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Cities Rapidly Turning to Nixle as Communications Platform for Swine Flu Updates; Outbreak Exemplifies Need for Secure, Trusted Communications
Date:4/29/2009

More than 600 municipalities now testing or pushing out Nixle service

SAN FRANCISCO, April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Nixle, a new rapidly growing community information service, is receiving hundreds of new requests to have the service activated, so municipalities nationwide can keep residents informed of swine flu developments.

Municipalities initially interested in Nixle for its public safety function are now also using the service as a platform for rapid response broadcasting of public safety messages, including swine flu information, to its citizens. In excess of 600 cities across the United States have been certified or are in the process of being certified, to use or test the service. This includes Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis, Baltimore, Miami, Boston and Austin, Texas.

A recent CNN.com story discussed the debate being created about how people get information during health emergencies, such as the swine flu outbreak. Some observers noted that Twitter "has become a hotbed of unnecessary hype and misinformation about the outbreak" because anyone, no matter their credentials can publish information.

"Given the ongoing and increasing debate on whether traditional social networking sites such as Twitter are appropriate services to communicate public safety information, we are getting approached by cities looking for a more secure and better solution," Nixle founder and CEO Craig Mitnick said. "Nixle was designed with security in mind. The foundation of Nixle is that users can trust the messages they receive."

Unlike competitors such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace, Nixle and its technology is built exclusively to provide secure and reliable communications, Mitnick said. Its authenticated service connects public safety agencies, public services agencies, as well as community groups, to residents in real time, delivering information to geographically targeted consumers over their cell phones (via text messages), through e-mails and through Web access.

Dave Mitchell, a core member of the Johns Hopkins University Public Safety Executive Leadership Program, said, "Social networking sites create unnecessary hype and fear in situations such as the swine flu outbreak due to misinformation. Nixle delivers trusted and accurate information, and when information is accurate, calmness prevails over chaos."

Nixle is offered at no cost to all governments, their agencies and organizations, nongovernmental organizations and consumers. Mitnick noted that residents have the ability to decide what information they wish to receive.

"It is obvious from what we have seen over the past several days that there is a huge need for trusted and accurate information when it comes to public safety and health," Mitnick said.

"Just today, we were conducting training with EOC staff. Like so many other public safety groups, a flu pandemic was the scenario under discussion," Scottsdale Police Department Lt. Tony Gibson said. "When a question was raised about the importance of keeping the community and employees informed, the first word mentioned was Nixle."

"The Nixle system will assist us in keeping the public informed when dealing with local, state and country wide emergencies that may affect the health and welfare of our community," said Voorhees, N.J. Chief of Police Keith Hummel, whose department recently sent out information via Nixle about where residents could turn for swine flu information.

About Nixle

Nixle is a community information service provider built exclusively to provide secure and reliable communications. It is the first authenticated and secure service that connects municipal agencies and community organizations to residents in real time, delivering information to geographically targeted consumers over their cell phones (via text messages), through e-mails and via Web access. Nixle has secured a partnership with Nlets (the International Justice and Public Safety Network), allowing local police departments nationwide to send immediate alerts and advisories. Privately funded Nixle, which has offices in New Jersey and California, is free to all governments, their agencies and organizations, nongovernmental organizations and consumers. For more information, visit www.nixle.com.


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