BlackBerry AtHoc extends solutions to include crisis communications

BlackBerry Ltd. has been building its brand around securing the “enterprise of things” since exiting smartphone design and manufacturing, but its new product in the AtHoc line is all about communications with people in a time of crisis.

AtHoc Account is a new software solution designed to account for employees and ensure that planned processes for crisis communications are followed. It combines inputs from managers, call centre operators, and data feeds from HR and travel systems or self-reporting by individuals to give a single and unified answer to the question “Where is everybody and what are they doing?” Not only does this help companies ensure the safety of their personnel and then recover a business in the face of challenging circumstances, it also helps them meet compliance requirements.

BlackBerry heard from its customers there was a huge requirement for personnel accountability driven by government requirements, says Sanjya Saini, general manager of BlackBerry AtHoc. He points to the ISO 22301 standard, as well as Department of Homeland Security Directive 008-04 as examples.

“These requirements are applicable to the Canadian and EU market as well,” he says.

BlackBerry AtHoc - work flow

BlacBerry AtHoc’s existing family of products, including Alert, Collect, and Connect, are widely used among the U.S. government. Including by the Army and Navy.

The idea with AtHoc Account is that organizations can prepare for an emergency situation, then execute a plan when one arises. In the aftermath of the event, it can help managers assess how quickly business activities can be resumed.

AtHoc - Before during after

A promotional video shows a woman using the AtHoc mobile app to report what looks to be an unattended bag at the airport. A nearby security worker is alerted and clears the area. The app can also be used by employees to share real-time location tracking data.

According to Saini, the recent Brussels terror attack saw AtHoc customers trying to account for all of their staff, but not being able to account for every last person. With Account, they’ll be able to zoom in on people that haven’t responded, or have responded saying that they need help.

“What we’re aiming for is leave no one behind,” he says. “This automates the process and eliminates manual work.”

Current AtHoc users can add the Account module to their services, and it’s also available as a standalone product. It’s included with all of AtHoc’s services as part of its commercial cloud as well.

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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