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Responsibility and collaboration are key for effective Critical Event Management

Everyone is exposed at some point to a variety of threats like natural or manmade disasters, cyber threats, crime, etc. The current pandemic has not only increased our realisation of the risks but has also generated a sense of urgency for individuals and organisations to be better prepared for the next critical event.

Despite the increased awareness around critical events, there is a colossal gap between acknowledging the need for preparedness for a critical event and actually taking the right steps towards it. Prior to COVID-19, an organization’s readiness for a “black swan” critical event was a nebulous area with no real impetus for concrete knowledge and strategy. This relative sense of safety, indeed apathy, had led to a lack of knowledge and infrastructure among organisations, which, in turn, is the primary cause of this gap.

David Meredith, Chief Executive Officer, Everbridge

To get a more in-depth understanding of the criticality of the situation, OpenGov Asia spoke with David Meredith, Chief Executive Officer, Everbridge. Not only to make sense of the scenario but also to learn how Everbridge fills in the gaps by making nations and organisations more resilient.

David defined a critical event as a consequence of the interaction between things that organisations value (people, assets, operations, brand, reputation, etc.) and the threats they are exposed to (crime, pandemics, natural disasters, cyber threats, etc.).

He explained that the origin of Everbridge was as an enabler of critical communication during crises post the 9/11 attacks in the USA. “Our founders saw that when people were going back to the second tower there wasn’t an effective way of communicating with people in the middle of a crisis or a critical event. The company originally focused on critical communications and became a leader in that space,” said David. The initial focus on critical communication quickly broadened to a full software and services platform suite called Critical Event Management (CEM).

David was pleased to share that with the increasing awareness around critical events globally, Everbridge is expanding operations in various parts of the world, and especially in South East Asia.

Being in the critical event management space for more than two decades has afforded the company some valuable learnings from their experiences in the west which they are looking to apply to new adopters globally.

“Countries and companies all over the world are dealing with critical events, so it’s not a question of if you are going to be impacted by a critical event, but when and what type of event. And more importantly, how prepared you will be to deal with that critical event when it does happen,” said– David.

Everbridge works closely with governments and organisations to help them be well prepared for eventualities or possibilities they envision. They are already powering public warning systems in Singapore, New Zealand, and Australia, to name a few countries.

David emphasised the importance of complete situational awareness during a critical event. Everbridge has got this front fully covered with its visual command centre through a single screen display that aggregates and curates data feeds from 22,000 different sources. This command centre enables mapping all the assets and resources of a company and gives real-time updates during a critical incident.

Once a crisis has been deemed in place, the fully digitised crisis management process takes over. Predesigned protocols and workflows, capable of managing a variety of stakeholders simultaneously, are activated. The digital suite assumes control to manage and execute the CEM solution for a country or an organisation. Additionally, Everbridge uses 100 different communication modalities to help communicate, inform and stay connected to people during a crisis.

On the issue of growth opportunities for critical event management solutions, David shared that they are seeing an acceleration in this direction. Currently, critical event management is a top priority of leaders in governments and corporations globally.  Many countries in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia have already deployed solutions to strengthen citizen safety.

Norway is a good example of this. It uses Everbridge solutions to give live COVID-19 updates to all its residents and visitors without any congestion.

With economies and lives at stake around the world, Everbridge is seeing the public and the private sectors teaming up to keep citizens and employees safe.

About Everbridge’s contact tracing mechanisms, he shared, “We have a very differentiated approach on contact tracing. We are able to leverage our 225 pre-existing integrations for corporate customers. For example, as employees come into work, we can integrate our CEM platform with thermal scanners for taking an individual’s temperature.”

Smart cities deploying CEM solutions is a major priority for Everbridge as well. They are highly focused on investing in this area to help city leaders better track vulnerabilities, have better situational awareness and the ability to curate data –using IoT devices. Everbridge has even launched an extension called CEM for IoT to their existing platform.

In conclusion, David revealed one of Everbridge’s current initiatives of organising a series of webinars and symposiums that bring together world leaders and health experts from agencies responsible for coronavirus response as a part of their ‘COVID- 19 Road to Recovery’ campaign.

They plan to get some concrete solutions from this caucus of thought leaders and cutting-edge practitioners that will steer the world on the road to recovery.

You can watch the interview highlights here.

The entire interview is available on our Youtube Channel. Watch Part – 1 and Part 2 to get the most from these insightful interactions.

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