Amatra InTouch

– Amatra is hosting a June Webinar Series on Mass Notification Integrated with IPAWS/CMAS and Social Media 6/17/15

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:


– 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.

- Looking Ahead to 2013: Focusing on Emergency Management 12/28/12

It’s safe to say this hasn’t been the best of years here in the United States. From the destruction and havoc of Hurricane Sandy to a nationwide outbreak of meningitis, and mass shootings at a college in California, a movie theater in Colorado and an elementary school in Connecticut, it wouldn’t be surprising to hear many Americans saying they feel considerably less safe headed into 2013.

The emergencies and tragedies that have affected our country in 2012 — and will continue to affect us in ways we can’t yet predict in the months and years to come — have led the Amatra team to refocus on our core business and what’s truly important to us.

Amatra began as an emergency notification and mass communication tool to help inform people quickly of a situation and what to do to minimize risk and damage, and more importantly, maximize safety.

A New York Times article from mid-December talked about how crucial social media strategy was during Hurricane Sandy for transit agencies, both from a marketing and branding perspective as well as a safety and logistics perspective. In fact, the story posited that sometimes communicating the status of service is equally significant as the service itself: “If there is one lesson transit officials have learned from Hurricane Sandy, it is that in the Internet era, keeping riders up to date is just as important as tracks and rolling stock.”


Yes, Amatra will be able to scale and expand easily when it’s time — our capacity to becoming a flexible, widely encompassing messaging system is well within reach. But the events of 2012 have taught us that it just makes sense to remain focused on our core value proposition: emergency management.

As part of our commitment to focusing on emergency management, we’ve brought on not only John O’Neill, our new director of sales and client success, but also Paul Foreman, a longtime tech-industry professional who will be working with us on an advisory basis.

Paul has been an investor and adviser for 10 years. His consulting work focuses on developing excellence within the sales process in major corporations and early-stage companies. He was impressed with our story and will be working closely with Amatra to develop a structure for success.

“This is my way of giving back to the industry where I spent my career,” Foreman says. “I want to help Amatra grow but base each step on a solid foundation.”


We’re looking forward to helping our clients manage risk and minimize damage in 2013, and though emergency management is our business, we’re always hoping for a safer year to come with fewer emergencies and disasters.

- Amatra Adds New Senior Staff to Manage Growth: John O’Neill 12/13/12

Amatra’s customer base is expanding every day, and in the past couple of weeks we’ve brought on two new senior-level employees to help us manage that growth: Paul Foreman, chief revenue officer, and John O’Neill, director of sales and client success.

In our next blog posts, we’ll introduce these two key employees and their roles at Amatra. First up: John O’Neill, who has more than 25 years of sales, marketing and technical experience. Much of that experience involved enterprise software for Fortune 1000 companies and federal, state and local government agencies. Amatra was a perfect fit for his expertise, and we’re happy to have him on board!

We asked John a couple of questions to tell you a little more about him — in his own words.


How did taking this job align with your professional goals?

I have a strong desire to build, grow, and lead a successful sales operation, and take a truly “hands-on approach” to meeting and exceeding sales goals. My personal goal is to have our sales team to be the best in the business at not only meeting, but exceeding, our clients’ expectations.

I also wanted to join a company with a unique, high-value market offering. Amatra’s SmartSource™ messaging and emergency-notification solution enables government and commercial organizations to more quickly and effectively notify their constituencies during emergency and urgent situations, automate communication to employees, partners and stakeholders, and improve business continuity. But organizations that use SmartSource™ will also be better able to save lives, reduce property damage and minimize risk across the board. I don’t know how much more valuable a solution you can be associated with than that.


What does “client success” mean to you?

