BlackBerry Ltd acquires crisis alerts firm AtHoc

On Wednesday, Blackberry announced the acquisition of AtHoc in a move which expands its software offering.

Privately-held AtHoc provides secure, networked crisis communications, and the acquisition will assist BlackBerry in generating revenue from the BBM messaging service, writes Euan Rocha for Reuters.

BlackBerry Ltd acquires crisis alerts firm AtHoc

Athoc alerts system adds to BlackBerry software portfolio

AtHoc’s services are currently used by the U.S. Department of Defense, Homeland Security and a number of clue-chip companies. Its software allows clients to quickly reach staff in times of crisis, sending alerts to smartphones or other pieces of technology such as digital displays and radios.

The company’s services facilitate the sharing of information related to business continuity and rescue efforts. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is expected to be finalized by November.

“AtHoc is an alerts system, but it also needs richer content and that can be provided by BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), which offers not just text, but voice, picture and video sharing, so we can provide a much richer experience to their clients,” said BlackBerry CEO John Chen.

BlackBerry has made a number of recent acquisitions as part of a new software-focused strategy designed to improve its flagging performance. Chen previously stated that some of BlackBerry’s targeted software revenue growth would be generated by acquisitions of companies which promote sales of value-added services.

Acquisitions improve services offered to clients

The company announced plans to acquire WatchDox, a privately-held secure software maker, in April. Top federal agencies, private equity firms and various Hollywood studios use WatchDox to secure their files.

Last year BlackBerry bought out Secusmart, which specializes in voice and data encryption, and Moviru, a British start-up that built software enabling users to have two phone numbers on one SIM card.

“AtHoc, with its messaging alerts, is the next piece in the puzzle,” said Chen. He later stated that some of the company’s large clients compliment BlackBerry’s own.

BlackBerry has used the acquisitions to increase the number of services that it offers to its core client base, including corporations and federal agencies.

“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,” said AtHoc CEO Guy Miasnik.