Thorsten Heins

February 05 2013
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Thank you Nadir. What an impressive gathering this is today.

It’s an exciting day for BlackBerry and for Canada. We’re marking this historic day for BlackBerry with an important and long standing partner.

I have just come from a Rogers store on Bloor Street – and the excitement and passion of so many BlackBerry fans is energizing.

It’s incredible, how many people are so excited to take home the all new BlackBerry Zed 10.

Rogers was with us when BlackBerry first changed the face of communications in 1999, so it only seems fitting to mark the first day that Canadians can get BlackBerry 10 in their hands standing side-by-side with them here.

Let me just say how proud I am to lead a true Canadian company.  One that has changed the world. A Canadian company whose brand is well known and respected in 175 countries across the globe.

Knowing that Canadians stand right behind us as we roll BlackBerry 10 out across the world gives us the confidence we need to keep moving down the path towards a future defined by mobile computing.

Many of you may be wondering what I mean by mobile computing.

I’ll get to that soon.

But first, remind yourself that 14 years ago, right here in Canada – a small company called Research In Motion initiated the greatest change the mobile communications industry has ever seen.

BlackBerry created the smartphone category.

And it is right here, at home in Canada, where with BlackBerry 10 – a new category is being forged.

One that has mobile computing at its heart.

We’ve seen the industry move from narrowband to broadband, from analog to digital and now we intend to lead the move from mobile communications to true mobile computing.

What does that mean?

The last five years have seen rapid advances in mobile technology.

Today, mobile users have the power and functionality of a laptop computer in a device they carry around with them.

We are at a point in the near future where this <hold up your device> is your computer. You take this with you and work from it no matter where you are in the world.

How many here travel extensively for work?

What if I told you, we are not far off from a day where this <hold up device again> is all you need when travelling.

Where BlackBerry is your security swipe for access to all global locations of your organization. Where you arrive at any location and set this in a dock with a screen and keyboard in front of you and you begin to work from anywhere in the world.

It is all right here. <hold up device emphatically>

Let me bring you in on a secret. Since I started using my BlackBerry Zed 10 – I have purposefully avoided my laptop. I haven’t opened it in over three weeks. And I have to tell you it’s been liberating!

Using the power of BlackBerry 10 and my BlackBerry PlayBook I have been able to keep moving through one of the busiest times in my life!

This is a small example of where we are going. Smartphones and the mobile Internet are rapidly bringing knowledge, basic services and opportunities to all corners of the world.

In many Western countries, smartphone penetration is already at 50 per cent and growing quickly. This is empowering individuals and transforming the relationship between governments, businesses, and the customers they serve.

Mobile is changing the way we buy goods: 42 per cent of Canadian smartphone owners have purchased a product using their phone.

Mobile has transformed the business world.

Enabling new ways of working. Opening up new ways of communicating with and delivering products and services to customers.

According to IDC, by 2015, the world’s mobile worker population will reach 1.3 billion. That’s nearly 40 per cent of the total workforce.

Perhaps more significantly, mobile technology is now the primary driver for Internet adoption in developing markets – in Africa for example, half of all internet connections are exclusively mobile.

In many cases across developing nations, people’s first experience with the internet is on a smartphone.

Although smartphone penetration is still low by Western standards,

the growth BlackBerry is seeing in countries like Nigeria, South Africa and Indonesia will see them catch up quickly

BlackBerry has been at the forefront of the smartphone revolution. Our 79 million users across the world are testament to the role that BlackBerry has played in bringing the benefits of smartphones and the mobile Internet to both developed and developing markets.

Today we stand at the dawn of a new era of mobile computing. An exciting future lies ahead where our mobile devices will further simplify and enrich our lives by interacting with the systems around us and automating day-to-day processes.

Whether that’s the cars we drive, the transport networks we travel on, the shops we frequent or the way we communicate and share with others.

And this isn’t just theoretical. At January’s Consumer Electronics Show, QNX displayed their incredible concept car and just yesterday, we announced an exciting new partnership with the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team.  The entire team will run the BlackBerry 10 platform helping to realise the immense power of BlackBerry 10.

The auto industry is where QNX is strong and we will continue to realize the future of mobile computing with BlackBerry 10 through partnerships like that of ours and Mercedes AMG Petronas.

BlackBerry 10 represents the first step in realizing our vision of the future of mobile computing.

As I said last week at our launch event, BlackBerry is on a journey of transformation…

A journey to not only transform our business and our brand – but one, which I truly believe will transform mobile computing…

The incredible teams at BlackBerry were able to develop a new platform from the ground up in an incredible amount of time.  Most importantly they did so while remaining completely focused on getting it right.