Of course, I want all of our customers to be able to successfully implement our solution and achieve their desired results, but “client success” means much more than that to me. I want our customers to see us more as business partners than just technology suppliers. We’ll strive to work with our customers over time, long after we “make the sale,” continually reviewing their ever-changing needs and requirements. We’ll integrate new technologies and devices that are appearing in their ecosystems every day, including smart phones, tablets and new external in-house systems, all to better ensure that our solution continues to provide the utmost value to them and their constituencies.


John has hit the ground running with the rest of the Amatra team, and he welcomes your calls and e-mails with any questions you might have. But you just might hear from him first — he’s serious about client success, especially yours.

- Amatra Keeps Students Safe and Helps Universities Comply With the Clery Act 11/16/12

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we turn our focus to families — Amatra is thankful for the opportunity to provide technology that keeps families safe and informed during emergency situations through mass notification.

Commencement 2012

Students graduating from Anderson University, one of Amatra's clients

And for families with students in college, while a great education and well-rounded, happy experience are important, the bottom line is their children’s safety. And it’s Amatra’s highest priority in our educational implementations.

Amatra SmartSource™ technology helps colleges and universities stay in compliance with a federal mandate known as the Clery Act, which requires higher-education institutions to immediately report certain incidents to students and their parents.

The law, originally called the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act, was passed in 1990 and named in honor of Jeanne Clery, a woman who was a freshman at Lehigh University in 1986 when she was raped and murdered in her residence hall, which went unreported on campus.

It requires that all colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs disclose comprehensive information about crime on their campuses and in the areas surrounding it. The U.S. Department of Education can levy civil penalties of tens of thousands of dollars for failure to comply to the terms of the act, and schools can also be suspended from participation in federal student financial aid programs.

These disclosures include:

  • Annual security reports that are distributed to prospective students and employees
  • Publicly accessible crime logs
  • Crime statistics for the past three years
  • Timely warnings of incidents that pose a threat to an institution’s students or employees

Those timely warnings are where Amatra comes in.

We prepare for the worst, of course, but the best possible scenario is that these emergency mass communications technology never need to be implemented in the first place. But in the event of an even more serious occurrence, colleges and universities using Amatra SmartSource™ will be ready for anything.

There are plenty of other reasons educational institutions might choose Amatra, but they all boil down to students’ safety and their families’ peace of mind.

Thank you for the opportunity to help you keep your campuses secure and constantly in communication! For more information on bringing Amatra to your campus, send an e-mail to

- Amatra SmartSource™ gets a live endorsement at the Indiana Interoperable Communications Conference 10/31/12

We love any opportunity to visit with our customers — as well as prospective and future customers — in person. Though our technology exists to connect people better electronically, nothing beats meeting face to face. Hearing people’s concerns and sharing a little conversation and maybe some laughter often does more than a hundred calls and e-mails could.

One of our account managers, Randy Riemersma, attended the 2012 Indiana Interoperable Communications Conference and was seated at the Amatra booth when one of our customers walked up behind him, sat down and started to pull up his Amatra SmartSource™ account.

Our customers are some of the nicest folks in Indiana, dedicated 100 percent to their jobs and communities, and they were ready to go to bat for us at the conference — without us even asking!

After this customer had finished going through some small feature improvements, he started pulling other people over to show them how the system works and tell them all about why he loves SmartSource. He introduced Randy to his friends from around the state and sang Amatra’s praises throughout the conference.


Later, at dinner, Randy asked his guests for their honest opinions on Amatra’s SmartSource™ technology. There were no negative comments, but there was some discussion about FEMA and CMAS implementation in the future. WebEOC has a web app in the works that will interface directly with the government system — it won’t require any software whatsoever.

Will SmartSource be obsolete? Many of our customers say no: They’d still want SmartSource even if there were a web app that “does it all” — SmartSource is a great internal emergency notification tool.

And only time will tell whether the WebEOC app will have all the features SmartSource offers, including integration with home and cell phones, text messages, e-mail, Facebook and Twitter, as well as real-time response capabilities for when every second counts in coordinating emergency-response efforts.


