Spawar picks AtHoc for emergency alert system

The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (Spawar) said it has signed a $2.5 million contract with AtHoc to provide a network-based emergency warning system to serve the four main Navy regions in the United States.

Jim Macisaac, wide-area alert and notifications systems engineer at Spawar, said the AtHoc Computer Desktop Notification System (CDNS) will deliver emergency alerts, including weather alerts, to 400,000 computer desktops in the Navy’s Northwest, Southwest, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions.

Macisaac said Spawar is working with the Navy Marine Corps Intranet program office and EDS, the NMCI contractor, to integrate the AtHoc system with NMCI desktops. He said he anticipates the service to be ready within 60 days.

Macisaac said the AtHoc system can push alerts to a single desktop or building on a base. It can also send a regional alert. For example, if a building is under attack, the AtHoc software can alert the occupants to regroup in a secure area, Macisaac said.

The company will install four Dell processor blade servers in each of the four regions to support CDNS, he said. The setup can support additional users by adding another blade server.

Guy Miasnik, president and chief executive officer of AtHoc, said the company uses IP technology to quickly push alerts to desktops from Navy Regional Operations Centers. When someone sends an alert, a window immediately pops up, filling about a quarter of the computer screen to grab the user’s attention, Miasnik said.

Users should reply to the alert so operations center employees can determine who has received it via CDNS and who needs to receive an alert via other means, Miasnik said.

Operators can generate alerts or retransmit alerts from other sources using the Common Alerting Protocol, which is a structured Extensible Markup Language message. People can send weather alerts using CAP, Miasnik said. Macisaac said the weather alerts will come from internal Navy weather systems.

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