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SkyAlert has expanded the scope of seismic alert technology



The way this system works, in short, is that the sensor is located at the point where earthquakes originated

During the 7.4-magnitude earthquake on June 23, with a center on the coast of Oaxaca and felt strongly in Mexico City, a seismic alert from the capital government began 62 seconds ago, according to Prime Minister Claudia Schenbaum, but SkyAlert users had an additional advantage for a few seconds.

According to information from that company, it alerted its users to Mexico City that it was 118 seconds, due to the fact that it released its new version recently and improved response times thanks to the use of new technologies, such as the cloud and better algorithms.

Álvaro Velasco, co-founder of SkyAlert, has revealed that in recent months they have dedicated themselves to adjusting everything from engineering their servers to covering new areas of the country, and installing their own sensors, which are independent of those used by the capital government.

Our network consists of more than 124 sensors that we have identified in 14 states of the country, making it the largest earthquake warning coverage in Mexico, “he described in an interview with López-Dóriga Digital.

“We have also changed the algorithm, that is, the way we alert users. We will now shift the intensity of the entire area that the earthquake will affect in real time, and this is more useful in making a decision because you can see how you will feel where you are.” claimed.

The way this system works, in short, is that the sensor located at a point where earthquakes arose – such as the Pacific Coast, although it was already installed in places like Puebla, which had been the focus of important tremors – detecting and verifying movement with a second sensor; Next, it sends this information to the cloud via optics and from there an alert is generated much faster than the seismic alert of the CDMX government that accesses the mobile phones of the users who installed the application.

Other changes to the new features contained in version 4 of this app are that it will not only warn the intensity of the earthquake at the place of origin, but it will also calculate the intensity of the place where the users are located, who can also know how long it takes for the earthquake to arrive.

Initially, only the maximum time will be reported, for example “more than 80 seconds”; But later we will be able to more accurately calculate the amount remaining to reach each user, which is a big advantage because civil protection plans are always time dependent. ”

Another marketing area official in the company also said that another advantage is that when the phone is in “Do Not Disturb” mode, the app can ring when it comes to warning of a very important earthquake.

He explained that when users download or update the application to the new version, a guide will appear to configure the new functions. He said: “This improvement in application and seismic alert is the biggest change in SkyAlert’s history.”

Difficult moments

Indeed, improvements to SkyAlert take several years, Velasco mentions, depending on the advancement of technology and the difficult learning that mistakes leave.

“A complex event was the summer of 2014, when we were still in touch with the government earthquake alert signal, which sent us an alleged strong earthquake notification, and we repeated it, but there was no earthquake and it caused us to point to a massive crisis.”

“At that time we decided that we could not rely on third-party technology, and up to that point had indicated to us that it would have no new investment and that it was still dependent on radio waves.”

He notes that Mexico was the first country to have an earthquake warning system, but it was necessary to continue investing in it to improve it. He said: “At that time we decided to invest in our sensor network.”

However, this has led to problems with all the governments in power, and in fact, there are currently talks about bills to regulate services like SkyAlert.

I told them that it is simply about the user’s right so that they can be better prevented, through the latest technologies.

Initially, the seismic alert of the Mexico City government only worked through radio stations in the Valley of Mexico. However, not all radio stations are connected and not all people listen to this medium all the time; But for Velasco, the arrival of this company has generated a kind of competition that has led to significant improvements in public order, such as installing amplifiers in public places that are currently operating and spreading them through TV channels.

“We have always been open to dialogue, and in the chaos that we have had to legally defend ourselves, we do it and we win, and the courts give us the reason why our right to protect ourselves is a universal right against natural hazards.” .

He said that civil protection is not only a matter of state affairs, but rather consists of the government, the private initiative and the general population.

“Moreover, the competition is very healthy, so we continue to improve the algorithm, learn from past mistakes and listen to the user; keeping in mind the signals and applause that users bring to us on social networks,” he admitted.

Currently, it has a presence in places such as Hidalgo, Estado de México, Morelos, Chiapas and Veracruz; Since its inception in 2011, it has had 9 million downloads and in its paid version – which costs 149 pesos annually – it has 440,000 subscribers.

Arrives in the united states

This company is also already operating in the U.S. to activate a seismic alert system in California in conjunction with the local government. Velasco stressed that “until they see that things can be done between the public and private sectors without a fight, they simply support and cooperate in what we do well.”

“We will be the first Mexican technology company to reach Silicon Valley,” he said.

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