ORLANDO, Fla., April 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The Civil Emergency Alert Services Association (CEASA) announced today that they will support the launch of a Commercial Mobile Information Services (CMIS) beta trial during the 2014 hurricane season. CMIS will use cell broadcast geo-targeting technology, which can send text messages to all smart devices and cell phones in specific locations.
The devastating and extended impact of Hurricane Sandy, as well as the likelihood of increased ‘superstorm’ activity in the Gulf and Mid-Atlantic states, has also raised interest by power companies and other utility providers for an ‘at-hand’ solution for improving customer relations during power outages.
Cell broadcast technology is currently used for Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) including National Weather Service (NWS) warnings and AMBER Alerts. It is supported by the FCC, FEMA, and the nation’s wireless carriers, but is currently limited to use by government agencies. The CMIS trial will allow access by FEMA-approved Collaborative Operating Groups (COG) for public safety-related announcements.
CEASA Group has secured use of the gateway middleware necessary to enable an end-to-end pilot solution by June 1, 2014. The operational system is modeled after the successful trial of Cell Broadcast Short Messaging Services (CBSMS) conducted by the state of Florida in 2008. While it does not require additional technology or infrastructure investments, the trial will require FEMA to allow the mobile operators in federally-declared disaster locations the option to broadcast public safety advisory messages over the WEA alert and warning ‘channel’ for the duration of the beta pilot. A detailed cost-benefit analysis will be conducted at the conclusion of the pilot to determine if the feature can produce commercially-sustained and ongoing revenue.
In a conference call with industry partners this morning, CEASA Executive Director D. D. Weiser said, “Our decade-long advocacy in the 2000’s led the FCC and FEMA to embrace cell broadcasting as an unparalleled technology to communicate with the public during emergencies. Today, with the infrastructure already in place and saving lives across the country, we are encouraging the nation’s wireless carriers to consider expanding the use of their resident cell broadcast functionality.”
CEASA is a global organization of emergency management and telecommunications professionals dedicated to the adaptation of emerging technologies for humanitarian applications. The organization, based in the United Kingdom, is recognized by the United Nations as an accredited Civil Information Society (CIS) and is supported by a network of chapters worldwide.
Additional information about the CMIS beta pilot and cell broadcast technology can be found at the organization’s website: www.ceasa.org.
SOURCE Civil Emergency Alert Services Association