Reaching People With A Life Saving Message

For twenty years, January 13th has marked AMBER Alert Awareness Day, a somber day of remembrance of the abduction and murder of 9 year old Amber Hagerman.  Since then, the use of Internet technology—specifically from ad technology innovations—has lead a revolution in ways alerts are delivered to warn of severe weather and prevent child predators from doing the unthinkable.

The Federation for Internet Alerts (FIA) is one such organization unifying the ad industry to save lives with real-time alerts, such as AMBER Alerts, in the digital space.  And with partners like GroupM, AOL, Rocketfuel, xAd, AppNexus, Conversant and more lending their expertise, resources and inventory, FIA has made a tremendous impact.

FIA has served 800-plus million AMBER Alert impressions since 2011 and 10-plus million tornado warnings since 2012. But most importantly, the ability to issue alerts has helped rescue 794 abducted children and return them to their families.

We’re only scratching the surface of what we can achieve together if more companies join us to focus on how the progress in our industry can be repurposed to help alert the public.  Just as technology advancement and device proliferation have altered the ways in which we can engage consumers, so too can our innovations in ad tech offer new and significant ways to enhance how we reach the public during times of imminent crisis.

One such example is FIA’s use of donated cloud technology from Amazon Web Services (AWS) to help fuel FIA’s Global Free Alert Hub. The Hub leverages AWS’s cloud technology and the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP), an official alerting schema that brings alerting authorities’ capabilities into the Digital Age, to allow the Internet of Everything to receive imminent threat notifications quickly and promulgate them securely to devices with alerting capabilities or artificial intelligence.

Similarly, commercial technologies that allow us to reach individuals with dynamic creative are highly effective at reaching people when it’s needed most. And the metrics and insights we gather and meticulously scrutinize with advertisers can also help identify those channels that have the greatest impact when issuing alerts.

The application of learnings swings both ways.

FIA’s work is greatly expanding ways to creatively reach citizens who are not consuming mass media via traditional methods of TV or radio. For example, China’s Public Weather Service Center is supporting FIA’s approach to better support ways by which it can reach China’s mobile culture to alert millions of people when they are not at home.

As the Internet further enables organizations to compete and create efficiencies in the everyday lives of consumers, FIA offers a non-competitive place that gives companies, NGOs, non-profits and alerting authorities a way to come together for the purpose of leveraging these efficiencies when critical alerts need to be delivered.

Reaching the right people at the right place and time with the right granular message isn’t a practice we should limit to selling goods and services. The more organizations that rally to the cause—to add media display inventory or technology support—the faster we’ll be able to move forward to use the Internet to save lives in local communities around the world.

As appeared in Mediapost

Contributed by Jason Bier, Chief Privacy Officer at Conversant and Lead Representative of the Federation for Internet Alerts