Messaging | 2019-12-09

Comprehensive population warning in Germany: Cooperation between BBK and e*Message

Source: The Critical Communications Review | Gert Jan Wolf editor

Population warnings in Germany will become more secure, more reliable and more diverse, with greater penetration even if individual infrastructures fail.

The Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief (BBK) and the nationwide network operator e*Message have signed a new multiplier agreement on 4th November to ensure this.

The BBK is responsible within the Federal Republic of Germany for warning the population in the event of a civil protection emergency. Working with partners and in consultation with the national states, the technological and organisational in place for warning the population are constantly being developed and adapted to the current situation.

Since 2004, the BBK's cooperation partner has been e*Message Wireless Information Services GmbH. The agreement with the federal government enables e*Message to make warning information available to its almost exclusively authority level or industrial clients. This agreement is now being superseded by a new, more detailed multiplier agreement that reflects current developments.

"Together with the national states, we are working hard on expanding the modular warning system further", says Christoph Unger, President of the BBK. "As part of this, we are also taking into account the population's information habits and needs. Cooperations are taking us closer to the goal of ensuring a comprehensive delivery of warning information. The partnership with e*Message is one such important cooperation. Our employees and I are delighted by it. We have gained a lot of experience together."

The modular design of the modular warning system (MoWaS) used by the federal and state governments has been tried and tested and is ideal for the job. The cooperation agreement between the BBK and e*Message is therefore a significant milestone. It highlights the importance of MoWaS and encourages the further increase in modularity and diversification of warnings for the population, as well as for experts and multipliers.

"We are following the implementation stages of MoWaS in awe", says e*Message Managing Director Dr. Dietmar Gollnick. "e*Message works on numerous levels with the BBK, including as part of the Future Forum Public Safety, for example. Our technology is available throughout Germany, has special 'broadcasting' functions and is independent of other mobile radio services."

One example from private households: more than three million households now have personal weather stations in Germany. These can transmit both weather information and, in future, even more warning information - independently of the Internet, energy supplier and mobile phone network."We are constantly developing this technology, and the cooperation with the BBK is also an important mile- stone", says Gollnick.

The multiplier agreement and the national modular warning system's new technical possibilities will essentially allow all professional users of e*Message paging services to receive the latest and regionally applicable warning messages from MoWaS on their devices.

From a technical and organisational perspective, the warning messages can be integrated into the paging system on a region-by-region basis and transmitted in a targeted manner to professional users. These professional users of paging systems, such as energy providers' on-call teams or volunteer professional and company fire brigades, require less explanatory warning information and instructions on what to do. In their case, ensuring that the warnings are up to date and relevant to their region is what matters. The transmission formats (text lengths) available are suitable for transmission to pagers. The technical adaptations required on the part of e*Message will be carried out in 2020.

With its solutions and services, e*Message delivers a reliable infrastructure when it comes to communications security. The Berlin-based mobile radio network maintains Europe's largest security radio network, which is independent and satellite-based with around 800 transmitting stations throughout Germany.