Amatra InTouch

- It’s Easier Than Ever to Purchase Business Continuity Plan through Texas State Department of Information Resources (DIR) 9/4/13

Now its easier than ever to purchase Amatra SmartSource™ for your organization through the Texas State Department of Information Resources (DIR) for Business Continuity Planning.

The DIR is a Texas state department which provides information and technology resources, including communications services, to state and local government and the K-12 public and higher education systems throughout the state. The DIR facilitates the purchasing of contracts through its volume buying power.

This new contract purchasing vehicle through the DIR will benefit organizations by saving valuable time spent comparing competitive products since the best price and value have already been negotiated by the DIR. This also provides a financial savings for the organization, which in turn is tax dollars saved.

SmartSource™ is the automated mass notification solution for Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity planning.  After a crisis, SmartSource™  helps you resume normal business as quickly as possible.

Benefits by using SmartSource™  for Business Continuity:

  • Target the right people, at the right time
  • With the most effective and sophisticated communication channels
  • Real time notification and response
  • Reduces problems related to human error

Individuals will love getting relevant information on the go and that their tax dollars are being spent wisely, agencies will appreciate that they can get the right information out to the right people, as well as the time they have saved using the DIR to obtain their contract.

Click here for more information about the Texas State Department of Information Resources (DIR)

For more information about SmartSource™ or to request a demo, click here or call 512-535-5565

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– A Fire Chief’s Perspective of the Power of Smart Communication 8/26/13

City of Hutchins Fire and Rescue

City of Hutchins Fire and Rescue

Recently, we had the pleasure to interview Chief Hickson of Hutchins Fire and Rescue in the City of Hutchins, Texas, about how he was able to strengthen incident management and streamline communication efforts by using Amatra SmartSource™ mass notification solution.

Prior to using SmartSource™, Chief Hickson was manually emailing and calling his internal team. When seconds count, Hickson says, “Receiving a quick response using email and dialing phone numbers is extremely frustrating and time consuming, especially when we are in the business of saving lives.” Now, with SmartSource™, he says, “With a few clicks, I can notify my team, city officials, and the public through voice calls, text messages, email and social media within minutes”. In one instance, Chief Hickson was short of a firefighter and had to manually call,  text and email each one of them, painfully one by one to get extra help on a big fire call.  Now Chief Hickson has the power to target the right people, at the right time, with effective channels with real-time notification and response.

The City of Hutchins Fire and Rescue Department must be available to dispatch calls for all sorts of emergency situations such as:

  • Medical calls

  • Assist ambulance

  • Major accidents

  • Fire alarms

  • Gas leaks

  • Grass fires

  • Vehicle unlocks and, of course,

  • Cats in trees (“I only saved 2 distressed cats in trees in my 29 years”, he says)

SmartSource™ helps emergency personnel to more quickly and efficiently transmit information internally or publicly as needed through multiple outlets such as email, text and social media.When asked how Chief Hickson uses social media to connect with the community, he said, “Facebook has been a great way to engage our community and fans and provide our community with current information regarding its response to a natural disaster. It’s a great way to connect our neighboring communities with instructions on evacuation and shelter options. We also use Facebook to provide fire prevention education, fire rescue news and local events. With the SmartSource™, I’m able to post one mass notification message to our community leaders as well as Facebook page in an instant.”

The City of Hutchins is very lucky to have such an amazing group of fire fighters and forward thinking Chief. Please visit  the City of Hutchins Fire and Rescue Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hutchins-Fire-Rescue and thank them for keeping us safe.

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- Solving the Emergency Notification Mobility Problem With No Sign-Up Technology 8/21/13

Americans are a society constantly on the move. The fact that more than 30 percent of households now use only mobile phones to make and accept calls today is telling evidence of this. It’s exciting knowing that we’re more mobile than ever before, but when you put our mobility in the context of an emergency situation, the excitement can turn to trepidation.

