BlackBerry CEO John Chen

Published: July 3rd, 2015

Last week I got a chance to attend a press conference featuring BlackBerry CEO John Chen.

Chen was on hand at the launch of Mackenzie Health’s second phase of its Innovation Unit that will sport BlackBerry devices along with technology from Cisco Systems and ThoughtWire.

The event was first class and this initiative has a very real chance to improve the healthcare workflow through disruptive technology. You can read the whole story here: BlackBerry/Cisco partnership to push healthcare towards digital age

But the star of the event was Chen. He came across to be very likeable and sometimes quite funny. In one instance, Chen said Canada had 16 provinces instead of 10. This was taken as a joke by the audience. The point he was making was there are too many regulatory bodies in the country. But there were plenty of other attention-grabbing comments from the BlackBerry leader.

Here is a sample of his comments:

John Chen on initiatives…

“I’m a big fan of initiatives.”

John Chen on BlackBerry…

“BlackBerry is an iconic name in Canada and one that everyone has an opinion about; good and bad. One of the major strategies as a worldwide leader is in security and privacy. We are going to come at it from a platform level with software.”

John Chen on privacy…

“Privacy and security with the crossroads of communication the verticals that need that are the regulated ones. And, that’s where I see the opportunity: the three-levels of government, healthcare, and financial. We are a mobility company with the most secure platform in hardware and software.”

John Chen on smartphones…

“When we build the next smartphone it may be built dirt proof and water proof. The surface of materials is bacteria free and so there will be one less thing for a nurse to wipe down.”

Chen said that this idea is not necessarily part of BlackBerry’s product road map.

John Chen on Mackenzie Health…

“We come from a product standpoint, but those have not really road tested. Working on this MI2 (the name of Mackenzie Health’s Innovation Unit) project has been a learning experience for us. Now we have more than 300 partners in this area. We learn more about how our technology goes into and end-to-end environment to solve problems and make life better for patients.”

John Chen on regulatory bodies…

“Each country has a different set of requirements. In Canada, what do we have…16 provinces and all of them with different healthcare requirements?”

Altaf Stationwala (front left) of Mackenzie Health with MPP Reza Moridi, BlackBerry CEO John Chen and Bernadette Wightman, Cisco Canada President (second right)
Altaf Stationwala (front left) of Mackenzie Health with MPP Reza Moridi, BlackBerry CEO John Chen and Bernadette Wightman, Cisco Canada President (second right)

John Chen on human behaviour…

“One challenge is human behaviour and how to trust it. Earlier the concept of data being shared was talked about. What do you trust? This is a big picture thing and there are lots of road blocks. As a society we need to get this right. It’s not just about healthcare, a technology company or the government. It’s about society and we need to get this right.”

John Chen on big data…

“If I approach it from a patient point-of-view I would like to know who owns the data. So if I move I want that data to move with me. If I go to another hospital I don’t want to be walking around with a USB stick. The patient is going to demand this in an open systems way.”

John Chen on Cisco…

“We have a lot of tech people here. People who follow the news know that Cisco and us are cross licensing. I think together we can solve any problem thrown at us.”

John Chen on risk…

“Eventually you will get a replicated solution. Yes, there is risk here we have taken, but we’ll know more about our product in a real life situation.”

John Chen on healthcare…

“This is a society-wide problem. The current model is unsustainable. People are demanding a healthy life. Diseases are found every day and checking into a hospital is just not going to do it. Home care may be a solution and then use the hospital for more critical care. We are working with partners to make home care more of a reality. Those are the opportunities available with technology, mobility, privacy and advocacy.”

One quick hit before I go. AirTight Networks, a cloud management vendor, appointed Rick Wilmer to CEO and Kester Kyrie to vice president of worldwide sales and channels.

Connected Data has placed Nimble Storage senior executive Mike Munoz to its Board of Directors. The 25-year storage- veteran joins the company’s board to provide strategic business development and go-to-market advice.

nGenx, a cloud services solution provider has hired Max Pruger as its chief sales officer. Pruger was running the sales organization of printing and imaging vendor Kaseya.