Firms partner on emergency messages

Two leading companies in the emergency messaging market have formed a partnership to broaden their offerings in the corporate and government sectors.

WiredRed Software Corp., which offers real-time enterprise messaging through desktop computers, has teamed up with Roam Secure Inc., which developed an emergency alert system for handheld devices.

Emergency managers need a way to communicate with employees sitting at their desks as well as those out in the field, said David Drescher, chief operating officer of Arlington, Va.-based Roam Secure.

"This partnership gives these people the ability to communicate with their constituencies across a broader array of devices and do it seamlessly," instead of dealing with several alert systems, he said.

The companies had wanted to develop capabilities into each other's niche markets. Forming the partnership made "natural sense" as a way to offer proven technologies while continuing to focus on their core products, Allen Drennan, president and chief executive officer of San Diego-based WiredRed.

"It extends our reach from beyond the physical network into the actual mobile device," Drennan said, adding that clients include numerous private companies, state and local governments, and federal agencies, including the FBI, Environmental Protection Agency and Bureau of Land Management.

The two-way, Web-accessible Roam Secure Alert Network, Drescher said, lets emergency managers send messages to officials and responders, and track their responses in real time. It can work with e-mail, wireless phones, pagers, Research in Motion Ltd. BlackBerrys, and other handheld devices regardless of carrier or network.

Roam Secure will integrate WiredRed's e/pop Alert into its system. The e/pop Alert product is used to communicate pertinent and "tamper-resistant" information to thousands of recipients in real time, traversing firewalls and other technological boundaries, he said. It also places priority messages in a separate window over other windows on a desktop to ensure that recipients get an alert immediately.

The platforms can transmit different types of information, such as homeland security information, threat-level changes, data transmitted from the field and severe-weather alerts, Drescher said. Both executives said their companies' products have no limits on how much information can be transmitted. However, while WiredRed can support voice and video transmission in its messages, Drescher said Roam Secure is still working on that aspect for mobile devices because of the intensive bandwidth required.

In addition to numerous corporations, Roam Secure's clients include Washington, D.C., Fairfax and Arlington counties in Virginia, and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, a nonprofit association comprised of 17 local governments in the Washington, D.C., region.

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