Silicon Valley Highway 101 Traffic HellThink of a busy highway full of commuters — the I-65 corridor between Chicago and Indianapolis, for instance, or the I-35 corridor connecting some of Texas’ biggest cities. Some listen to their radios. Others are on their cell phones already conducting business calls for the day. Some fiddle with satellite radio or music on their iPods. And still others simply drive in silence, shaking their fists at the other drivers along the congested road.

 

The problem

If there’s bad weather — a thunderstorm, tornado, wildfire or even black ice from a snowstorm — the roads are suddenly even more hazardous than they were with a normal day’s traffic.

If there’s an emergency ahead on the road, how do people find out now? The fact is, they don’t usually find out until they’re in the middle of it — when it’s too late to do anything about it.

Current emergency notification services don’t do anything to serve groups like commuters, who live in one place and spend most of their days either on the road or in an office somewhere.

The same goes for attendees at a conference like South by Southwest, which gathers thousands of people from all over the world. And music fans at a summer festival. And college freshmen exploring their campus for the first time.

 

The solution

But a new technology offers hope to these so-called transient populations. “No sign-up” technology uses cell tower locations to determine who needs to receive emergency notifications. Cell towers triangulate phone users’ locations and transmit a message to everyone with the appropriate technology in due time.

You won’t need to register for a service to get these notifications; the technology casts a wide net to capture as many people as possible and notify them of the emergency events going on so they can take proper action. So even if you don’t “belong” to an emergency notification service, you’ll still get the message.

 

FEMA, IPAWS and CMAS

The Federal Emergency Management Agency made huge strides toward implementing this technology on a massive scale when it introduced its Integrated Public Alert Warning System (IPAWS for short) and the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS for short), which creates a web of local agencies who will use the technology to notify residents in their areas of emergency situations.

Land lines tend to get jammed during times of crisis, but the no sign-up technology will allow these emergency notifications to be fast-tracked to those who need them most.

We linked to this video in a previous blog post, but it’s worth sharing again to get an idea of the technology and how FEMA is implementing it.

Is your state agency on FEMA’s list? Amatra will provide the platform for actually creating and sending these messages. Visit Amatra’s website to learn more about SmartSource mass notification technology. Amatra can also help you with the required paperwork and answer any questions you have about becoming a public alerting authority to send IPAWS/CMAS messages.

 

Photo: Richard Masoner, www.cyclelicio.us

– Mass Notification Systems as a Solution 7/25/13

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image credit: afp_us_colorado_wildfires_03Jul12

Gunfire, a natural disaster, or a serious man-made accident has always affected a community. Now however, in a tightly packed urban area it brings chaos and a lack of control almost instantaneously. Efforts to coordinate a response to an emergency need to produce results just as quickly to bring a situation under control and begin rescue operations.

The key to a fast response hasn’t changed. Those seeking to address a situation must have the best communication methods possible. These are the issue motivating the developers of Amatra’s Mass Notification solution.

A communication system for a health and human services team in an emergency should operate quietly within a given network of people to keep a flow of answers coming to those groups responding. Past emergencies offer insight into the time and resources wasted when information doesn’t reach the individuals who need it the most.

What’s known from prior events is that civilians caught up in an emergency can respond in a number of ways including panic, fleeing from a scene, or attempting to help injured on their own. Confusion on the part of the public can at times hamper the efforts of qualified health and safety personnel.

As witnessed with recent tragedies it’s also known that soon after a major event cell phone communication can become problematic as the public in an overwhelming number attempts to make contact either with emergency services or with loved ones. This too can strangle or delay the flow of information from the public to emergency responders as well as tying up lines of communication between the emergency responders.

Amatra’s Mass Notification System addresses the problems of  various governmental agencies who will respond in an emergency with access to an integrated information network with multiple channels for a more reliable method of mass communication.

The failure of some systems is these lack the ability to send unique messages to certain groups while excluding others. Another issue is communicating with those in an area experiencing an emergency or those nearby who are not registered users of a system.

