RMIT University, Deakin University and Vicinity Centres first to sign-up to new public safety initiative launched by BlackBerry and its partner, Crisis Shield
BlackBerry and crisis management specialist, Crisis Shield, (formally Briggs Communications) have announce three leading Australian organisations have joined the partners’ people safety initiative, ‘The Melbourne Shield’. Shopping centre giant, Vicinity Centres, and tertiary institutions Deakin University and RMIT which have large campuses spread across hundreds of buildings, have all joined the program to help protect the thousands of people visiting their premises and surrounding areas in the city.
Launched in June 2017, ‘The Melbourne Shield’ people safety initiative was established by BlackBerry and Crisis Shield to help organisations in the central business district (CBD) of Melbourne to quickly connect with each other during an incident, particularly where there are mass gatherings of people such as concerts and sports events. Combining Crisis Shield’s incident management expertise with BlackBerry AtHoc, a secure crisis communication platform, members of the Melbourne Shield, such as security managers in charge of large public venues, can share trusted alerts through an encrypted network. As an incident is happening, this can help them to better coordinate responses and inform safety-critical decisions, such as whether to stay or evacuate immediately.
“Public safety is a growing issue worldwide, especially for major cites that attract mass gatherings of people, so we are really pleased to see these Australian organisations leading by example with strong incident response strategies in place to protect their employees, customers and students,” said Alex Manea, Chief Security Officer, BlackBerry. “Any city or organisation is vulnerable in times of crisis, whether it is a natural disaster, terrorist threat or a cyber-attack. As incidents happen quickly, the most important thing for decision-makers is to receive and share correct information, then act on it quickly to keep people safe. BlackBerry AtHoc provides Melbourne Shield members with that capability, we look forward to expanding the program together with Crisis Shield in 2018.”
Allan Briggs, Managing Director at Crisis Shield adds, “Our aim is to help Melbourne’s public venues and businesses protect their people and share accurate information quickly during critical incidents. We are only just getting started, so we are thrilled to see some of the city’s most well-known institutions such as RMIT, Deakin University and Vicinity Centres be among the first to join The Melbourne Shield, which is a great example of public safety best practice for other cities to learn from. As we welcome more members in the future, it will equip a larger group of trusted individuals with good intelligence to enable better decisions during emergencies in the CBD. Ultimately, it can be used as a tool to help protect the entire Melbourne city area.”
Members of The Melbourne Shield
RMIT University is one of Australia’s original tertiary institutions. The University offers programs of study in 17 schools across three academic colleges. Its Melbourne campus is in the heart of the CBD, with 45,000 students.
Brad Costello, Director, Facilities & Asset Management, Resources Portfolio | Property Services Group, RMIT says, “As we face ongoing emergency challenges, ranging from fires, floods, cyber-attacks to terrorism, having access to early credible information is invaluable. In the education industry, the safety of people, whether it be students, staff or visitors to our campus is paramount and providing the most secure environment possible is a priority.
“That is why we welcomed The Melbourne Shield initiative. We are joining a trusted network of security decision-makers who are connected through the BlackBerry AtHoc platform – providing us with the ability to connect through an encrypted network in real-time – ensuring we are prepared for any emergency situation.”
Vicinity Centres is one of Australia’s leading retail property groups. Its portfolio includes over 80 retail assets, including Emporium Melbourne an eight-level centre in the CBD which includes Uniqlo’s flagship store and Myer, as well as more than 200 international and specialty stores.
Marc Klomp, Risk Manager – Crisis & Emergency Management, Vicinity Centres says, “Emergency services can’t be everywhere at once during a major incident and The Melbourne Shield is truly a way to ensure organisations and their people are secure in any situation that may occur. An example of this was a major incident in Melbourne Australia early this year on Bourke Street, during which there was a long a period of time where we could not obtain credible information to make the most informed decisions. For a company like ours that sits in the heart of the CBD, the safety of people has never been more important. This is why we didn’t think twice about becoming part of the network.”
Deakin University prides itself on creating opportunities to live and work in a connected, evolving world – enhanced by innovative digital engagement. The University teaches over 53,000 students across five campuses, and over 30 other facilities– including Deakin Downtown in the centre of the city.
Rick Lloyd, Manager, Security & Transport, Deakin University says, “Melbourne Shield is a terrific initiative which provides a secure network for businesses in Melbourne’s CBD to connect, particularly in a critical incident, and share credible and trusted information in real-time. For Deakin, the ability to send and receive emergency alerts and make quick decisions is critical. Every moment counts. We want to account for our people and be equipped to send them early messaging to ensure their safety.”
BlackBerry AtHoc is a trusted, secure and networked crisis communication platform that helps businesses and governments to protect their people and those in their care. Whether they are around the block or around the world, the solution gives any company or department the ability to communicate with their people through numerous devices and create permission-based networks to establish interoperable communication with other stakeholders in their community.
For the new BlackBerry Crisis Communications Specialization and BlackBerry’s Enterprise Partner Program, please visit www.blackberry.com/partners.
BlackBerry is a cybersecurity software and services company dedicated to securing the Enterprise of Things. Based in Waterloo, Ontario, the company was founded in 1984 and operates in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, Middle East, Latin America and Africa. The Company trades under the ticker symbol “BB” on the Toronto Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange. For more information, visit www.BlackBerry.com.