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BlackBerry has announced that it’s acquiring AtHoc, a Calif-based company that develops emergency alert systems for government agencies, military bodies, and other organizations.

The AtHoc software is designed to enable the exchange of “critical information in real-time during business continuity and life safety operations.” This covers things like sending alerts to employees en masse, collecting information from people’s handsets for situational awareness, and communicating with other related organizations.

The AtHoc platform is about as cross-platform as they come, with support for iOS, Android, PCs, radios, IP phones, sirens, fire panels and speakers. It’s all about getting crucial information out, regardless of the end-point. The company already works with the U.S. Departments of Defense (DoD) and Homeland Security, so it has a solid pedigree.

AtHoc’s technology will be integrated into BlackBerry’s enterprise offerings, including BBM Meetings — the business-focused version of its popular messaging service. This could mean that live video feeds are added to AtHoc-powered alerts, which may help collaboration around critical situations.

“AtHoc and BlackBerry share a common vision of a securely connected world,” explains Guy Miasnik, president and CEO of AtHoc. “Federal departments, state and local agencies, and commercial enterprises alike depend on AtHoc to communicate reliably during their most critical moments. Becoming part of BlackBerry will give us the ability to scale more quickly to expand our global reach and introduce new applications for the AtHoc platform, while continuing to serve our government and enterprise customers.”

With its smartphone business falling behind the giants of iOS and Android, BlackBerry has been slowly transforming into a software-focused company, so taking on a firm such as AtHoc feeds into this broader strategy — providing security-centric tools to organizations.

The deal is yet to be finalized, but it is expected to close later this year. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


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