Ontario VAR’s disaster recovery app listed on Public Works portal

With the listing of its PINpoint for BlackBerry disaster recovery application on the Emergency Preparedness Software section of Public Works and Government Services Canada‘s Software Information Portal, Toronto’s Tenet Computer Group Inc. hopes to leverage its success from the U.S. with Canadian public sector organizations.

PINpoint is a disaster recovery application that uses BlackBerry devices to help workers get deal with a disaster recovery situation. Rick Jordan, director, sales and strategic alliances for Tenet, said in essence PINPoint takes all the data that would be in a big disaster recovery binder today, and puts it on your handheld devices.

“What used to be in the binder or on Excel spreadsheets is now available through PINpoint, and it comes right from the authoritative data source,” said Jordan.

From a central management console controlled by the IT department, up-to-date disaster recovery documents and key contact info is regularly pushed to corporate BlackBerry devices and stored in the cache memory so that, in case of a disaster, the information is at hand. An application icon on the device launches PINpoint, which also leverages BlackBerry cell and PIN technology to allow communication during a disaster situation.

“When servers are down or there’s a power failure, our application can still be utilized,” said Jordan. “We can do voice and e-mail but when phone systems are down, PIN doesn’t take much bandwidth, so it’s an effective means of communications.”

PINpoint is currently on version 2.8, and when version 3.0 launches shortly Jordan said it will add PDF support so floor plans and other documents can be available. He added the PINpoint contact directory is more useful than a user’s address book as it is kept current with staff and position changes through the management console, leveraging corporate directory information such as Microsoft Active Directory or Novell eDirectory.

Jordan said Tenet has been getting strong interest since PINpoint was listed on the Public Works portal.

“We’ve had a few government agencies looking at the application, and we’ve deployed our application to various government agencies in Canada and the U.S.,” said Jordan. “A lot of companies do business continuity and disaster recovery, and we’re that extra layer. It feels a very big void in the market right now.”

The Canadian Tourism Commission used PINpoint during the recent Vancouver Olympics, and Jordan said Tenet has also worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the U.S.

“The idea is to have something in place before a disaster occurs,” said Jordan. “If it’s a Haiti or Katrina or even just a server down, they still need to have the ability and capability to access that information.”

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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