It was a privilege last week to bring BlackBerry to a new starting line and as a new journey begins to unfold today, I want to take a moment to look back at the path we took to get here – to help us understand where we are going.

Two years ago, we made the decision to build an entirely new platform instead of adopting somebody else’s. We knew this decision was risky but we also knew that we were capable of turning this vision of mobile computing into a reality that would ensure our future success.

BlackBerry 10 is a platform that was written from the ground up. It took the incredible operating system that Ottawa’s QNX had created, kept the BlacBerry DNA that and blended innovations from across Canada and the world.

We knew that what we were building would soon give people more ways to connect their mobile experiences and their information no matter where they are.

No matter what machine they are using.  No matter what they want to be connected to. We’ve created a platform that can connect you.

We’ve created a platform that is able to work with other machines to extend you and your information beyond a mobile device to a car, your home, or wherever you are.

That is how we take the internet of things from a vision to reality. By providing this technology, this BlackBerry 10 and its promise, to the world.

Our entire company has been on an incredible journey. For the thousands of Canadians employed by BlackBerry and their colleagues around the world. And for the many BlackBerry fans who stuck with us for the ride.

We had to make heart wrenching decisions to turn this company into a more agile organization and to make changes to the culture of our company that ensure we were focused on execution and delivery.

We’ve transformed ourselves, inside and out.

Of course this includes a change in our name. We’re now BlackBerry through and through.

And I truly believe that BlackBerry 10 brings something entirely different to market.

This device was built with a specific user in mind. It’s people who are hyper connected socially, multi-taskers and people who have an appetite for getting things done quickly and easily.

oh I see heads nodding here…

This is good! I had a feeling that this room would be filled with the very people I am describing.

The BlackBerry Zed 10 is for people who want to get the most from their smartphones in both their personal and professional lives.

Take this room as an example. How many in this room carry around two smartphones?

Don’t be shy…

One for work and one for personal?

Many people find themselves today with two phones. So we’ve introduced something called BlackBerry Balance.

On BlackBerry 10 you have a personal and work device in one. It offers further protection of Intellectual Property and corporate data by separating personal information, apps and content from corporate information.

Think of it as two devices in one. You can have all of your business applications on the work side and still have games to help focus the mind when you need to – if it be texas hold’em, cut the rope or angry birds!

Your IT administrator will never know your score…

So BlackBerry Balance is just one of the many innovations of BlackBerry 10. And I encourage everyone to take a moment to see the product for themselves before leaving this afternoon.

Innovations like BlackBerry Balance are integral to BlackBerry 10. A platform we are convinced will carry us into the next decade.

And over that decade the continued development of mobile technology and services will bring about rapid change for all organizations.

It is crucial for organizations to realize that they are now constantly connected to their customers / citizens. They must also know that customers are more empowered than ever before.

Whether they use mobile to seek an alternative provider, to ask questions

voice concerns, and to promote or damage the brand within their contact circles.

Engaging the mobile consumer requires a change of mindset. It needs us to embrace mobile platforms as a primary business and communications channel.

Doing so will change the global business landscape.

All of us, government and industry must start thinking mobile first when it comes to the way they engage and serve the consumer or risk being left behind.

Clearly the potential is huge. Canadian businesses and universities have an incredible opportunity to capitalize on this potential and ensure that it is realized.

So then, what does Mobile Computing mean for Canada? Potentially, a great deal!

I recently attended the World Economic Forum in Davos and I can tell you that the world’s leading businesses, NGOs and Heads of State are focusing more than ever on the importance of mobile technology. Something is happening here. They “get” this.

Mobile computing and the emerging “internet of things” is a significant new development that can boost productivity, spark economic growth and add greatly to the quality of life of people all across our planet. And right now, we could use a lot more of that.

Mobile computing is the next paradigm in connected communications. We are moving, rapidly, from our almost ubiquitous use of mobile technology for personal communications to a new world of people-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications.

It’s a world of mobile connected cars, trains and planes but also one of remote health care delivery, more efficient energy management, secure mobile finance and much faster and more efficient businesses.


For some of us, it may mean having your car park itself at the airport, pay and pick you up upon return. For others it may mean billions in savings through more efficient power usage. And that is exactly why we have developed our new BB10 platform.
So who is leading this shift to mobile computing?

Certainly many of BlackBerry’s Fortune 500 customers are emerging leaders – and not the least, our carrier partners here in Canada.

Just this past fall CIBC and Rogers completed the first mobile credit card transaction in Canada on a BlackBerry smartphone.   This is the type of cross industry collaborative innovation that will continue to build and secure a leading position within mobile computing.

