Push Messaging Big Topic at CAP Implementation Workshop

At the annual CAP (Common Alerting Protocol) Implementation Workshop in Rome, many speakers talked about how to disseminate messages on the last mile to end users. As Elyza Jones of OASIS pointed out, SMS only provides short text, is expensive and has the potential to take down the whole GSM network unless it is cell broadcast. Thus, Push messages over the internet more and more become the method of choice, and access to internet and mobile devices is already very high rapidly increasing even in least developed countries, Vanessa Gray of ITU-D reported.

The Push topic was brought up by many presenters during the workshop, tackling both technical and contextual questions. Jed Sundwall of Amazon presented how Amazon SNS can help to disseminate Push messages through various channels on a large scale, a service that is used by many agencies wordwide, including the International Red Cross and German Weather Service. Jonathan Porter reported their experiences at AccuWeather, highlighting the need that the message must make clear why it is sent. Also, he talked about the danger of “warning fatigue”, when many less important messages are sent and thus, important ones are overlooked – a phenomenon that Freedom Mukanga could confirm from his experiences from sending messages through WhatsApp in Zimbabwe. Michael Claudon (meteoFrance) presented the WINTDO (What I need to Do) toolkit that provides the ability to facilitate simple and quick integration of CAP-based Push alerting into mobile applications.

Sahana presented findings from our “Mobile Pictographs for Disaster Communication” project. While right now the focus is still on how to design and represent pictograph based alert messages such that they are suitable for illiterate poulations, the question how they can be effectively transmitted via Push messaging is an important topic on our research agenda. Sahana’s work was also showcased in the Lester Kim Lagrimas’ talk that presented Pagasa’s use of Sahana SAMBRO as a National Alert Hub.

Find the program, speaker’s list and final report of the CAP Implementation workshop in this document.

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