US $1.4 billion acquisition is targeted at leveraging Artificial Intelligence to make IoT applications more secure
Canada’s BlackBerry has announced it is acquiring US artificial intelligence and cybersecurity specialist Cylance for US $1.4 billion in cash.
Since BlackBerry lost the smart phone battle to Apple and Android the company has focused on its “Enterprise of Things” (EoT) platform, which is now called Spark. BlackBerry Spark is targeted at OEM applications including autonomous vehicles and industrial equipment, where BlackBerry believes its security technology can deliver value.
BlackBerry is having mixes success with its EoT strategy. Its QNX software platform for supporting advanced driver assistance systems, connectivity modules and handsfree systems is now installed in 120 million cars. The “Radar” asset tracking solution for cargo tracking and telematics, however, has not generated much commercial success in the logistics market.
In the wider EoT space, BlackBerry believes Spark has an advantage in the security area, where it offers “a next-generation secure chip-to-edge communications platform for the EoT that will create and leverage trusted connections between any endpoint". Adding Cylance is designed to compliment BlackBerry’s existing portfolio.
“We believe adding Cylance’s capabilities to our trusted advantages in privacy, secure mobility, and embedded systems will make BlackBerry Spark indispensable to realizing the Enterprise of Things,” said John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO of BlackBerry.
Citing research from Gartner, BlackBerry notes security and privacy concerns are the top two barriers to wider IoT deployments, which is where Cylance is focused. “Cylance is a pioneer in applying artificial intelligence, algorithmic science, and machine learning to cybersecurity software that has proven highly effective at predicting and preventing known and unknown threats to fixed endpoints. The fast-growing company has become a market leader with an advanced and lightweight agent that resides on the endpoint, operates both online and off, and requires a minimum of memory and power to function,” BlackBerry noted.
“Our highly skilled cybersecurity workforce and market leadership in next-generation endpoint solutions will be a perfect fit within BlackBerry where our customers, teams and technologies will gain immediate benefits from BlackBerry’s global reach,” said Stuart McClure, Co-Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Cylance. “We are eager to leverage BlackBerry’s mobility and security strengths to adapt our advanced AI technology to deliver a single platform.”