Over the past year I have had the good fortune to meet with many of my customer’s and carrier partner CEOs. They “get this” too and many are asking how they can use secure mobile computing solutions to ensure their competitive edge.

We all have a big interest in this shift. Mobile computing can not only change the way we work, communicate and spend money – that is less! – it will have the power to transform our health care system, strengthen education and significantly increase our energy efficiency.

Today, nations such as South Korea, have adopted an aggressive industrial policy to support their champions in the mobile sector. The U-Korea initiative (which stands for Ubiquitous Korea) is aimed at fully
leveraging the Internet in all aspects of society.

India’s national e-Governance Plan also has mobile computing at its core. That includes the use of mobile technology to reach the remotest village in India – to help deliver health care, education and ensure the digitization of records. BlackBerry will be part of that effort and we are now backed by more than 38,000 India based applications developers currently developing for BlackBerry.

The world is moving and I would believe that Canada has an opportunity to secure a pole position at the forefront of the emerging Grand Prix of mobile computing. Think of what could be accomplished with having industry, government and citizens alike, coming together with our tech sector, tuning our engines and putting a formula one “M-Canada” on the track. It could become a defining advantage for our country.

And what could that entail?

First, I would say our private sector players, large and small, have to lead the way to the mobile computing revolution. Our best engineers and entrepreneurs must be the ones to pick the breakthrough areas of study, innovation, R&D and the drive to commercial success. They are the backbone of an M-Canada strategy.

Canada can also build on an already powerful ecosystem of innovative companies, universities and collaborative technology groups across Canada with great experience and expertise in this area of technology. At BlackBerry, we are especially proud to work with outstanding groups like Communitech, the Accelerator Centre and our many educational partners and Coop students.

Another important group to participate would be our government, at all levels.  They are pivotal in ensuring we take the opportunity that is ours by ensuring we maintain an internationally competitive framework of tax and other frameworks to attract, foster and hold onto the best and brightest in this field.

Government policy leadership can make the difference between a Canada with competitive mobile technology companies and Canada as THE place you just have to be if you are going to be at the forefront of innovation in Mobile Computing.

The reality is – this change is coming. It will impact all of us. We are going to need to work together to fully benefit from the change – but also address some major hurdles.

An M-Canada strategy would help us define our approach to several major global issues which will impact this journey. Here are just three:

1) First, working with telcom operators and governments globally, we can find solutions to the major infrastructure investments required to deliver reliable mobile broadband to the world’s population and a fast expanding user base of people, cars, machines that will insist on secure, reliable mobile connection.

This will include making the most efficient and effective use of that precious and finite resource – radio spectrum. Canada’s carriers are leaders in this area. Innovation will play a key role. And Canada has and must continue to have an influential voice in this critical area.

2) Second, we simply must come together to address the dysfunction of our international legal system concerning the defense of patents. This past year our sector spent almost $30 billion in courtrooms – particularly US courtrooms – defending cases against non-practicing entities – or “patent trolls” – who produce nothing.

Patent trolls hold genuine innovators hostage and patents have become weapons in an international technology arms race. This is crazy. We have to shift our resources from litigation back to innovation, investment and job creation. That will require some practical but achievable reforms, particularly in the US and Europe. Here again, Canada can make a difference.
3) And third, together we can find the right balance between our desire for privacy and open access in our mobile communications.  We are all faced with the legitimate challenges of ensuring the security of telecom, electric and related networks that make up the mobile world along with the general public, against cyber criminals. Here again, Canada is home to some of the world’s most advanced technologies for ensuring safe and secure mobile communications. Canada is home to some of the world’s most respected experts and leaders in m-privacy.

None of these challenges are easy, but if we address them together, solutions will be found and Canada will maintain a front row seat in the emerging world of mobile computing. Canadians will benefit with the high quality employment and the high quality of life that derives from an innovative, value added technology economy.

I believe that BlackBerry is in an enviable and possibly unique position, with our new BlackBerry10 platform, to place our customers be at the forefront of the coming mobile revolution.

I think Canada also has a tremendous leadership opportunity, through an “M-Canada strategy” to build the value added portion of our economy and make Canada a magnet for high end technology employment, investment and quality of life.

I have been lucky to travel around the planet in this last year talking to world leaders, global businesses and consumers. They all understood the vision we had for BlackBerry 10 and the future of mobile computing.

And today I’ve never felt more certain that our vision is becoming a reality and many others also share that vision.

And today, being in Toronto. In Canada. Being home. The excitement out there shows me that Canada can be the driving force in the next phase of the mobile computing era.

There is no place I would rather be.