Torys LLP is an international law firm specializing in mergers, acquisitions and corporate finance, with more than 330 lawyers based in Toronto and New York. One of the realities of Torys’ business is that people are always changing within the firm and BlackBerry® devices are often traded or upgraded. To keep its lawyers up to date, Torys required a way to ensure that emergency contact information was automatically refreshed and pushed to the devices when changes were made.
Parkland School Division in Edmonton, Alberta, serves 9,500 students from Kindergarten to Grade 12. It built an emergency contact list for each school in the district and migrated the list to BlackBerry devices. This allowed Parkland officials to inform key decision makers when there was a need for a school closure due to weather conditions. But like Torys, Parkland needed a way to automatically update its information to ensure it was always current in the event of an emergency.
Both of these organizations proved that you do not have to be a Java expert to implement a simple push application.
With the BlackBerry Enterprise Solution already in place, Torys LLP used PINPoint, an application from Tenet Computer Group, to get to where they wanted to be. PINPoint allowed Torys to deploy the Emergency Contact List (ECL), an uncomplicated sample application that makes emergency contact data in an Excel centralized spreadsheet available on a BlackBerry device – with content pushed to specific devices using the BlackBerry Mobile Data Service feature of the BlackBerry® Enterprise Server.
According to Peter Lam, Director of Technology at Torys LLP, they were able to gain “assurance that our PIN numbers were accurate and up-to-date if we needed them in an emergency. In our old system, there was no guarantee of that.”
Parkland resolved their issues in an entirely different way. Using their own in-house resources, Parkland extended the BlackBerry Enterprise Solution™ with two Java-based applications: an Emergency Contact List and an All Points Bulletin.
“This system gives a level of confidence to our upper management that their messages are getting out in times of crisis,” says Matthew Kierstead, System Principal for Technology, Parkland School Division. “Plus, it was extremely cost-effective to deploy.”
Emergency Contact List is just one example of how easy it is to push applications to your BlackBerry device users and is available in Java™, ASP.NET, BlackBerry® MDS Studio and Domino® formats. The samples have everything you need, including the source code, to customize to fit your requirements.
Some organizations have adapted the Emergency Contact List application to develop daily updates to other information like sales data, preferred vendor lists, loss prevention and procedural manuals, Olympic schedules and medal updates, and executive dashboards and NASCAR information. To name just a few. Now it's your chance to mobilize your data. Just imagine what you could do.
Using the instructions below, you will learn how to install the Java version of Emergency Contact List using the Browser Channel Push of an Excel spreadsheet.
- Microsoft® Excel
- Java 2 Runtime Environment, Standard Edition 1.4.2 or higher
- BlackBerry® Java Development Environment v3.7 or higher
How To Set It Up
- Unzip the files to any folder you choose on a PC that has access to the BlackBerry Enterprise Server
- Folder contents include Bin (compiled code), Content (files that need to be made accessible on your intranet) and Src (source code)
- Edit the mds.properties file found in the Bin\Server folder. Set the BesHostName to the name of the BlackBerry Enterprise Server hosting the BlackBerry MDS Push Service. Set the BesPushPort to the port where the BlackBerry MDS Push server is listening (default is 8080)
- If you are currently using the BlackBerry Simulator, set the BesHost Name = localhost and the BesPushPort = 8080
- Publish the Content folder as a web resource so the BlackBerry device is able to access the icons associated with the read/unread Browser Channel Push.
- Edit the channel.properties file found in the Bin\Server folder. Set the WebContextRoot to the URL you published for the Content folder (i.e. http://server.company.com/ecl)
How To Deploy
- Edit the simulatoremail.txt file in the Bin/Server folder with the email(s) of the BlackBerry device users you want to push the ECL application to.
- The sample spreadsheet xyzlist.xls in the Bin\Server folder will be used to simulate contact data that will be sent to the BlackBerry devices.
- Open a command prompt and navigate to the Bin\Server folder.
- Type run channel simulatoremail.txt xyzlist.xls
- If successful, a new icon called the Emergency Contact List should appear on the handheld(s).
Customizing The Application
- This code is provided so that you can easily create a backdrop to access information. By thinking outside this use-case scenario, you can apply this simplistic, quick to deploy architecture to other business requirements that may be valuable to your mobile workforce.
Torys LLP and Park School Division are just two organizations taking advantage of an Emergency Contact List push application. Get the code for
Emergency Contact List in your preferred format: http://www.blackberry.com/knowledgecenterpublic/livelink.exe/fetch/2000/348583/796557/
Torys LLP case study (PDF)
Parkland School Division #70 - Technical Case Study (PDF)
All Customer Success Stories