How Velleros Built a FEMA-Compliant Wireless Emergency Alert Solution with Enghouse Cellular Broadcasting Technology

Enghouse Networks

Every second counts in an emergency, whether it’s severe weather, a natural disaster, or a child abduction. Saving lives requires alerting as many people as possible as quickly as possible. Over the years, civic authorities have developed various mechanisms to deliver the message, including air raid sirens and emergency television and radio broadcasts. In today’s digital world, these emergency alerts are also delivered to our mobile devices.

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are short emergency text like messages targeting compatible smartphones and other mobile devices in the United States. They are issued by authorized federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial public alerting authorities, and are broadcast from cell towers to mobile users within a local targeted area. The WEA system is a public/ private partnership between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and participating wireless operators.

Velleros provides location-based applications, aggregation and syndication solutions, and network assurance products to regional mobile providers. Founded in 2008, Velleros has worked closely 

with wireless carriers, trade organizations, the FCC, and FEMA/DHS with the goal of making WEA participation easy and affordable for wireless carriers. Through our diligent efforts to that end, we have become recognized as a leader in WEA solutions with a dedicated technical team focused on WEA. We are a FEMA-certified WEA provider that offers both hosted and self-managed, “in-network”, WEA solutions for wireless carriers. Our customers typically opt for a hosted service that we manage for them, or carriers may choose to license our technology and manage the system themselves with our support. 

Our solutions sit between FEMA, and the wireless carriers. Public safety organizations, like the National Weather Service, and local authorities, like municipal and state police departments (collectively alert originators), route alerts to FEMA for authentication. We have a direct connection to FEMA whereby alerts are received and then broadcast out through our platform to carrier networks and their subscriber end user’s devices. These layers of protection ensure only legitimate emergency alerts are routed to user devices. To further protect the public the FCC occasionally issues new rules and orders for enhancements to the WEA program. WEA service providers must apply all FFC program enhancements, and our solutions are continually updated and upgraded accordingly making it easy for wireless operators to stay compliant with the program. We are highly vigilant in respecting the FCC timeline to apply these enhancements.

Building a Wireless Emergency Alert Solution

Building the entire WEA platform was a complex undertaking. We launched our WEA product initially as an innovative mobile application which is loaded onto the end user device for alert delivery. This solution works very well and continues in use today. In 2012 we chose Enghouse Networks as our supplier to add a cell broadcast delivery option of alerts to our WEA solution. Many of our customers opted to add the cell broadcast delivery method to their service offering. Today we have customers who utilize the mobile application method and the cell broadcast method of delivering Emergency alerts to end user devices. The cell broadcast delivery option is only one part of the entire platform required to make the WEA solution work. 

We could have developed a cell broadcasting module in-house but chose to purchase it from Enghouse. It was a typical “make vs buy” decision that freed up our resources to focus on other key aspects of our platform. Buying instead of making a solution meant we could include cell broadcast into our WEA solution without investing in developing and maintaining cellular broadcast code. Enghouse engineered the cellular broadcast module that is an important component of our WEA product offering. This freed us to focus on other aspects of the platform and offer outstanding customer service and support to customers.

A Trusted Supplier Who Helped Us Build a Robust Solution

As Velleros’ Vice President of Corporate Administration, I manage our vendor contracts and relationship. Enghouse is one of our most trusted suppliers and has the expertise and resources to engineer and upgrade the cell broadcast component of our WEA solution. Since WEA is spec based, we provide Enghouse with our requirements and the list of relevant 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GGP) and Alliance for Telecommunications Solutions (ATIS) specifications to adhere to for the cell broadcast component, and they come back with a working solution.

They initially rolled out a 3G CDMA version of the cell broadcast module and then modified it to work on 4G LTE networks. On both these occasions, their engineers developed the cell broadcast module and then we tested and integrated it into our WEA product platform.

It’s very much a two-way process. Enghouse develops the cell broadcast module, and we rigorously test it to ensure it meets specifications and our requirements and then integrate it into our platform.

Over the last decade, our cell broadcasting module has proven robust, and Enghouse engineers have risen to every challenge we have put to them. Our customers serve over a million subscribers and rely on us to notify their users in an emergency.

Thanks to Enghouse Networks, Velleros can provide regional carriers

with a high-quality, high-reliability WEA cell broadcast delivery solution that puts them on equal footing with national service providers. I am incredibly proud of our achievement and impact on smaller markets and communities.

A Relationship Built on Dialogue and Respect

Open dialogue and mutual respect are the foundations of our relationship with Enghouse. We regularly engage with their people on various topics. We recently met to discuss their technology roadmap and were impressed with everything they had in the works. At the same time, we explicitly asked them to address their commitment to cellular broadcasting technology. They reassured us they had no plans to exit that market and are ready to help meet any future demands we might have for this technology.

Emergency alert systems aren’t just technology—they’re peace of mind.

At the end of the day, our product is not just technology but also peace of mind. Velleros’ WEA solution helps families, businesses, and communities stay safe in times of crisis. Enghouse Networks is helping us ensure everyone gets the message in an emergency by investing in new technology and improving their cellular broadcasting offering.