Speaking of real-time responses: Even when we aren’t meeting in person, one of the biggest benefits of working with a company like Amatra is that when a customer has an issue, technical or otherwise, they can rest assured that they’re talking to real people and know that their issues are being addressed in real time.

Read more about one of our customers’ experience with Amatra’s SmartSource™ technology in our blog interview with Duane Davis from Jackson County, Ind..


Are you an Amatra user? Send an e-mail to, or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love your feedback! And if you’d like to learn more about Amatra SmartSource™, there’s still time to get in on Randy’s post-conference webinar on Thursday. There are sessions at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. EDT — e-mail to RSVP and use StartMeeting to join.

- Amatra helps Hays County, Texas, rev up for F1 racing crowds with IPAWS/CMAS integration 10/12/12

Under the right conditions, with good weather and a meticulously trained, super-focused driver, a typical Formula 1 race takes one to two hours to complete. But the preparation required of the cities that host these races is extensive, from security to accommodations and food service.

Austin’s Circuit of the Americas will play host to the United States Grand Prix for the first time on Nov. 18, 2012, and more than 120,000 visitors are expected to fly into the area for race weekend. Nearby municipalities are preparing for an influx of visitors, too, including Hays County and the City of Buda.

Located 20 minutes south of Austin, Buda calls itself the Outdoor Capital of Texas, “an oasis of country calm at the edge of civilization” — but the city’s tourism officials are banking on things getting a little crazier there. In addition to the construction of new hotels and planning of concerts and other events to draw visitors to their tiny metropolis, Buda and the surrounding Hays County may need to reach out to residents and visitors alike in the event of an emergency during this busy time.

Kharley Smith, emergency preparedness SNS coordinator for the Hays County Personal Health Department, says counties aren’t always best equipped to notify residents or visitors in a larger context.

“Counties have a tough go because everything’s so fragmented,” Smith says.

The Hays County Fire Chiefs Association — which is made up of the fire chiefs of nine different fire departments, three EMS directors, and the emergency management departments for the city of San Marcos and Hays County — has been working together to propel emergency services forward, and their efforts have included incorporating Amatra SmartSource Mass Notification System into their emergency response strategies.

“Fires [and other disasters] don’t stop at the jurisdiction line,” Smith says, “so coming together like this has really helped us integrate well for our citizens.”

The Amatra staff helped Hays County prepare and file its paperwork with FEMA and register the county for use of the IPAWS/CMAS technology. With so many visitors coming through Austin and nearby Hays County in the next month, Amatra’s Mass Notification capabilities and FEMA’s IPAWS/CMAS technology could be tested in the event of an emergency situation.

“I see IPAWS as a huge asset going forward in emergency management, and Amatra was one of the first software applications that was incorporating that technology,” Smith says.

It’s impossible to know what will happen on race weekend, but as they work toward full implementation of Amatra SmartSource technology with IPAWS/CMAS integration, Hays County officials will be ready to handle any situation they face until long after the checkered flag falls.

- Webinar Recap: Why You Need an Emergency Notification Strategy That Works 9/29/12

Did you know that almost 75 percent of Americans aren’t sure whether they have an emergency notification system in their area? That 25 percent don’t even know if there’s an warning siren within earshot of their home?

The statistics are alarming, and we at Amatra want to help do something to turn things around and make citizens more aware and more informed. Last week, Mike Graves, one of Amatra’s account executives, offered a free, live webinar called “Why You Need an Emergency Notification Strategy That Works.”

It was a great opportunity for anyone to learn about the importance of a comprehensive emergency notification strategy, whether an Amatra customer, prospective customer or someone concerned with their community’s safety during emergencies and times of crisis.


The meat of the webinar

The webinar began with some of the biggest reasons people might need to be notified.

