Three Australian organizations join “The Melbourne Shield”

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BlackBerry and Crisis Shield have announced that three leading Australian organizations have joined the partners’ people safety initiative, ‘The Melbourne Shield‘.

Shopping center 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 uses AtHoc, BlackBerry’s Crisis Alerting software, to connect Melbourne’s major venues and organisations in an exclusive critical incident network – immediately alerting key personnel when a major incident occurs and enabling them to communicate with their counterparts at other organisations; coordinating the city’s response.

The aim of the Melbourne Shield is to create a secured, connected community in both the private and public sector that can effectively communicate with other businesses, departments or personnel in real-time, should an incident take place.

BlackBerry AtHoc is being offered as a shared solution between Melbourne Shield members, establishing a critical incident communication network which can connect places of mass gatherings such as stadiums, malls and convention centres, as well as infrastructure such as hotels, hospitals, schools, universities and businesses.

Collaboration, resource sharing and two-way communication will be a necessity for responding to contemporary and future risks. An instant and credible communication channel between Melbourne’s major organisations will drastically increase the efficiency and efficacy of the city’s response to critical incidents.

Alex Manea, Chief Security Officer, BlackBerry said,

“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 organizations leading by example with strong incident response strategies in place to protect their employees, customers and students,”

“Any city or organization 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 said,

“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.”

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.”

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