Louisiana courts: An AtHoc decision

Saturday, March 1, 2008

NEW ORLEANS--Wanting to be able to provide emergency alerting to personnel in three locations, the decision was made at two courts and a judicial administrator's office to combine resources and install a single network-based emergency notification system by AtHoc, Inc. Alerts can be sent to all three locations simultaneously or restricted to one location.
Based in Burlingame, Calif., with branch offices in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere, AtHoc has about 50 employees and has been in business since 1999, said Simon Berman, vice president of product marketing. In 2004, the company began to focus on the emergency notification market. It has focused primarily in defense and military applications until the last year when it "moved into adjacent markets, like state and local governments and large commercial entities as well."
The AtHoc system is an enterprise software package installed by IT personnel, which "does not involve intrusive wiring," Berman said. It sends alerts via SMS text messaging, phone and email. Berman said the personnel who work with physical security were consulted about their needs and how the three locations could work together. It was important to them, he said, that they use the same system across each location, that mobility be provided for operators so alerts could be sent remotely, and that plans were made for different emergency scenarios such as weather, criminal acts of violence, medical emergency, etc.
This particular system does not tie into the fire or security systems in the buildings, but Berman said AtHoc has worked with well-known physical security entities such as Siemens and Northrup Grumman on installations where it is tied into "other sources of input." In the future, Berman expects his product will fully integrate with other inputs such as "weather, fire systems, heat sensors, chemical sensors and video systems," and with "other outputs" such as strobes, audio and EAS.
"That's absolutely where the market is going," he said. "It's all converging around the IT network and we feel we're pretty well positioned."