Device manufacturer BlackBerry announced that Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), in Washington, D.C., the U.S. capital, has selected AtHoc, a division of BlackBerry, for its new alerting and crisis communication system. The new AtHoc system enhances the ways in which alerts and critical events are shared with key staff members, on-call personnel and decision makers. WMATA will use AtHoc Connect, AtHoc’s platform for secure interoperable crisis communication to create a secure, unified crisis communication network that enables rapid communication between internal teams, first responders, local facilities, and key decision makers. Additional organizations WMATA is targeting to join the new network include several adjacent airports and county law enforcement agencies, including fire and rescue, as well as multiple Federal agencies.
This adoption of BlackBerry’s crisis communication system by a major metropolitan transit authority represents yet another achievement in the comeback of a company that not long ago was teetering on the brink of disaster after losing ground to Apple and Android devices. BlackBerry has been leveraging the security features of its server and devices as a way of cultivating a new market, with particular success with military and government agency clients. Its acquisition of AtHoc, a maker of secure crisis communications networks, is in line with this strategy, and the security needs of WMATA, somewhat different from those of a military or other governmental agency, point to a new sector from which BlackBerry can derive significant revenue.