A networked crisis communications platform called AtHoc, acquired by BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ: BBRY; TSX: BB) in September 2015, is now generally available to global customers concerned about regulatory developments over data sovereignty, hosted from its Canadian data centre.
The AtHoc platform allows people, devices and organizations to exchange real-time crisis communications, focusing on emergency management, workplace security, and communication protocols around weather or violence related events, while also addressing concerns about local data privacy regulations during those communications.
The platform does this by communicating with a diverse set of endpoints, including mobile devices, desktop computers, digital displays, radios, IP phones, siren systems, fire panels and loudspeakers to facilitate situational awareness during an emergency.
Several new Canadian and global customers have already committed to be hosted on the new service.
The Canadian offering is supplemented by a European disaster recovery data centre, although BlackBerry plans to deliver wholly hosted cloud services based in Europe, with both primary and disaster recovery sites located there, early in 2016.
In October 2015, the European Court of Justice struck down the 15-year-old trans-Atlantic “Safe Harbor” pact, which had been used by about 4,500 companies including Apple and Google, on the grounds that it violated privacy rights of European citizens and exposed them to U.S. government surveillance.
So the establishment of Canadian and European data centres are major selling points for government organizations and companies dealing in sensitive data.
“This is an important step forward in our mission to extend the AtHoc software platform globally, enabling us to build crisis communications networks in the cloud for customers around the world,” said Aviv Siegel, VP Technology, AtHoc, Division of BlackBerry. “Now we can provide Canadian customers, as well as international customers, state-of-the-art crisis communication capability while helping them address local privacy concerns and regulations.”
Just yesterday, the European Commission and United States agreed a new framework to replace the old Safe Harbor pact, which ought to come into effect in the near future pending ratification.
Headquartered in Silicon Valley, AtHoc is the leading provider of networked crisis communications services to the U.S. Departments of Defense and Homeland Security.
AtHoc was recently selected by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, a component agency of the DHS, to provide crisis communications to all TSA staff across more than 200 airports.
In mid-January, AtHoc was awarded a multi-year $20 million U.S. contract by the Department of Veterans Affairs.