VAR Spearheads $20 Million Contract With VA For Crisis Communications Platform

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AtHoc, a division of BlackBerry, on Monday unveiled a $20 million multi-year contract extension to support the Department of Veterans Affairs' enterprise-wide crisis communications platform.

Four Points Technology, a Chantilly, Va.-based value-added reseller that focuses on data center infrastructure, mobility and security, will spearhead the deployment of AtHoc's networked crisis communications platform to support the VA's notification system and personnel accountability system.

Four Points Technology's commitment to the VA stems from the company's own president and CEO, David Gilchrist, a service-connected disabled veteran who provided oversight for the instruction and supervision of more than 200 personnel during his last active duty assignment.

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"As a service-disabled veteran-owned business, our focus is on supporting the VA," Joel Lipkin, chief operating officer at Four Points Technology, told CRN. "We act as the prime contractor, we deliver the maintenance and support for the AtHoc software, and as we roll forward, we anticipate we'll have the opportunity to work with the VA to enhance the offering of AtHoc technology further."

The contract, which became effective in September, will run 39 months and extends the original contact between AtHoc and the VA, formed in 2010.

San Mateo, Calif.-based AtHoc, which was acquired by BlackBerry in September, touts its networked crisis communications platform as a secure cloud platform with an array of applications leveraging mobility, hybrid cloud and the IP network to facilitate real-time collaboration in crisis situations.

The platform will extend protection to more than 600,000 VA personnel and expand the scope and functionality of the VA personnel accountability system.

In addition to enabling alerts across phones, pagers, FAX machines and desktops, the platform also allows for integration with other VA systems such as digital media systems.

"The VA took an innovative approach to what they needed. … They needed to be able to alert all their employees and contractors, and they needed to be able to account for all their employees during a crisis," said Dubhe Beinhorn, vice president of federal sales at AtHoc.

This platform will be extremely useful during crisis events, which the VA has seen in the past with Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and the Washington, D.C., Navy Yard shooting in 2013.

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