As we all know, the role of wireless services in Americans’ everyday lives have progressed over the years, resulting in a reliance on these services for critical information. This has especially had an impact on the alerts and warnings community and the need to expand the breadth of the alerts and warnings “toolbox” to include vehicles for communication that leverage wireless services and devices to receive timely information on the go, often when other resources may be unavailable. Tools such as the Commercial Mobile Alert Service (CMAS), also known as Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), are helping to expand these wireless capabilities within the alerts and warnings community by helping consumers to receive emergency alerts through their wireless phones.
With this increased reliance on wireless services, especially in emergency situations, comes the importance of public-private partnerships between stakeholders in the alerts and warnings community. Federal, state, and local officials involved in alerts and warnings and enhancing wireless presence within the community have been able to do so thanks to increased knowledge, partnerships, services, and participation from industry organizations and associations.
This partnership becomes more important as overlapping priorities rise to the surface for everyone involved. Priorities such as broadband planning stress the importance of this partnership due to the involvement of many of the same stakeholders and the fact that broadband capabilities will only help to provide more tools for providing faster alerts and warnings to more people.
Although one could assume these partnerships would increase and be strengthened as the reliance on wireless services increases, it can be easy to miss the natural overlap among these important issues. For CMAS in particular, many industry representatives are trying to decrease this confusion by increasing available information. As we reported previously, many carriers have begun posting information about CMAS on their websites, including the most up to date lists of CMAS-capable devices in their handset portfolio. Industry organizations such as CTIA-The Wireless Association have also begun to compile a central location for information about CMAS through a WEA information page on their website. Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) continues to provide updates about their role in CMAS and carrier participation through the CMAS page on their website. This set of industry related resources and information represents a great partnership for an important alerts and warnings system, helping to clarify the priority issues at hand.
To continue the increased presence of wireless capabalities in alerts and warnings, these partnerships will only become more important. We at AWARE would love to hear from you about what industry resources or partnership efforts you have found most helpful, or what more you would like to see from your industry peers in helping to strengthen these types of alerts and warnings capabilities. Send us an email, comment on the article, or send us a tweet @AWAREforum.