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Blackberry planning to launch a healthcare services platform in India

Blackberry is planning to launch a healthcare services platform in India, which will allow integration of medical devices which will aid early detection of illnesses.

Sunil Lalvani, Managing Director, Blackberry India, told the The Economic Times that trial runs were currently on with multiple hospitals in India, including integration with Health Information Systems (HIS) and medical equipments.

Earlier this year, Blackberry bought a minority stake in the privately-held healthcare IT firm NantHealth. NantHealth’s could-based clinical operating system is compatible with any device and/or electronic healthcare records. It was an indication that going forward Blackberry would focus on niche markets. Blackberry is looking to expand its services segment. The two companies are collaborating to develop a smartphone tailored for the healthcare sector. This device is expected to be launched in late-2014 or early-2015.

Healthcare is one sector the company has an advantage in, due to the importance of patient information privacy and Blackberry’s existing network setup – like the QNX platform – that has the capability to manage and secure data on mobile devices. The QNX operating system, which is at the ultra-secure core of Blackberry’s smartphones, is also used in a number of industrial, automotive, military and medical systems; especially the ones that put topmost value on security and reliability. The future of healthcare depends on the ability to share patient information securely and in real-time. Blackberry and NantHealth will be able to combine could-based, secure supercomputing services that enable data integrity, decision support and analytics.

India is one of the few bright spots for Blackberry:  India, the company claims, is one of the markets where Blackberry’s revenue is still growing. This is contrary to what an IDC report revealed last year. Blackberry’s Q3 FY2014 sales in India had fallen by 50%. At the time Blackberry told The Economic Times that IDC-discovered wholesale numbers were “factually incorrect.”

IT procurement on an upswing in healthcare sector: According to a report released by Gartner Inc. in March, this year, healthcare providers in India are expected to spend $1.08 billion on IT products and services in 2014. That’s a 4% increase over last year. This augurs well for Blackberry.

Blackberry is increasingly focusing on the Internet of Things (IoT) concept, which is at the core of Blackberry’s global turnaround strategy explained John Chen, the newly appointed CEO, in this commentary piece on CNBC.

Cisco is another company that is betting big on IoT. In fact, Cisco has earmarked $250 million as part of its global investment fund for early stage companies in this segment. Last month Cisco announced a $40 million India-specific fund as well.

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