VIDEO INTERVIEW: Bill Conner, chief executive of Blackphone-maker Silent Circle, claims the company should now be seen as a “kind of next-generation Apple” as it looks to build on sales of almost $750 million since last June.
“Apple brought usability to end-users, but we’re bringing security as well as usability,” he told Mobile World Live in a recent interview. “You can’t have privacy without security and the policy around that.”
For Conner, Silent Circle’s broad portfolio – which stretches across “privacy first” devices, software and services – makes it not only a next-generation Apple but a next-generation carrier.
“We have apps that will sit on iOS devices as well as Android, and then we have services, which gives enterprise manager capability, such as messaging and conferencing,” said Conner. “But it’s also a next-generation communications network. The ZRTP underlying technology that we’re built on takes us to being a next-generation carrier, unlike [just having] traditional devices and apps. Now you’ve got privacy at both an enterprise and consumer level. We believe both these worlds will converge.”
Later this year, Silent Circle will launch its Blackphone 2 smartphone and Blackphone+ tablet. “With Blackphone+, we’re trying to bridge the world of smartphones and tablets,” said Conner.
The new device launches, following on from the launch of the first Blackphone last year, are part of what Silent Circle describes as “the world’s first enterprise privacy platform”, combining devices, software and services, and built on a fundamentally different mobile architecture – ZRTP.
ZRTP is a cryptographic key-agreement protocol to negotiate encryption keys required to establish an end-to-end secured VoIP call.
Although Silent Circle might be widely perceived as primarily an enterprise play, it’s a notion that Conner is keen to dispel.
“We clearly launched in the consumer privacy space, but, lo and behold, over 75 per cent of our customers ended up being enterprise customers,” he said. “By offering devices, applications and services –or a next-generation communications network – we have given an enterprise and an individual employee the right to privacy.”