IDF Home Command an Unrivaled Standard - Case Study


Courtesy of eVigilo

The world’s toughest testing ground for national alerts

evigilo's world-class national alert system was selected by the IDF homefront command. Developed with and for the IDF, it went through the most rigorous tests imaginable, redefining industry benchmarks. It performed flawlessly for 50 consecutive days under extreme conditions.

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 geological fault . 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.”

Israel suffers from a major earthquake every 100 years. It has been 90 years since the last major event. 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-induced or 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 tens of 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 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 requirements, 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 was 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 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 successfully operated also over 3G networks and as such became the first system in the world to operate in live environments both on GSM and on 3G networks.Meeting the harsh, high availability and disaster recovery requirements, the system is hosted at 2 geographically separated hosting centers, hundreds of kilometers apart.

In order to have full control of the system in general and the access in special circumstances, 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 interconnected 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  based on evigilo SMART Broadcast is called “Personal Message”. It is considered as the alert sub-system of the “National Message” project alongside of SMART Radio for TV alerts, SMART Radio for radio Alert, SMART Siren for sirens alert etc. The “National Message”  project based on evigilo’s SMART Alert Platform provides the authorities with the ability to send messages through all available media and communication channels such as fix-telephony, 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. Its service bus based architecture makes it easy to integrate different software components at any time without affecting the overall system performance. Based on multi-protocol environment the platform supports both standard [protocol like CAP as well as proprietary and legacy protocols. It is set also to support any future protocol the authority would like to use, making the system future proof.During December 2011 the Israeli “National Message” project was  expanded vertically to provide respective services also to the municipalities in Israel.

The element used here is the “SMART for Municipalities” module of the evigilo SMART Alert 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 embedded 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.

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