Mass notification sets sights on apps over SMS

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Friday, October 18, 2013

EL SEGUNDO, Calif.—SMS may have had its day as the preferred delivery method of mass notification. Vendors are looking for new ways to deliver information, and their attention has landed on smartphone apps, according to a new report from IHS.

SMS can be compromised in emergencies, the report found. “The reliability of traditional telephone markets has always been a hit-or-miss proposition in the event of an emergency,” said Omar Talpur, security, fire and access control analyst for IHS, in a prepared statement. In some emergencies, whole networks can crash, he said. 

By sending information to smartphones using Wi-Fi, Talpur said, mass notification vendors can still get their messages out.

Although users have been able to send MNS information through smartphone apps since 2009, the success of smartphone-based MNS depends on the number of people using smartphones, the report says. As the devices become more ubiquitous, that is becoming less of a concern.

“Multimodal systems that use various means of communication to end users are becoming a necessity to ensure that individuals are kept well-informed during emergency situations,” Talpur said, in a prepared statement. “SMS will continue to represent a part of an MNS. But, as new technologies emerge, its influence on the overall MNS is expected to diminish.”