not disclosed, Caravan will be installing 500 BlackBerry Radar units on its fleet of 1,500 trailers, which operate throughout Ontario, with terminals in Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
BlackBerry unveiled Radar at the 2016 Mid-America Trucking Show in March, shortly after becoming a member of the National Private Truck Council.
The device itself is an easily installed clamshell-style device that collects near real-time trailer and cargo data through sensors, communicating to the fleet manager via an IoT platform whether a trailer is empty or loaded, its door open or closed, the interior’s location, temperature, and humidity, among other metrics.
“Taking time, money and guesswork out of the supply chain is a top priority for leaders across the transportation and logistics industry,” said Derek Kuhn, senior vice president of IoT for BlackBerry. “The current method of obtaining information about a trailer or intermodal container no longer works in today’s connected world, because this data is typically not real-time or updated frequently enough to make timely decisions. To solve this issue, BlackBerry leveraged its extensive technology portfolio and deep expertise in security, mobility and enterprise software to innovate and develop BlackBerry Radar, which is designed to bring decision makers and operators near real-time information, analytics and reports to boost operational efficiencies.”
A fleet manager can track assets on a mobile device or desktop computer from real-time alerts sent via the Radar platform to let them know when a truck has crossed a user-defined geofence, and to monitor cargo inside the trucking container.
Radar is a product of BlackBerry Technology Solutions, which is composed of five units: QNX Software Systems, Certicom, Paratek, the BlackBerry Internet of Things (IoT) Platform, and Intellectual Property and Patent Licensing (IPPL).
Although BlackBerry is best-known for its money-losing handset division, these other aspects of BlackBerry’s business have been growing steadily through a series of partnerships, like AtHoc’s renewal of security services with the Pentagon or QNX’s deployment in a variety of automobile telematics and infotainment systems.
Sandeep Chennakeshu, President of BlackBerry Technology Solutions, began teasing the development of some kind of asset tracking device last September, adding that even though the device could be used for any market application, from high-end cars to police vehicles, his priority would be to target the trucking industry “because it is massive with 177 million trucks.”