Network-centric emergency notification is a method for turning an internet protocol (IP) network and its connected devices into a highly effective alarm system in times of emergency. Emergency alerts are created in a web-based console, and once triggered, are disseminated across the computer network to devices such as PCs and laptops in the form of intrusive audio/visual messages. Users on other mobile devices such as pagers, BlackBerries and PDAs can also be reached via text message alerts.
Since the IP network is pervasive and highly available, this method is both cost-effective and non-disruptive when compared to other forms of alerting such as public address (PA) systems, sirens and telephony alerting. There are many other significant advantages including the ability to:
- Rapidly alert hundreds of thousands of people, regardless of location
- Provide rich content to targeted recipients
- Assure delivery to recipients and ensure accountability with receipt acknowledgement
- Provide feedback capabilities so emergency operators can track the status of personnel
- Provide links to more critical information such as evacuation maps and instructions
- Remove physical boundaries and alert personnel indoors, outdoors and in remote locations
- Unify all notification channels from one centralized system
The most progressive providers of network-centric emergency alerting have recently begun connecting the network alerting systems to traditional alerting channels. The network console can now be used to trigger all forms of emergency alerting from network-connected devices to phones, public address systems and the Emergency Alert System (EAS) all through one console with the click of a mouse. Much of the integration between systems is made possible through the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP).