New York Tests Emergency Alerts Through Game Consoles

ALBANY, N.Y.: The State of New York is testing a system to deliver emergency alerts through video gaming consoles, reports indicate. The state’s Emergency Management Office is looking to add Xboxes, PlayStations and Wiis to the list of devices that receive emergency information. The intent is to reach younger people who spend more time gaming than listening to radio or watching TV.

The console markers--Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo--run online networks over which gamers compete. New York would access those networks to disseminate disaster warnings and emergency information. New York’s deputy chief information officer, Rico Singleton, confirmed that tests were being conducted with the consoles, Information Week said.

The effort is said to be part of an initiative dubbed “Empire 2.0,” in which social and virtual life Web sites are being leveraged by the state government. IW said, for example, that the Department of Mental Health “is monitoring some Facebook post in an effort to spot suicidal behavior, the Office of Homeland Security is using Second Life to train 700,000 first responders, and senior members of the state CIO;s office are using Twitter to disseminate information about technology initiatives to the public.”

(image by Mike Innocenzi)