In a commercial framework (a company sending SMS messages to customers), there is generally an Alert Aggregator – one person in charge of managing the process – collecting content from marketing and sales, while monitoring the automated messages coming from the billing department. They make sure that the right messages go out to the right people at the right time. In such a commercial framework, these are all important functions, and the Alert Aggregator’s job is to guarantee customers satisfaction in all these communications.
But in the world of mobile emergency mobile alerts, the stakes are much higher because often, peoples’ lives and property may be at risk if these messages aren’t prioritized and sent efficiently. There are a number of very clearly defined roles, and technical components or groups of individuals who all work in concert to alert the public when necessary.
In the United States, the Wireless Emergency Alerts system (WEA, previously referred to as CMAS) helps relevant federal, state and local government entities send messages to geographically targeted areas with messages about extreme weather danger, missing children alerts, or other urgent communications.
Because the process must be organized and messages sent appropriately, the entities cannot simply send their urgent text message directly to cellular providers; they must first go through a “clearing house” called an Alert Aggregator. In the US, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) serves this role.
Using a secure, internet-based interface, FEMA collects these messages, confirms their authenticity, and then forwards them to a CBC – Cell Broadcast Center – at each provider, which then organizes them and send them to the relevant radio networks connected to the various cell towers.
Having such a role in place assures the government that multiple copies of a messages aren’t sent, contradictory instructions aren’t issued, and that the geographical targeting of citizens who may suffer the impact of an emergency scenario is taken into account for optimized targeting and reception.