Saving Lives Through Cross-Domain Alerts During Natural Disasters

Alex Varshavsky

Alex Varshavsky, CEO, Talksum

The strongest earthquake in 25 years rocked the Bay Area and California’s wine country last weekend – igniting fires, outing electricity, damaging wineries, causing floods, cracking historical buildings, and closing down local shops and restaurants. More than 100 people were sent to hospitals from the 6.1 quake, which was centered in American Canyon, just 35 miles from the Talksum headquarters.

Napa EarthquakeThere was no warning given during the temblor, which occurred at 3:30 am on Sunday, August 23. There was, however, a warning system that was in place and worked, according to the local press. Ten seconds before the shaking started, a computer at the University of California, Berkeley, sent out a warning from their seismological laboratory, which can detect when an earthquake starts within the earth’s crust minutes before the shaking hits the surface.

The earthquake alert system, which is used by the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to halt trains automatically upon earthquake detections of high magnitude, works today but isn’t available to the public because of a lack of government funding. Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law that ordered a “ShakeAlert” system using the technology developed by UC Berkeley and the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with scientists at the California Institute of Technology and the University of Washington. A lack of funding has halted this system, as it would cost about $100 million to build and test.

If such a system existed and could be applied across multiple domains such as the public sector, transportation, and energy, to name a few, real-time alerts could then be useful for first responders, emergency services, hospital readiness, traffic management, road conditions, potential power outages, public safety issues, insurance systems, commercial vehicle operations, service centers, and so on. More importantly, it could save lives during catastrophes and disasters.

Today, the real-time Talksum Data Stream Router, or TDSR, provides the basis for an alert system such as this – at a fraction of the cost. The TDSR handles most types of incoming data – including sensor data – from disparate sources. Data can consist of structured, semi-structured, or non-structured formats. Once ingested, the TDSR transforms, aggregates, enriches, filters, data reduces, and contextually routes – in real time and simultaneously – alerts, as well as other actionable data, to multiple downstream systems, including dashboards, storage, business intelligence tools, and databases.

The TDSR is highly configurable, can be easily deployed for highly specialized solutions without the need for specialized coding, and includes the foundational components for regulatory compliance, government standards, and policy control.

Not only can the Talksum solution save lives through cross-domain alerts, it also offers security controls that span firewalls, intrusion detection systems, anti-virus and anti-malware systems, network devices, server hosts, applications, physical systems, and more to eliminate the problems before they happen.

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