Published: December 6th, 2017

Blackberry Solution Providers now have access to BlackBerry AtHoc’s Crisis Communication Specialization tool, allowing them to communicate and collaborate in times of crisis.

But the complexion of a crisis is evolving, says Richard McLeod, BlackBerry’s global vice president of Enterprise Software Channels, and so is the way Crisis Communication Specialization is being applied in the world.

“Now we’re seeing situations where both local municipalities, as well as companies, are needing to not just take care of their community but also take care of the employees within their companies,” McLeod told Computer Dealer News after the announcement Monday. “The ever-increasing cyber attacks are adding to this snowball effect. Increasingly, cyber and chief security officers need to have an escalation path in terms of a cyber attack.”

BlackBerry purchased the San Mateo, Calif.-based AtHoc Inc. in 2015, and has since built on the cloud platform’s ability to share information when alerts are triggered from various sources such as social media, sirens, fire panels and wearable devices.

The application is used widely among the U.S. government, the U.S Army and Navy, and is trickling into the Canadian market.

“We’ve only scratched the surface,” says McLeod, referring to the Canadian market.

Although he didn’t name specific municipalities or companies, McLeod did confirm that the Canadian parliament has adopted Crisis Communication Specialization.

In a case study from 2016, Maxim Zakurdaev, enterprise architect and technical product management for the Canada House of Commons, praised the AtHoc’s platform.

“Emergency notifications that used to take us 90 minutes to deploy are now communicated within 90 seconds using AtHoc,” Zakurdaev wrote.

The monthly fee for the service won’t break the bank either, says McLeod.

“It’s not a million-dollar investment for a municipality, organization or community,” he says. “It’s difficult to say it’s exactly ‘this much per month’ because there are so many variables to consider and the solution has to be designed for specific needs. Those nuances of the design affect what the ultimate price-point is.”

In addition to Monday’s announcement, shopping center giant, Vicinity Centres, and tertiary institutions Deakin University and RMIT, joined Australia’s“Melbourne Shield” program, a people safety initiative developed by BlackBerry and Crisis Shield.

BlackBerry says it plans to expand the program with Crisis Shield further in 2018.