December 3, 2009 By Elaine Pittman
To expand the avenues through which New York residents are able to receive alerts about disasters and emergencies, the state is working with Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo -- the makers of Xbox, PlayStation and Wii, respectively -- to broadcast alerts over the vendors' online gaming networks.
In January, Microsoft announced that it had sold 28 million Xbox consoles worldwide and its online gaming community, Xbox Live, had grown to more than 17 million members. To provide the ever-growing society of online gamers with a way to receive emergency alerts that doesn't force them to quit their games, New York is interested in adding an option for people to add gaming networks as a way to receive emergency alerts from NY-Alert.
NY-Alert is the state's free, subscription-based alert and notification system. It's a Web-based portal that allows state agencies, local governments, emergency service agencies and institutions of higher learning to provide emergency information to a defined audience. The official merely needs to type the message into the portal once and it's disseminated to all the subscribers based on their preferred methods of receiving alerts. According to Dennis Michalski, spokesperson for the New York State Emergency Management Office, NY-Alert allows officials to send alerts through 17 different gateways, including phone calls, text messages and e-mails.
Go to Emergency Management's Web site to learn more about New York's emergency alert initiatives.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.