The Amatra’s Mass Notification solution is to address these needs by having an easy to use interface system that allows agencies to broadcast messages to those in the public within a certain geographical area even if they are not a part of system. It also allows for specific communication channels between groups of responders.

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Click here to request a demo today!

– Incident Reporting and Safety at School, Colleges and Universities 7/11/13

Father hugging son safe from school

A school, college or university is a place of learning and relativity safety for most young people. Unfortunately all too often recent events have caused students, parents, and school officials cause to need a reliable system of communication during an emergency. During the first part of 2013 sudden and deadly violence on campus across the United States has mandated a need for response systems that address the unique requirements of schools, universities and colleges.

Communication is essential during a crisis on a campus. Families will naturally immediately attempt to contact each other which can distract from evacuations, interrupt cell phone communications, and even alert an attacker to the presence of a student or campus employee. Giving families information in real time, and giving them solutions to finding facts out quickly will forestall a number of issues a campus can face during an emergency.

At the same time those on campus such as teachers and faculty at Central Christian College in Kansas, also need real time information on what procedures to follow and how best to keep students under their direction safe. The SmartSource emergency response solution allows communication to flow to each of these groups either simultaneously or separately.

central christian college of kansas

The use of social media is a growing trend, and many educational institutions have found this is an effective means of communication to a point. In an emergency a mass broadcast of a message is possible, but it can backfire if some are not in a particular area or not part of a social media network, or if the message is not clear and understandable.

Other issues with social media include protecting a school from threats to it’s privacy, and misunderstanding or message’s content from affecting a school’s reputation. A single point of access to all official communications allows better control.

Amatra’s SmartSource emergency response system uses social media outlets including SMS message for better control of responsibility

in reaching out to communities and families, as well as communicating with students and facilities in an emergency.

AU logo“We have a range of prepackaged messages sitting in our portal, and a few groups created. That saves valuable time. After the event, we can evaluate the type of message we constructed, if it went out in a timely manner and how widely it was distributed.” 

- Chris Williams, Director of University Communications, Anderson University

This solution offers a better chance to plan ahead of emergencies and have message templates, and separate groups for messages already in a system in advance of needing them. Messages meant only for students or only for parents can be sent quickly and effectively.well as communicating with students and facilities in an emergency.

Schools can hope to never need to use emergency messaging, but having them at ready can prevent poor response to an unfortunate event.

 

Click here to Request a Demo Today!

 

– Monroe Hospital Implements Amatra SmartSource for Internal Mass Notification 6/20/13

Monroe Hospital Bloomington IndianaMonroe Hospital in Bloomington, Indiana is now using a interactive internal mass notification system known as Amatra SmartSource. This system enable management and emergency personnel to respond quickly and efficiently by providing access to integrated information and multiple channels for reliable and consistent mass communication.

At Monroe Hospital, implementing a mass notification system extends beyond emergencies – doctors, nurses and administrative staff can also be alerted of shift changes or increased availability. This can be accomplished with little to no effort when a mass notification system is in place. With the systems that are available today, the same message can be broadcast to literally thousands of people. For those messages that need to be dispersed quickly, mass communication sent to personal devices is becoming very popular. Within minutes, an important alert can be sent in a timely fashion to everyone who is affected by the content of the message.

Smartsource is immensely more efficient and user friendly than our previous system. We utilize the pre-scripted messages often, and with  literally  only a few mouse-clicks we can notify any team member, group or the entire company.”
Mr. R. Stacy Voliva, Emergency Preparedness, Safety Officer, AHA TCC

Amatra’s SmartSource solution allows for 2-way notification that can be received by a home phone or cell phone as a voice message, text or email.  In addition, Monroe Hospital can incorporate existing social media platforms such as their blog, Facebook fan page and Twitter account.

Mass Notification System Integrated with IPAWS/CMAS and Social Media

{WEBINAR}: How Mass Notification System Integrated with IPAWS/CMAS and Social Media can work for you!

