Against the predictions of many, shares of BlackBerry continue to keep on trucking this year.
The long-suffering Canadian tech is seeing a rare reprieve in part because of a optimism around new tools such as one that aims to increase efficiency and make the world of trucking easier and more productive.
BlackBerry Radar is a small device that attaches to the back door of a trailer and aims to improve the lot of trucking fleets by keeping track of where a truck has been and is going, temperatures, trailer location, and the contents of the trailer.
“Time is everything in our world,” Marilyn Daniel, an exec at trucking firm Titanium Transportation told Reuters. “Being able to tell a driver where exactly a trailer is as opposed to having a driver search through a yard for sometimes hours has been a definite improvement.”
Titanium Transportation, which is located around half an hour outside of Toronto, pays BlackBerry $400 per device as well a monthly fee between $10 and $20. The technology is putting the company in a position where it can cut five per cent of its trailers and reduce labour costs because of gained efficiency.
For trucking firms, one of the key things Radar helps with is the time spent searching for an empty trailer. Previously, employees would have to walk across massive parking lots full of trailers searching for an empty one, but Radar can locate on instantly. It can even alert managers when a trailer has been opened, to help deter theft.
While Radar may be another small step forward for BlackBerry after leaving the cellphone market, this should not be confused with a ground breaking invention. There are already other platforms available which do similar, if not the same thing as Radar.
Fleetmatics is a service similar to Radar that is owned by Verizon. It provides its customers with fleet tracking, improves fuel efficiency by providing better routes, actual hours worked by your employees, less fleet expense (apparently), increased safety, and better customer satisfaction.
And fleet tracking has been a bit of a lively sub-sector in Canada, with companies such as Webtech Wireless and BSM Technologies floating various offering to various degrees of success.
But BlackBerry insists Radar has one it takes to succeed in the niche.
“It really depends on us convincing our customers to try our solution. Once they try it, we’re very confident they’ll see the benefit.” Said Sandeep Chennakeshu President of BlackBerry Technology Solutions, the department responsible for Radar.
AT&T is providing Radar with its cellular network in North America, and BlackBerry has plans on spreading to Europe and Asia as it already has a cellular provider lined up for those markets.
BlackBerry has said it is looking to broaden the scope of the Radar product by making minor changes which will allow it to be used with construction equipment, vans, and other mobile industries. This could expand the market reach to as much as 16-20 million units in Canada, the company says.
Below: BlackBerry Radar – How Does It Work?