New York's Deputy CIO Looks To Consoles For New Emergency Alert System

If there was a city in the US that you would look to as front-runner in pioneering new emergency alert, warning and information systems, most likely one of the first to come to mind would be the great Big Apple.  New York's rebuiling process since the 911 attacks is taking shape in a number of forms but perhaps none more so than the extent of preventative measures the city's local government is taking to keep its citizens safe and hold firm to their mantra of "never again and never forget".  In addition, getting the word out quickly, in the event of an emergency, is obviously a critical component of protecting people from any threat of the natural kind or otherwise.  In that regard, the city's Chief Information Officer is looking at new, innovative ways of reaching the widest swath of New York's huge population as quickly as possible.  In fact, he's looking to tap into pre-existing communication networks beyond the city's traditional TV and radio audience, in an effort to expand that reach.

Singleton, sporting a Macbook

Under New York's new "Empire 2.0" initiative,  Deputy CIO, Rico Singleton is targeting developement of an alert system that will connect to various game console networks like Xbox Live, PlayStation Network and Wii Connect.  "The goal, said New York State Deputy CIO Rico Singleton, is to reach younger residents who spend more time on the Xbox, PlayStation, or Wii than with television or radio. "  

With the state's new plan, local authorities could broadcast warning messages to connected gamers in the event of an emergency.  This approach seems like a logical and natural strategy since quite frankly many TV sets these days are occupied by game console content for hours on end and gamers could be completely oblivious to a situation if not made aware by some other means.  The bottom line is, though obviously no system would provide complete coverage, the idea is that, like those annoying TV alert tests we've grown accustomed to over the years, the same sort of broadcast could be made over consoles.  Thus, one way or the other, if a TV is on those citizens would be made aware of an emergency situation. 

This is a test of the Xbox Live Emergency Alert System.  This is only a test...

Also, apparently New York is keen on taking advantage of social networks to protect its citizens with New York's Department of Health monitoring Facebook posts to help identify suicidal behavior, along with the CIO's office providing tweets on new technology efforts in the state.   Singleton is quoted as saying "Web 2.0 "is the world we're beginning to live in... we should be part of the movement." 

We'd have to agree Rico, but "Web 2.0" is so two-thousand and late.  We're moving on to the next revision but applaud New York's efforts in homeland security with a keen eye on technology and trends.  And what about tapping on the shoulders of all those Left 4 Dead zombies on
Steam?  Let's not forget those PC gamers out there too.