Up in Canada, the City of Waterloo hosts at least one famous company, handset manufacturer BlackBerry. Despite word that BlackBerry is selling off some of its Canadian real estate
, the company is expected to keep its headquarters in Waterloo. As it turns out, the city happens to be a customer of its most famous inhabitant. Waterloo has just renewed a contract with its mobile carrier, Bell, that covers three years and will cost the city $516,000. The contract covers 370 BlackBerry handsets which will be used by city planners, firefighters and almost anyone working for the city that needs to stay connected. 50 of the handsets have been upgraded to BlackBerry 10 models.
Waterloo residents, as you might expect, are pretty dependent on smartphones. The city offers a Ping Street app that allows residents to stay in touch with government operations including waste removal, road closures and contact numbers. In addition, citizens of Waterloo can use the app to report potholes, pot smoking, graffiti and request and even request a overnight parking permit. Residents have seen the response time for services speed up since the city started relying on smartphones for communications.
"A lot of our crews will have them — all our planners, our bylaw guys who are out, firefighters… We just feel that it keeps us connected so that if we need to get anything done we have instant connection. We see it as really important in doing the business of the city — being able to react quickly and efficiently."-Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran
Mayor Brenda Halloran said that the handsets let the city respond to problems "quickly and efficiently
," and eliminates paperwork. And as loyal as BlackBerry has been to Waterloo, the city says it has no plans to switch to another operating system or handset manufacturer.
City of Waterloo continues to use BlackBerry handset