IP based Incident Alert and Emergency Response Communications

ConsortAlert

The ConsortAlert is Forum Communications’ IP based Emergency Notification System initially designed for the aviation industry, particularly for Commercial Airports and Military Airfields. It is based on our flagship
Consortium III audio conferencing product coupled with our Alert III intelligent peripheral products. For other industry applications see Non-Aviation Applications.

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Incident Alert and Emergency Response Communications 

ConsortAlert is Forum Communications’ Emergency Notification System that provides instant alerts to predefined individuals or teams of an important incident or triggers physical actions related to the incident. The ConsortAlert system can receive a number of different inputs that can initiate the incident alert. The ConsortAlert also has a number of different output options to alert those in the need to know of an emergency situation. 

Due to this flexibility, ConsortAlert can be used in a variety of applications. It is used in Airports to immediately alert the fire and rescue personnel of an aircraft emergency and help them respond as quickly as possible. It can be used at different facilities, such as a manufacturing or warehouse facility to send an instant emergency alert to specific team members of a safety, security, or hazardous incident happening at the facility. It can be used in large office buildings to instantly notify the security team of security breach. Data centers is another good application for ConsortAlert. Data center outages can be caused by network failures, hardware or software malfunction, power outages, cyber-attacks or human error. According to Gartner, data center downtime costs $5,600 per minute on average so responding immediately to these incidents is critical.

The diagram below shows the various inputs (phone, soft button, or Incident Detection System) that can be handled by the ConsortAlert System and the various alert methods (audio, visual, or mechanical) that can be triggered once activated by the manual or automatic initiator. 

ConsortAlert Inputs

  • The phone initiator can trigger an alert by simply going off hook and all participating phones will immediately ring and any predefined actions immediately occur
  • The soft button user interface can be used to trigger an alert by pressing one of the predefined buttons to activate a certain action such as displaying a message on a monitor or other actions
  • If the facility has an Incident Detection System and depending on the incident, APIs can be developed for the ConsortAlert and then configured to activate whatever alert action is required
  • If the Incident Detection System produces hardware triggers, these would be handled by Forum’s Alert Edge and then passed to ConsortAlert for configuring activation of whatever alert action is required

ConsortAlert Outputs

  • For audio alerts, the ConsortAlert can connect to simple IP or analog phones, existing PA speaker systems or Forum’s PA speakers. Both prerecorded announcements and real-time audio can be immediately sent. For audio alerts off the ConsortAlert network, the ConsortAlert can connect over a SIP trunk to a PBX or to an LTE Gateway for communications to predefined participants off network.
  • For visual alerts, the ConsortAlert can connect to display monitors via Forum’s Universal Gateway and display predefined messages. It can also perform blast notifications of text and email through the facilities SMTP server to predefined participants.
  • For mechanical alerts, the ConsortAlert connects to control relays via Forum’s Universal Gateway (UG). The UG provides a dry contact triggering of the control relays that can be used for such things as opening and closing doors, turning off power or gas and other desired mechanical actions. The control relays also trigger some audio and visual alerts. Audio alerts like activating sirens and horns and visual alerts like activating different colored strobes or turning on lights are triggered by the control relays.

With this system, direct connections between the initiating crash phone at the ATC tower and dedicated VoIP crash phones at the ARFF Fire Station, Airport Operations Center and other designated facilities are possible, without the need of an intermediate SIP call server. The ConsortAlert server has integrated SIP telephone engine functionality to allow direct connections to the VoIP crash phones which can register directly with the ConsortAlert server. This allows the airport to stay FAA compliant and meet the requirements of FAA Advisory Circular - # 150/5210-7D, by eliminating an intermediate call server and another point for network failure or call delay. This Advisory Circular provides guidance related to “Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Communications”.

Per emergency alert systems, the ConsortAlert system, once the initiator goes off-hook, will instantly ring all crash phones simultaneously, establishing a secure and immediate teleconference. The system is independent from other systems or networks, is extremely reliable, and easy to configure and maintain. For maximum network security and reliability, the ConsortAlert crash network needs to be on its own private network or have its own subnet or dedicated VLAN on the airport IP network. This ConsortAlert configuration is not impacted by the larger Airport IP network as it is simply using the fiber or copper infrastructure and is contained in its’ own secure and predefined isolated network. By configuring the network like this, the ConsortAlert system will remain isolated and immune to the many vulnerabilities that other IP networks are exposed to and must continually resolve.

Non-Aviation Applications

The ConsortAlert coupled with the ILM can create Emergency Notifications to designated participants and activate various physical actions that are very useful in an emergency situation. Specific conferences can be created for different teams (Medical, Fire, Security, Hazardous Waste, etc. ...) that would get notified depending on the particular incident that occurs. In addition, the ILM can trigger physical actions such as activating strobes or sirens, displaying messages on digital signage, sending audio announcements (or real-time audio) over speakers or PA systems and turning off power to certain areas, if desired. These actions can also be differentiated to quickly identify the type of emergency such as red strobe lights for fire alerts, blue strobe lights for medical alerts and orange strobe lights for security alerts. The Emergency Notification system can also use customizable tones, ring tones or variable ring
cadences to identify the different emergency types. In addition to the Aviation industry, the ConsortAlert Emergency Notification System can be used for Manufacturing Facility Incident Alerts, Warehouse Incident Alerts, Seaport Incident Alerts and Data Center Incident Alerts.

Operating System

Linux (CentOS 7)

Server

Dell R340 / R560

Redundancy

Dual 1 TB SATA drives and hot
swappable power supplies

Administration

WebView Browser

Data Connectivity

100 Mbps / 1 Gbps Ethernet

Voice Connectivity

SIP, T1 (optional)

Capacity

Up to 2000 SIP sessions

Physical Characteristics

Rack Mount Chassis;
1U / 19 inch
Operating Temperature 10° C to 50° C

Enhanced Audio Features

  • High-Definition Voice Quality (G.722 audio codecs)
  • Automatic Gain Control
  • Dedicated Gain Cancellation


Dynamic Port Utilization
Easy to use WebView browser
GUI display of network connectivity or application availability failures
Built-in Recording Manager
Ability to create, manage, and distribute emergency voice recordings
Logging options; Server and OS issues, System setting changes by users
Pre-configured login security policies
Customizable Reports
Send emails and / or text messages
Blast Notification

Meets FAA Advisory Circular requirements for ARFF Communications and
DoD Air Force Instruction for Airfield Operations Procedures and Programs

In many cases the ConsortAlert system will need to integrate with existing airport systems such as Public Address, PBX and Radio systems. To do this the ConsortAlert will utilize Forum’s Intelligent Peripherals such as the Intelligent Line Module (ILM). The ILM acts as an intelligent and flexible line end point in the ConsortAlert system. In addition to interfacing the PA, PBX or Radio systems, when deployed with the ConsortAlert, the ILM can be triggered to activate a number of physical actions as well, such as, activating strobes, setting off sirens, opening ARFF station bay doors and turning off gas or power to the ARFF kitchen. To see full details of the ILM and these physical actions that it can activate, see the Intelligent Line Module description on the Intelligent Peripheral Product page. The ConsortAlert system can also be deployed with Forum’s specialized phones. These phones employ push-to-talk (PTT) functionality which is a noise reduction feature that provides clearer audio on the conference call. Forum’s new intelligent PTT crash phone is also designed to improve voice clarity over the regular crash phone when deployed with the ConsortAlert for connecting to the ARFF radio network.