It’s hard to drive down the road without seeing a digital sign. On my trek from the suburbs to Nashville, it seems that churches have gotten into a digital sign war with one right after another. Imagine being able to use those signs for emergency alerts. Just as we’ve recently learned that Internet advertisements can be replaced by emergency alerts (read the post), digital sign messages can be replaced too.
It’s already happening on college campuses where public safety agencies access ubiquitous signs on campus for sending emergency alerts, replacing pep rally announcements and the like. Jamie Underwood of Alertus Technologies says many campuses already have LCD screens, LED marquees or digital media displays in place, which makes emergency alert overrides simple and cost-effective. Omnilert President Ara Bagdasarian says the signs help with visitors who may not be signed up for campus alerting systems.
Now here’s the new news: Use of digital signs for emergency alerts is growing beyond traditional public safety organizations like campus security. A company near Austin says “response has been amazing” to its new offer for all types of digital sign networks to receive emergency alerts via the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). Spectacular Media’s Scott Hofheins says 10 to 20 customers per day are enabling the capability for their digital sign networks (including churches).
This is a good example of how IPAWS and widespread adoption of the Common Alerting Protocol standard for alerts is beginning to facilitate emergency alerting beyond traditional settings.