TREND #2: MOVING FROM ONE-WAY ALERTING TO TWO-WAY SITUATIONAL AWARENESS
Today, when one thinks of mass notification, we most often think of one-way "blasts" of information to the public. These typically entail simple messages, in various forms, pushed to individuals based on rules, geographic locations, etc.
This approach relies on the assumption that officials have a basic understanding of a situation and know what instructions to give. However, because officials often do not know what information to disseminate in the early stages of a crisis (they may be in the process of responding), they wisely refrain from releasing anything. A considerable amount of time may pass before responders gather sufficient information to issue an alert, even though earlier interaction with on-the-scene citizens might have been useful.
As solutions progress, we believe officials using next-generation technology will be able to 1) precisely target citizens through mobile devices in an affected area with an alert whether or not they've subscribed (more on this later), and 2) citizens will be able to respond to questions or provide useful situational feedback. This enhancement to current systems moves notification from a rigid, one-way method to a dynamic interactive form, providing for a more accurate common operating picture.
Such an approach is not without its challenges. Many questions must be answered before this could actually work. Questions like:
- How will we handle the sheer volume of "inputs" from the public?
- How will we analyze this feedback in real-time turning it into actionable intelligence?
- How will we know the information we're receiving is legitimate and trustworthy?
- How will we secure such a system?
All good questions. Answers are uncertain at this point, but thinking outside traditional one-way notification lines will help spur innovation to benefit both first responders and the public.
What do you think? We'd love to hear from you regarding this or other ideas for next generation ENS.
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