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BlackBerry ThreatVector Blog

Communication Is the First Cornerstone of Public Safety

BLACKBERRY ATHOC / 02.06.20 / Rob High

You’ve likely already heard the news. Recently, a man stabbed five people in Central London, killing two. The loss of life may have been greater had the men and women present not banded together and forced him outside, where he was killed by police.

The fact that things could have gone much worse doesn’t change the harm this incident has caused its victims. One man who was present for the attack described it as akin to being in a warzone. It also doesn’t change the fact that this attack is another in a string of terroristic events suffered by the UK.

It’s a sobering reminder that no matter how safe we think we are, something can always go wrong. In some cases, it’s a natural disaster or infrastructure failure. In other instances, as described above, the threat is entirely manmade.

Regardless of a crisis’s source, public and private sector organisations have a responsibility to help keep the public out of harm’s way.

Yet that’s a task that carries its own set of challenges. Onsite security is a complicated, messy affair at the best of times. The logistics of not only controlling access to a public building, but being prepared to act immediately when an incident occurs, can be enough to make one’s head spin.

Most simply lack the capacity and the expertise.

Physical security is not dissimilar to cybersecurity in that regard. And as with cybersecurity, there are agencies that have built their reputation around providing clients with both infrastructure and trained personnel to protect their assets. Axis Security is one such organisation.

As one of the United Kingdom’s leading security firms, Axis Security employs trained, vetted, and licensed officers to corporate clients throughout the country. A large number of these guards are deployed to blue chip organizations– recognised, trusted national enterprises. In order to maintain a strong reputation with these clients, Axis Security must excel in everything it does.

That includes immediately mobilizing its personnel during an emergency.

“In the event of a major incident, we need to be able to communicate with both our clients and our sites,” explains Leo Tarelli, Mobilisation Manager at Axis Security. “We need to be able to immediately notify everyone of a developing situation so they can take the necessary actions.” 

Initially, Axis Security achieved this through a competing crisis communication platform. Yet this solution was far from perfect. That’s why when the time came to renew its contract, Axis Security instead chose to deploy BlackBerry® AtHoc®.

“We found that BlackBerry AtHoc’s categorisation was much better, with cleaner segregation of users and user groups, and at a better price” he continues. “We use mass notification in many different forms – not just here in our head office, but also locally in some of our buildings. With our previous crisis communication platform, coordinating alerts across those different formats was somewhat cumbersome; BlackBerry AtHoc is a lot more streamlined in that regard.”

It was not long after deployment that BlackBerry AtHoc would be put to the test. One of Axis Security’s buildings located at one of London’s primary business districts suffered a major gas leak, putting an entire neighborhood on lockdown. By leveraging BlackBerry AtHoc, Axis Security was able to respond with both speed and efficiency.

As the leak occurred, occupants were evacuated from the building, provided with regular updates, and notified when it was safe to return. This was all done without the use of muster points. Everyone was kept safe and accounted for through the platform.

Maintaining public safety and security during a crisis is imperative – and the first step in doing so is establishing strong, reliable lines of communication. Axis Security understands this. Through its own processes, as well as the BlackBerry AtHoc platform, it keeps both its personnel and its clientele out of harm’s way.

BlackBerry is proud to play a part in that.

To learn more about how Axis Security is leveraging BlackBerry AtHoc, read the full case study. You can also learn more about BlackBerry AtHoc, or visit Axis Security’s website

Rob High

About Rob High

Rob High manages the BlackBerry EMEA sales team for AtHoc and actively presents at Blackberry events across the region. Rob has spent the last ten years working in the critical communications sector and advocates for the use of technology to improve safety and security both in the workplace and at home.