California fires: smart speakers and emergency alerts

Sean Donelan sean at
Tue Oct 17 06:28:10 CST 2017

On Mon, 16 Oct 2017, Mike wrote:
> 'presidential alerts'. From what I see, this is really wrong. Yes I would 
> like there to be a broadcast capability with some kind of gps fencing. No, I 
> am not the police nor will I do their job and be their eyes and ears. Yes, I 
> want to know if there is a major fire or other natural disaster in my current 
> area but otherwise, no, don't bother me. Is that too much to ask?

Yes, there are various implementation problems and mistakes. It sometimes 
feels like companies and agencies deliberately implement alerts badly. 
Emergency alerts should not sound like a 1950's AM radio with lots 
of static anymore.

And yes, due to lack of funding almost no emergency officials receive any 
formal training how to prepare public alerts or use emergency alert 
systems. So they make mistakes over-alerting or under-alerting or 
creating an understandable message.

Those things are out of scope of NANOG.

I've participated in the FCC rulemakings on emergency alerts and submitted 
suggestions things it could do to improve the implementation of 
emergency alerts (EAS, WEA, etc).  I've also written some guidance for 
emergency managers about using public alerting systems

Back in scope for network operators and NANOG.

There are several things that could update the public alerting system 
for this century. I'd love to work with any teams that want to make 
things better. Heck, I got U-Verse to add an "exit" and "weather" button 
to its emergency alerts, so you can dismiss it instead of waiting for the 
entire message to play.

And the original question -- alerting people at home seems like a 
natural fit for smart speakers in the home and better intelligent 
assistants, i.e. don't wake me up at 3am for anything less than an 
extreme emergency impacting my immediate area.

Any of the smart speaker companies have any plans for this kind of feature?

I've looked at the publically available SDKs and APIs.  They have most of 
the pieces.

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