  • Natural disasters:
    • Hurricanes
    • Tornadoes
    • Snowstorms
  • Hazardous materials:
    • Chemical spills
    • Disease outbreaks
  • Law and order:
    • Amber Alerts
    • Terrorist threats

No matter where you are, there’s a need to be able to notify people of emergency situations.

We then tackled the biggest obstacles to successful emergency notification problems, including our transient society and technology that requires citizens to opt in, which we’ve covered in a previous blog post.

The webinar wrapped up with a discussion of FEMA’s IPAWS system and how Amatra SmartSource will interface with it for states and other agencies that have registered.


Question & Answer

Then, Mike opened the line for questions from webinar participants. The first question was from an emergency manager in Southern California concerned that an earthquake or other natural disaster might knock out the Internet.

Would you still be able to use Amatra SmartSource to communicate with the population?

The answer is yes, though the Internet may need to play a smaller role in getting your message out. Amatra’s support can also aid in sending out messages to your area if conditions demand it.
The second question: Can we get messages to visitors in the area even if they aren’t registered?

You can. FEMA’s IPAWS system channels information to people based on a Google Maps polygon of the area — similar to how a broadcast of the emergency alert system on TV works. You can set a timeframe that automatically blasts your message to anyone entering that area.


Stay tuned

Do you have other questions about creating an effective emergency management system? Want to learn more about how Amatra SmartSource can help? Stay tuned for information about more webinars, and don’t forget to let us know if you’d like a recording of this webinar.

- Amatra and Emergency Management in Jackson County, Indiana 9/19/12

It’s easy to talk in hypotheticals and ideal scenarios, but we think it’s far more compelling to tell Amatra’s story through the successes of those who use our product.

We’ll periodically be chatting with our users on this blog, finding out the unique challenges they face and how Amatra has helped them tackle their toughest emergency-notification issues head on.

Our first user feature is Duane Davis, director of the Jackson County (Ind.) Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. We talked with him as he was preparing for a full-scale exercise at Indiana’s Muscatatuck Urban Training Center.


Amatra: What system were you using before to execute your emergency notification strategy?

Duane Davis: We would send out mass emails, post to social media and make individual phone calls — there were multiple notifications going out in a silo fashion.

Especially with time-sensitive issues, it could be problematic.

I had to find the websites providing the information, paste it into each one of the silos and disseminate the information. It was very time consuming— not very robust and definitely not user friendly.


Amatra: Did you have a turning point that led you to select a different option for emergency notification?

Davis: Yes. During an exercise, there was a discussion on how officials get notified of an event and who notifies the public…everything kept pointing back to our office. I agree that this information needs to be disseminated, but we are a 1.5-man office, and I can only do so much with a small amount of time.

So we started to look for a solution to consolidate all those steps.


Amatra: How did you narrow down your options?

Davis: We’ve had various vendors present solutions to us, and I also searched online for solutions. Madison County is also using Amatra and told me to take a look. We plugged each software into our evaluations and Amatra came out on top.

The system is robust. It’s pretty simple; it’s web based, so we can access it anywhere, and thanks to word of mouth from our friends in Madison County, we knew people liked it. Hearing how someone local actually uses Amatra really sold it.


Amatra: How are you using Amatra in Jackson County?

Davis: Weather is probably the primary use of the system, between the watches and warnings for the variety of weather we have here in Indiana.

But it’s also a huge benefit when you need to send specific notifications to specific groups — I will definitely use it during our deployment next week.


Amatra: What is the biggest benefit of Amatra?

Davis: There are actually a couple of things. I can craft one message and choose how it goes out, whether through voice, text, email or social media — or a combination of those. There’s a lot of technological flexibility.

I also like that I can send a message to a specific group, and they can respond to me in real time. I know they’ve received the message and can act immediately.

I think the other highlight to Amatra is its affordability of it. It’s definitely much less expensive than some other brands we looked at: It’s not some flashy, big-name system, but I can accomplish with Amatra just about everything the flashy ones can do for a fifth of the price.