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Beleaguered BlackBerry rolls out its latest plan to make some money

BlackBerry Mercury Hands On
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
As it witnessed its share of the smartphone market slide unceremoniously into a deep, dark hole, BlackBerry switched its focus several years ago in a bid to keep the company alive.

Software and services would save the company, CEO John Chen told anyone who cared to listen, and more recently BlackBerry has once again been showing signs of life.

One of its latest plans is to offer many of the design and security features of its enterprise-grade BBM technology to developers keen on incorporating such features into their own software.

Announcing its BBM Enterprise software development kit (SDK) this week, the subscription-based product is designed to allow enterprise developers to easily offer messaging, voice, and video in mobile communications, incorporating the kind of secure wrapping on which BlackBerry built its reputation.

The move puts the Canadian company up against outfits offering similar services such as Twilio and Plivo, among others. If successful, its own alternative could become a decent revenue generator for BlackBerry as it continues with efforts to stabilize the ship.

In a blog post announcing the BBM Enterprise SDK, BlackBerry COO Marty Beard wrote, “The ability to quickly build secure chat, voice, video, and SMS into enterprise applications is extremely valuable for the collaboration culture of the modern business world.”

Beard pointed out that BBM Enterprise is “a distinct entity” from its well-known BBM app, “built from the ground up with enterprise-grade security.”

BlackBerry’s COO cited several examples of how its technology could be utilized, such as “a police officer using their smartphone to stream live video from a crime scene back to the precinct,” and “a doctor talking with a patient through a secure voice channel,” adding that all the exchanged information would be encrypted.

“Rather than having to interrupt their workflows by jumping to a third-party tool, employees can work and enjoy secure, reliable communication within the same set of apps,” Beard said.

BlackBerry’s BBM Enterprise SDK will soon be available for iOS and Android developers, with more details expected toward the end of this month.

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