– Amatra is hosting a June Webinar Series on Mass Notification Integrated with IPAWS/CMAS and Social Media 6/17/13

Amatra is hosting an interactive and educational webinar in June for Emergency Managers, Public Safety Coordinators, Directors, Chief of Police, City and County Managers. 

Key Takeaways from this webinar:

  •  How to combine notification and messaging via traditional Voice Telephone Calls, as well as SMS Text Messaging and Email.
  • Optimize 2-Way real-time messaging with the rapidly growing Social Media communities such as Facebook, Twitter, or Your Company Blog all from a single click of the mouse.
  • Get the inside scoop of FEMA / IPAWS No-Signup Technology for external citizen notification system.

Grab your spot today: http://bit.ly/10COOuG

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– Amatra Presents at The Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs 5/23/13

Amatra at Venture Expo

April came and went quickly here at Amatra HQ, but it’s been a busy month for the Amatra team.  Kishan Siram, Amatra’s Founder and President, had the opportunity to attend and present at the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business Venture Expo. The Venture Expo is held in November and May each year. The semi-annual showcases “Investor-Ready” start-ups from the University of Texas at Austin and select companies from the Austin Technology Incubator. The room was packed with about 500 investors, entrepreneurs and students. Amatra was there sharing live tweets and status updates via Facebook and Twitter (@amatra).

The event was packed the entire day. Out of the 16 companies in total who presented, here are my top 3 that I thought were fantastic:

  • Moniker Guitars – You can design a one-of-a-kind guitar that fits your sound and style. What a great gift for the musician in your life. Check out their website – one of the most interactive and fun websites I’ve seen in a long time.
  • SalesVu – The easiest way to accept credit cards from your iPhone or iPad with a free credit card reader and comprehensive cloud-based point of sale. Possibly better than Square due to the comprehensive cloud based management solutions and cost associated with card swipe fees.
  • Equipboard – The easiest way to find, share, & shop for the gear that your favorite pros are using. Pretty cool to check out what professional golfer, Bubba Watson is using to hit the longest drive in PGA history.

Which company would you invest in?

– Amatra Hires New Marketing and Support Executive 5/23/13

Casey Grant

Casey Grant, Amatra

Amatra Technologies, the global provider of smart communication solutions, is pleased to announce that Casey Grant will be joining Amatra team as the Marketing and Support Executive.

“Casey brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Amatra”, says Kishan Siram, Founder and President of Amatra. “Her background and education will enable us to utilize traditional marketing techniques to better communicate with our existing clients and, perhaps more importantly, to target new segments across many different industries.”

Prior to Amatra, Grant was the Director of Marketing for Mobile Computing Solutions, an on-site computer repair and support company serving the greater Indianapolis area. During the startup phase of her company, she met Kishan at The Flagship Enterprise in Anderson, Indiana during a Madison County Chamber of Commerce event.  They remained connected over the years via the power of Social Media.

Casey holds a B.S. in Business and Marketing Communication from Southern Oregon University. She has held positions in Marketing since 2006, working for diverse industries such as Information Technology, Geotechnical and Structural Engineering, Land Brokerage and the Pet Industry. Casey actively serves her community by volunteering with The American Red Cross, supports Shop Local initiatives and takes care of animals at the Humane Society.

You can connect with Casey Grant on LinkedIn.

- Video: Amatra Presentation to Austin Telecommunication Commission 3/20/13

On March 13, 2013 Amatra presented to the Austin Technology and Telecommunications Commission on the topic of ‘Community Communications’. President & CEO Kishan Siram outlined the challenges of Community Communications especially in the context of Crisis/Urgent communications and some best practices to provide effective communications. This interactive session had Commissioners ask questions on how technology can help streamline community communications. You can follow Amatra at @amatra and Kishan Siram at @kishansiram


Amatra Presentation on ‘Community Communications’ to the Austin Technology and Telecommunication Commission, March 2013.