Transport Safety Bureau picks BlackBerry for mobile direction

By GovTechReview Staff
Thursday, 07 November, 2013

Ailing mobile vendor BlackBerry may have been written off by many industry pundits, but the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has thrown its weight behind the mobile-messaging stalwart by announcing it will equip its field investigators with BlackBerry Z10 and Z30 smartphones.

The smartphones will be used for the recording of safety data, which includes filling in forms and taking photos, as well as for everyday communications. BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 will provide messaging, security and broad access to the organisation's mobility platform.

"Being able to securely share real-time data from accident sites is crucial to our investigative role," said ATSB chief commissioner Martin Dolan in a statement.

"With BlackBerry 10, our investigation teams are able to navigate to locations, take and share high-quality photos, and collaborate on data from any site they’re sent to, all within a network that conforms to the high security standards that we need."

ATSB has a five-year relationship with BlackBerry, which has fought in recent years to stay relevant as nimbler competitors steal sales – and once-unassailable government contracts won on the back of BlackBerry's perceived higher security – from the company.

The BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system received US government FIPS 140-2 certification before its release, helping it score a significant deal with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

BlackBerry 10 is currently being evaluated for secure Australian government usage by the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), which if successful will add the operating system to its Evaluated Products List (EPL).

“We chose BlackBerry 10 for its trusted security, ease of migration and cost-effectiveness, which has overall helped the ATSB realise significant savings," Dolan said.

"We see this latest iteration of Blackberry’s mobility platform as an enabler of our own technology future, including plans to stream live video from investigations and if we choose to, support a broader range of device types within the organisation.”

The latest smartphone market-share figures show BlackBerry's market share has almost disappeared in the US as it fell out of the ranks of the top-five smartphone makers; the platform recently made a small resurgence in Australia, growing market share to a meagre 1.3 per cent. – David Braue

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