Catastrophic events are changing the Mass Notification market

London, UK

Mass-notification system (MNS) software used in emergency communication, the primary segment used during a catastrophic event, is expected to grow in the Americas at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.8 percent from 2017 to 2021, reaching $293.1 million in 2021.

And according to the latest insight from  Robert Brooks, analyst, security and building technologies at IHS Markit, due to heightened terrorist activity in Europe, and with US-based multinational companies moving to Western Europe, the MNS software emergency communication market in EMEA is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.4 percent from 2017 to 2021, reaching $41.6 million in 2021.

In the Americas, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes are occurring more frequently, so unimpeded mass communication during these events is critical. MNS software is often employed so companies can communicate with their employees, federal agencies, university students and the general public. More channels of communication available in these types of events, means more people can reach safety faster and more lives can be saved.

In Western Europe, the second-largest market for MNS software, weather-related incidents occur less often, so the need for MNS software is lower than in the Americas. While individual countries might deal with specific weather threats — like blizzards and freezes in Sweden and flooding in the UK — in 2017 the United States alone experienced four major hurricanes.

The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) is a US government programme providing a new standardised approach to security assessment, authorisation and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services. The IHS Markit research suggests that while this certification is not mandated by law, it will certainly affect how software-as-a-service (SaaS) and cloud vendors perform business with federal government agencies — increasing MNS software sales by the federal government, because nearly all vendors in this industry will switch to cloud-based solutions.

Once a company is certified by FedRAMP, additional measures to buy or maintain vendors’ solutions is required. This cost savings will appeal to many government agencies as they look at the total cost to own a system.

Western European governments will continue to use on-premises or hybrid solutions, because they are constrained by local laws and regulations surrounding the use of personal information and privacy. A majority of cloud-based MNS software market leaders are located in the US, which creates additional lag time for cloud systems to be purchased in European countries.

There is an obvious and growing need for more user-friendly system interfaces. For example, during a regulated standard test of Hawaii’s emergency missile warning system in January 2018, an employee selected the option to send out a full missile-defense alert, instead of choosing the test-cycle option. While this is a dramatic example of human error, there is a continuing need to improve the user interfaces of these systems to avoid unnecessary public panic in the future.

Increasing acts of terrorism across Western Europe and North Africa over the past two years have forced central governments to investigate new and innovative ways to keep the general public safe. While most investment goes toward security cameras, access control, security doors and tough perimeter security, some governments will also choose to buy MNS software to facilitate communication between first responders and security teams.

Privacy issues also need to be addressed on a country-by-country basis, including the location of servers hosting cloud-based platforms. In Germany for example, MNS software providers must comply with the “German work first” rule. This rule was implemented by the German government, because it did not want any German citizen’s information to be contained outside the country. Each country in the European market has different rules about hosted systems, which adds another layer of complexity to selling cloud-based systems in Europe.


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