The Global Alerting Platform has a number of unique and ground breaking features.
Soldiers in the field, disaster relief workers, pipeline inspectors in remote oil fields, helicopter pilots fighting forest fires, scientific expeditions in the Antarctic, sailors on the high seas—all rely on satellite location technology as a critical safety lifeline. Yet commonly used one-way emergency beacons have a high incidence of false alerts triggered by accidental activations. To avoid wasting expensive and scarce resources, first responders must try to determine by independent means if a distress signal is valid before launching search-and-rescue (SAR) operations.
Two-way satellite-based location, tracking and messaging technologies, which allow responders to verify distress calls, are a promising alternative to one-way emergency beacons. To help speed the development and adoption of these technologies, AWS has joined with mobile satellite industry companies and the emergency response community as a charter member of the ProTECTS (Promotion of Two-way Emergency Communication and Tracking Systems) Alliance. The Alliance is actively help to shape and define protocols and standards for satellite based messaging and emergency reporting.
The Global Alerting Platform fully supports two way messaging. The platform can be configured to help validate incoming alerts by automatically responding to the sender, inviting them to confirm the alert details before relaying on to the first responder or SAR authority.
The Global Alerting Platform acts as a gateway to terrestrial messaging systems including, but not limited to, GSM, SMS and email as well as social network platforms, such as Twitter, FireEagle and RSS. Whether your message is a position report, an emergency alert or simple text message, our hub can transform and route the message to any destination. For example, if you are a single handed fisherman you can route a man-overboard alert directly to the search and rescue services or if you are hiking in the mountains, you can configure your account to automatically "tweet" your location to all your friends. In a lone worker scenario, you could send a message from your Iridium SBD based device to another user with a totally different device on another satellite network.
Emergency messages can be relayed to first responder centres or directly to SAR authorities, based on location and nationality. The Global Alerting Platform is fully integrated with the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Centre (IERCC).
In a world of rapid technological innovation and ever changing standards, the ability to interoperate between messaging systems is an increasing problem. Being able to automatically translate from one message format to another without user intervention is a unique service provided by GAP. For example, it is possible to send a text message from your handheld device and have it delivered as an email and vice versa. Similarly, you can send an SMS message from a terrestrial phone and have that delivered as an Iridium SBD message.
Access to the platform can be achieved through a number of mechanisms depending on the requirements. AWS provides a customisable web portal that allows consumers and business users to configure devices, route messages and plot locations and tracks.
Our mapping engine that powers the portal supports the popular providers including Bing and Google. However, our engine also supports full marine charting, delivered over the Internet.
In addition to the web portal, we can provide an Outlook plug-in that allows mobile originated position reports and alerts to be view directly within Outlook itself, without the need to login to a web site.
To make communication even easier, you can send a message directly to a device without ever leaving your email client.
As the market expands and new devices emerge, there is an increasing need to standardise on the format of emergency messages. SAR authorities, with their limited resources, need all the information possible, presented in a standard format, to minimise effort validating the alert, removing error and improving response times.
In the unregulated space, commercial device providers are free to develop their own messaging formats. However, this presents a problem to the SAR authorities who have to decipher and understand the proprietary format. One of the first achievements of the ProTECTS Alliance was to support the creation of a set of guidelines for the format of emergency messages. The guidelines, drawn up by the United States National Search and Rescue Committee (NSARC) are the first step in producing an international standard.
The Global Alerting Platform is able to generate alert messages that comply with these guidelines. Not only that, the hub can translate existing proprietary formats from non-compliant devices into the standard format. This has the advantage of allowing existing hardware manufacturers to integrate their devices without change.
The Global Alerting Platform has been designed to work with a number of popular satellite systems. The flexible architecture allows us to easily integrate messaging systems from a range of providers. At present, the platform supports two way messaging on Iridium Short Burst Data and Inmarsat D+. However, it is easy to develop 'connectors' to practically any communications system or messaging platform. This allows us to support a wealth of end user devices and usage scenarios.
In search and rescue scenarios, the Global Alerting Platform can interconnect with existing command and control systems. Emergency alerts and distress messages can be 'pushed' directly into existing systems or can be accesses through secure interfaces. Using industry standard secure protocols, messages can be retrieved and inspected in near real time. In the case of Iridium SBD alerts, delivery to the SAR system is typically achieved within a few seconds. There is no need to deploy new software or systems, the Global Alerting Platform can fully integrated. In situations where direct integration is not appropriate, AWS can provide a dedicated web based client application to monitor emergency alerts. This application requires no 'on-premises' installation and is accessed from the Internet over secure channels.
The underlying platform exposes an advanced application programming interface (API) that allows highly targeted applications to the end users, whether they are individuals, enterprises or search and rescue authorities. Using industry standard protocols, extensibility and interoperability are assured. The API also allows for the inclusion of emerging devices and communications technologies thereby providing a high level of 'future proofing'.
Our Professional Services Team is at hand to offer advice, design, architectural and development services to link the Global Alerting Platform with existing customer systems. AWS has significant experience in the development of airtime provisioning systems, billing systems, custom software for market verticals and consumer applications. Whatever your software needs, our Professional Services Team can help.