If you've listened to a BlackBerry (BBRY) earnings call over the past few quarters, one thing has been very clear: cars are in Blackberry's future.
BlackBerry has pivoted away from smartphones -- finally -- and is focusing almost all of its efforts on software. If the world hadn't been taken over by Apple (AAPL - Get Report) iPhones, there would have been no reason for BlackBerry to abandon the smartphone market. However, after falling behind the times and failing (like essentially everyone else) to crack the iPhone's grip, BlackBerry has pulled the plug.
That's left it with its QNX operating system and a plan to mount a massive comeback in other spaces. If there's one thing BlackBerry always did well, it was software. It's highly secure and loved by many businesses.
Blackberry CEO John Chen is doing what every good stock trader should: He's cutting his losers and riding his winners.
Nowhere was that more evident than at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, MI. Chen had a keynote presentation at the Detroit Auto Show, where he introduced BlackBerry's new cyber-security system, Jarvis.
Jarvis is aimed at finding vulnerabilities in self-driving and connected vehicles. Perhaps a widely overlooked piece in the autonomous driving puzzle, security is important as ever these days. Not only that, but Jarvis can also be applied to other Internet of Things products.
BlackBerry says that on average 10 million new connected "Things" are added everyday. That's a whole lot of devices and increasingly, cars. Admittedly, not all may need securing, but many would benefit from it. It also presents a large market opportunity for a Blackberry, especially in the auto space.
On the car front, BlackBerry already has a significant presence. "BlackBerry software powers 60% of connected cars on the road today and has the No. 1 market share in telematics and infotainment," Chen said.
So which automakers are Blackberry working with? Dozens, ranging from Ford (F - Get Report) to General Motors (GM - Get Report) , Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Honda (HMC - Get Report) and Fiat/Jeep/Chrysler (FCAU - Get Report) . Not a bad lineup.
In essence, BlackBerry's Jarvis system looks like it can be a real game-changer. It drastically cuts down scanning times and improves the accuracy for automakers looking to offer a more secure product. Nvidia (NVDA - Get Report) doesn't actually build self-driving cars, they build the equipment necessary for automakers and tech companies to build their own systems. BlackBerry could be similar by not building the infotainment systems or self-driving car software, but by simply securing the architecture.
While Blackberry's stock reacted slightly to Chen's keynote speech, which was delivered on Monday, there truly were not many present for the informative unveiling. Is Wall Street undervaluing its potential?
Perhaps. But we also don't know when Jarvis will start to hit its stride with automakers and other manufacturers. We wouldn't want to underestimate its potential though.
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