Ford and BlackBerry?
It certainly doesn't take long to stumble across content highlighting the present, or future, of technology based commuting. This being my first article, I will attempt to avoid being too derivative of any existing articles on Ford (NYSE:F) and BlackBerry (BBRY). Highlighting the safety and security aspects of the future in automotive software, I envision this new partnership will prove to be highly successful and firmly ingrain both companies within the infrastructures many of us depend on.
- End to End Encryption
- Ford Vehicles [Police Pursuit Vehicle and Special Service Vehicle]
- Ford Smart Mobility - City Solutions
BlackBerry End to End Encryption
There is no denying the complexity that comes with computer languages. In a linguistic sense, 'hacking' is a lot like having a silver tongue. The ability to speak circles around a defense, or firewall, and in the end get what you want. BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and its End to End encryption have largely maintained the company's existence, despite the catastrophic fall off since 2007, being supported largely by European users. An article from ZDnet.com, Blackberry Encryption 'too secure': National Security vs. Consumer Privacy, the author covers a variety of national instances where Blackberry devices are being banned and their usage challenged. From India, the UAE, China, and even parts of Europe, all governments are simply not fans of this non-accessible security. This is due primarily to the alleged threat to national security, such as being unable to monitor, tap into, or recover information from these types of encrypted devices. I do not necessarily reference this article to highlight the potential threat on national security, though there is merit to the conversation, but more to emphasize the security of BlackBerry's encryption compared to intelligence agencies around the globe. Ultimately substantiating the reliability and strength that BlackBerry's encryption brings to communication and connections between devices worldwide. As we edge closer to this era of highly technological transportation, it becomes apparent that we as consumers will not be the only ones depending on the security of our vehicles.
Police Pusuit Vehicles and Special Service Vehicles
The Police Pursuit Vehicle (PPV) and Special Service Vehicle (SSV) are part of a particularly advantageous Municipal segment controlled largely by Ford. One that must be handled with utmost consideration and top of the line preventative technologies. As vehicles and transportation become more technologically fused, they also become open to new threats. In a video experiment produced by YouTube channel 'Wired', 'Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway-With Me in It, the participants show how a vehicle can be manipulated remotely while another person operates the car. Going as far as shutting off the engine during highway travel, the video conveys an important point. New technology and improvements must be made cautiously and with security in mind, something Ford has clearly expressed by partnering with BlackBerry. Imagine criminals with the ability to simply kill the engines of pursuing police officers, or even the ability to tap into police communication and acquire personal information on officers. I believe it is no coincidence, nor strictly a matter of financial advantage ("Buy low") that Ford decided to partner with BlackBerry. I believe Ford's control in the police vehicle segment will further boost the company's foundation, but will also support BlackBerry in their efforts to establish themselves as a Software Services company. Beyond the automotive markets, Ford has begun expanding their revenue streams by targeting a more "multimodal" approach to the commuting needs for city life.
Ford Mobility and The City Solutions Agenda
It is quite common for an individual who lives in a city to not own a car. Whereas the city workers, traveling from outside city limits, quite often bring a car or must use a train. Having worked downtown Chicago across the past 9 years, using both public and personal transportation for different jobs, I could not be more on Ford's side given the initiatives set forth in their City Solutions agenda. In this panel interview, moderated by Doug Newcomb of C3 Group, they discuss the collaborative mission, as well as an outline for Ford's Smart Mobility LLC and its planned role in the future of urban travel. The initiative to become a "multimodal" company is certainly beginning to solidify, bringing into focus the critical and firmly ingrained role Ford will play in the future of urban mobility and functionality in general. Their integrating bicycle partnership with 'Motivate' and shuttle service initiative with 'Chariot' will certainly create a strong foundation within a number of major cities. It will first be within the US, but they will likely set their sights to international markets as time goes on. Like the Municipal segment, ingraining yourself among a public infrastructure is going to demand a high level of reliability. For similar reasons to our Police and their equipment being secure from remote attack, so must our commuting services and dependencies. Infrastructure is experiencing a revolution: software is our new concrete and it must be concrete.
Safety is going to be a crucial variable during this phase of the technological advancements. As we further our dependence on hardware and software, we must be certain to take the appropriate precautions. Ford has and will continue to play a key role in our governing infrastructures, from equipping our police services to assisting with urban commuting. I believe this partnership with BlackBerry is a well thought out and forward thinking maneuver which will prove to solidify both companies' current and future agendas.
Relative market conditions and valuations make it especially difficult to determine the true value on equities as a whole. With that in mind, I would estimate a [Dividend]HOLD on Ford ($F) and [Risk Tolerant] BUY on BlackBerry ($BBRY).
Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, but may initiate a long position in BBRY over the next 72 hours.