When an emergency occurs, a public safety official uses an Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS)-compatible computer software program to send an alert to people in their community. The alert goes through the internet to the IPAWS-Open Platform for Emergency Networks (IPAWS-OPEN), which ensures that the alert was sent from an authorized source. IPAWS-OPEN then routes the alert to cell towers, radio and television broadcasters road signs, sirens, etc. to maximize the chance that individuals who need to be alerted are notified.
IPAWS uses an internationally recognized eXtensible Markup Language (XML) message exchange data standard known as the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP). Technologies that use CAP and have access to the internet can be programmed to receive and distribute alerts sent through IPAWS. Currently, most messages are text only, but IPAWS-OPEN makes picture and video feeds possible and allows for the seamless incorporation of emerging technologies.
Computer gaming systems, digital signs, siren systems, internet search engines, social sharing websites, and instant messaging are all examples of technologies that are beginning to use IPAWS to deliver life-saving emergency alerts to the public.
Private Sector Developers
Private sector partners are comprised of representatives from companies with recognized equities in the alert and warning field. Because the majority of the infrastructure needed to accomplish the IPAWS mission is owned and operated by the private sector, the private sector is a key partner in the development and implementation of IPAWS.
Private sector developers may be interested in leveraging different aspects of IPAWS in the development of their alert and warning technology. Below is more information on different groups from the private sector that are currently working with the IPAWS Program Management Office.
Alert Origination Service Providers are developers that furnish the software interface that alerting authorities use to generate CAP messages.
Commercial Mobile Service Providers are wireless carriers who voluntarily participate in the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system.
Emergency Alert System (EAS) Participants are terrestrial broadcasters, cable television systems, wireless cable systems, satellite digital audio radio service (SDARS) providers, direct broadcast satellite (DBS) services and wireline video service providers that distribute EAS messages.
National Weather Service (NWS) Systems can be used to leverage the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Weather Radio and other National Weather Service dissemination systems.
Internet Service Providers are: developers that will leverage the IPAWS Public Alerts Atom Feed (currently in development).
Unique System Developers are: designers and manufacurers of emergency telephone networks, sirens, digital road signs, and other alerting technology that can be made CAP-compliant.
Future Alerting Technology Developers: are developers interested in leveraging IPAWS for next generation emergency alerts and warnings.
Private Sector Partners
Click here to see a broad, but not exhaustive, list of IPAWS PMO private sector partners.