Work Packages

Work Package 1: Project Management

This work package provides a structured system for the full administrative and technical management of the project, including exploitation, quality assurance and risk management methods.

Work package leader: Fraunhofer FOKUS

Work Package 2: Socio-cultural Factors in Risk and Crisis Communication

This work package addresses the fundamentals: how are technological, environmental, social, and other types of risks perceived in different socio-cultural and regional contexts, and what are the implications for efficient risk communication? The analysis focuses on the perception of risk communication in different socio-cultural clusters in all participating countries. Current media repertoires of the different socio-cultural milieus will also be analyzed and compared, and the effects of different media repertoires on the risk communication process will be studied. A particular focus of this analysis will be on the perception of individualized alerting (by SMS, e-mail, personal messaging etc.), “traditional” alerting over broadcast media, and emerging web-based communication channels (blogs, social networks etc.).

Work package leader: SINE

Work Package 3: Influences of Socio-cultural Differences in Risk Perception on Alerting Strategies

Socio-cultural differences in risk perception have significant consequences for the perceived relevance of alerts. These differences result from previous exposure and adaptation to risks, threats or crises. Today, people responsible for triggering alerts must perform the difficult task of finding out what alert level the recipients will perceive as appropriate. Often this question is addressed more intuitively than objectively. This may be a problem today in countries where service providers have been operating for a long time, and is especially significant when operators enter new markets with different socio-cultural and regional end-user characteristics. This work package will address the influence of socio-cultural differences in risk perception on the decisions of alerting personnel, analyze and evaluate the existing intuitive mitigation strategies, and develop a concept for an improved, socio-culturally sensitive assessment of warning events. The work will include reviews and concepts of technical ways to simulate human behaviour with reference to socio-cultural differences.

Work package leader: UBIMET

Work Package 4: Mass Media as a Channel for Public Alerting

This work package starts with an in-depth analysis of the role that mass media have played in public alerting during recent crises such as the tsunami disaster in the Indian Ocean in 2004 and the swine flu epidemic in 2009. Current trends in alerting through mass media will be considered. Advantages and capabilities as well as drawbacks, limitations and restrictions of alerting through mass media will be discussed. Finally, recommendations will be drafted for the future role of the different types of mass media in alerting situations. These recommendations will include a detailed specification of state-of-the-art, best-practice procedures for alerting through the mass media in different regional and cultural contexts.

Work package leader: University of Gothenburg

Work Package 5: Personalized, Adaptive Multi-channel Alerting

This package, building on the results of WP2, is aimed at designing a model for personalizing and adaptating alert messages to social, cultural and regional parameters. This model will serve as a basis for the development of a presentation producer that can automatically adapt warning messages to the recipients´ socio-cultural context and current situation. The impact of such personalization in the alerting process will then be analyzed in a field test using the alerting systems of the development partners, with a combined coverage of more than 2,400,000 potential users in eight countries. The field test will involve a sample of several hundred test users, and will also study how people in the different socio-cultural groups cope with the false-alarm problem.

Work package leader: e*Message

Work Package 6: Alert Impact Simulator

In an emergency, the decision whom to warn and which warning channels to use must be made quickly, striking the right balance between the amount of information and the available communication bandwith. At the same time, large numbers of end-users must be warned to assure warning compliance, yet without creating panic. Building upon the data and experience gained with end-user responsiveness and communication performance during the KATWARN project, Fraunhofer FOKUS, e*Message W.I.S. Deutschland, UBIMET and PROTEO will develop an alert simulator that quickly assesses the impact of different message-channel combinations and recommends an efficient warning mix to government agencies and their communication centers. Thales Services SAS will provide additional expertise on simulations of human behaviour and develop a large critical- infrastructure version of the alert simulator. The use case considered will concern a large subway station (to be selected) populated by more than 10,000 virtual actors. These virtual actors will behave autonomously and adaptively: that is, their behaviour will not be scripted, but dynamically derived from their socio-cultural profiles. Thus they will react realistically to the specific alert propagation strategies tested. Furthermore, Thales Services SAS will also model the potential side effects of alert propagation strategies due to human factors: passive stress, active alert communication, alert risk amplification, panic, etc. The work package will deliver a demonstrator for testing the specified alert propagation strategies with reference to the selected large subway station.

Work package leader: Fraunhofer FOKUS

Work Package 7: Data Protection and Privacy

This work package assesses the implications of data protection laws for personalized alerting solutions. It will provide a comprehensive survey of relevant regulations and develop a concept for compliance. In order to conform to legal and end-user requirements, the Opti-Alert approach will be based on the principles of (a) data scarcity: storing only the data that is absolutely necessary to achieve the specified goals and funtions; (b) transparency: clear communication with all stakeholders on the types of data that are stored, and their purpose; (c) informed consent: allowing users to determine what data they want to provide based upon the information they have received about the system; and (d) control: allowing users to delete their information from the system quickly and easily.

Work package leader: Fraunhofer FOKUS

Work Package 8: Demonstrator

This work package will integrate the different software suites - the GIS-based visualisation tool for socio-cultural and regional patterns, the socio-culturally sensitive alerting component, and the alert impact simulator - with external systems and components, and will demonstrate their capabilities in a proof-of-concept field test.

Work package leader: e*Message

Work Package 9: Dissemination

This work package is concerned with disseminating the project´s results internationally and nationally, through presentations at conferences and forums, workshops, and information materials. Knowledge and project results will be transferred into courses at colleges and universities. Knowledge acquired through the project will be communicated to the general population through the mass media, and project results will be published in specialized magazines for firefighters, the insurance industry, and other target groups.

Work package leader: Fraunhofer FOKUS