Monday, November 15, 2010

ALU's Broadcast Message Center Enables CMAS Emergency Alerts

Alcatel-Lucent introduced a Broadcast Message Center (BMC) solution that allows mobile operators to comply with emergency alerting standards in the United States. The BMC system acts as a secure interface between an emergency management agency and the service provider's network, delivering emergency alerts to cell sites in a specific geographic area. For instance, targeted text alerts can be sent to residents threatened by tsunamis, wildfire, tornadoes, floods, etc.; to warn of school emergencies; or to inform citizens of an Amber Alert. Alcatel-Lucent's Broadcast Message Center manages message and delivery priorities, scheduling and re-transmission needs for these alerts.


The FCC has established the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) to standardize this emergency alert system on a national level. The CMAS network will allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to accept and aggregate alerts from the President of the United States, the National Weather Service (NWS), and state and local emergency operations centers, and then send the alerts over a secure interface to wireless providers. The location-specific emergency alerts will be classified in one of three categories:

  • Presidential Alerts-- Alerts for all Americans related to national emergencies, such as terrorist attacks, that will preempt any other pending alerts;

  • Imminent Threat Alerts -- Alerts with information on emergencies, such as hurricanes or tornadoes, where life or property is at risk, the event is likely to occur, and some responsive action should be taken; and


  • Child Abduction Emergency/AMBER Alerts -- Alerts related to missing or endangered children due to an abduction or runaway situation.


It will be possible for consumers to opt out of receiving Imminent Threat and Child Abduction/AMBER alerts, but not Presidential Alerts. A unique and dedicated vibration cadence and audio attention signal will be used for emergency alerts. The system will require CMAS-enabled handsets and these are expected to come to market in 2011 or be enabled by software upgrades to mobile handsets. The system is also designed as a priority one-to-all broadcast from the cell tower to all handsets in range, thus avoiding any network congestion issues.

Alcatel-Lucent confirmed that it has advanced trials and commercial deployments of its Broadcast Message Center underway with major service providers in the U.S., as well as similar systems in Europe and worldwide.
http://www.alcatel-lucent.com
  • In August, Sprint and the California Emergency Management Agency announced they were using Alcatel-Lucent’s Broadcast Messaging Center in a pilot public safety program being conducted in San Diego County. In October, the external link Florida Division of Emergency Management announced Alcatel-Lucent's Broadcast Message Center was used in a live Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) pilot in the Tampa area.

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