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 Monday, November 12, 2007

A standard that allows a warning message to be consistently disseminated simultaneously over different systems and applications has been approved as an ITU-T Recommendation.

The Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) v.1.1 developed by OASIS was the basis for the text that will be published as an ITU-T Recommendation following approval on 12 September. Publication as an ITU-T Recommendation (X.1303) will help ensure that CAP is deployed worldwide giving technical compatibility for users across all countries. The goal of public warning is to reduce the damage and loss of life caused by a natural or man-made hazard event.

CAP is a simple, lightweight XML-based schema that provides a general-purpose format for the exchange of emergency alerts for safety, security, fire, health, earthquake and other events over any network. CAP associates emergency event data (such as public warning statements, photographs, sensor data or URIs) with basic metadata such as time, source and level of urgency, and with geographic locations. The original V.1.1 specification was enlarged by a binary ASN.1 specification of the CAP messages that will enable the transport of CAP messages to VoIP terminals using H.323 among other systems. Experts say the use of ASN.1 significantly reduces the size of the message and therefore the potential for network congestion. OASIS Emergency Management Technical Committee has also adopted the same extension.

CAP is successfully in use by a number of public emergency services and land management agencies today, and works with a wide variety of devices and messaging methods.

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