IDF Home Command
Israel is in the focus of multifold challenges that are threatening the population’s safety and security on a constant base. Besides being in the focal point of missile and rocket threats of the neighboring countries, additional challenges are being imposed based on the fact that Israel is located on the Syrian-African Break of the respective tectonic plates. According to the words of Zeev Tzuk Ram Head of NEMA (National Emergency Management Authority) “ My worst nightmare is that a strong earthquake will catch us unprepared with inability to warn the population and oversee & control the aftermath.” As such Israel has to prepare itself for a devastating earthquake that might occur any minute. In addition to that, given the country’s geographic circumstances and the fact that both the majority of the industry as well as the population are concentrated on 35% of the country’s area, make the population also vulnerable to any kind of man made and natural disasters, something that has been proved once again during the devastating forest fires that took place beginning of December 2010 and caused the death of 41 people enforcing the evacuation of ten thousands of people. Following the aforementioned the Israeli Home Front Command and the National Emergency Management Authority “NEMA” came up with a new concept to deploy state of the art emergency alert and notification system based on new media age technologies. Unlike the efforts in the US and Europe where the authorities were looking for event alert notification “Cycle Time” of 10 and 3 minutes respectively the Israeli standard has set very harsh criteria where the Cycle Time has to be less than 20 seconds(on UMTS 3G networks) so that the entire Israeli population can be informed in time, reach protecting shelter and take respective measures.
After testing different media and technologies, all of which have been dismissed lacking the mass media and timing requirement, eVigilo demonstrated beginning of 2009 a solution based on the cell broadcast protocol. The eVigilo system underwent harsh tests during Israel’s 2009 Civil Defense Drill “Turning Point 3″ where the system has been tested as the government’s mobile emergency alert notification tool, broadcasting both geo targeted as well as nation wide alerts. Furthermore the national security cabinet has decided to start with the deployment of the national alert distribution center based on eVigilo system and technology. During the 2010 Civil Defense Drill “Turning Point 4″ the system has been successfully operated also over 3G networks and as such became the first system world wide operating in life environment both on GSM as well as on 3G networks.
Meeting up to the harshest high availability and disaster recovery requirements, the system is hosted at 2 geographically separated hosting centers with hundreds of km distance between each other. In order to have full control of the system in general and the access in special the government decided to go for the model where the CBC is hosted together with the alert system at the hosting premises connecting to the different GSM as well as 3G networks. To maintain highest security level between the emergency responder, the alert system and the mobile operators the system is inter-connected using dedicated IP network (IP VPN) and SDH using full backup both for the network as well as for the connecting elements whereas the network has also an opportunity for a satellite based wireless backup. The Israeli emergency notification system delivered by eVigilo (IADC) follows also multiple operational scenarios.
As of today the Israeli eVigilo system IADC is considered the fastest emergency notification system that is operating over GSM and 3G networks and using the cell broadcast protocol. The Israeli emergency Cell Broadcast project called “Personal Message” was considered as the first phase of the “National Message” project. The “National Message” project provides the authorities with the ability to send messages through all available media and communication channels such as cell broadcast, push notification to Smartphones, PCs, sirens, TV, radio, social networks and any additional means of information and communication that the national authority would like to connect to the eVigilo system.
During December 2011 the Israeli “National Message” project has been expanded vertically to provide respective services also to the municipalities in Israel. The element used here is the “City Alert” module of the eVigilo platform, which enables community based services by the municipalities for alert and notification. It is now possible for all municipalities to send not only local alert notifications but also general information they would like to share with the population. Information is sent now across different channels such as SMS/MMS, IVR, Push notification to Smartphones and PCs, notification through emails, social networks and electronic billboards. The solution enables the authorities not only to send information to the population but provides capabilities to the citizens to send “Panic Alerts” to the authorities through embeded Smartphone applications. The solution works on most handsets available today on the market. Information is sent directly to the emergency response center where the alert managers have the possibility to see the person in distress “live” on an electronic map with all relevant contact data and information incl. photos made by the help seeker.