Companies team up for integrated mass notification system

New voice-centric solution combines technologies/software to work indoors and out with one interface
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Thursday, July 7, 2011

PITTSBURGH and MARIETTA, Ga.—IMLCORP and Metis Secure Solutions, both providers of emergency notification systems, in June announced a new partnership “that will integrate their technologies to create a comprehensive indoor and outdoor emergency notification solution.”

The solution, the companies say, will enable colleges, universities, commercial entities and other public space venues “to send and receive emergency warnings with clear voice instructions of the highest clarity and intelligibility, both indoors or outdoors.”

IML, based in Marietta, Ga., develops, manufactures and distributes portable and fixed loudspeaker systems. Metis is a provider of mass notification system solutions based in Pittsburgh.

Mark Kurtzrock, president and CEO of Metis, told Security Systems News that Metis and IML realized “that there was a lot of common ground” between the two companies because of their focus on voice systems.

“Between the two of us we determined fairly quickly that to be able to have both an indoor and an outdoor mass notification system with one common interface that makes it very easy for security personnel and folks in the military to be able to quickly distribute information to people through those two different channels … was really a very value-added capability in the systems,” he said.

According to the companies, with the integrated solution, “emergency managers will use the Metis Secure Command Center software to send an emergency warning to Metis Secure alerting devices and/or IMLCORP's SoundCommander loudspeaker systems. Both systems are easy to identify and select on the Command Center map-based interface software. Voice messages can be sent in three ways: pre-recorded messages, text-to-speech and live voice.”

The companies also said, “The integrated solution shortens the steps necessary to send warnings inside and outside many buildings in seconds.”

Stefan Pollack, president and CEO of IML, told SSN that his company for many years just sold outdoor giant voice systems to the military. Now, he said, customers such as military bases and colleges “are not just interested in talking to everybody outside of the building; they want to be able to talk to the people or send messages to the people inside the building as well [in such situations as weather emergencies or shooting incidents].”

The integrated solution from both companies does that and gives installers an advantage, Pollack said. “It’s much easier for a contractor,” he said. “He can install the outside equipment and install the indoor equipment [with a centralized control for both] in one turnkey contract.”

Pollack and Kurtzrock also emphasized the intelligibility of their integrated solution. Telling people in an understandable way what to do and where to go in an emergency is key, they said.

Pollack said his company originally developed psychological operations equipment for the military in Somalia, which needed to deliver messages clearly to win over hearts and minds. “We’ve always developed our system from the beginning for the best quality voice,” Pollack said.

Kurtzrock said, “Clarity of voice is very, very important to Metis.” For example, he said, “in the case of colleges and universities, the system installations we have in place now are generally in hallways but the sound level penetrates into classrooms and laboratories [and other indoor spaces].”