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This article was written by Daphne Tomlinson of Tomlinson Business Research

With increased risk of terrorist activities and incidents both in the workplace and in public places, businesses need effective platforms to notify personnel in their facilities as to what is happening, where it is happening and how to respond in an emergency situation or critical event.

Mass Notification Systems (MNS) allow communication with large groups that may be impacted by a situation such as an emergency (fire, shooting, security breach) or a critical event such as a natural disaster. Increased awareness about MNS after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and an increase in the occurrence of campus shootings are the major factors driving growth of the market in North America.

Emergency notification solutions in buildings can be integrated with fire alarm systems and public address systems to effectively convey alert messages and notifications. Public sector organizations and enterprises alike are investing in the software to protect and alert the occupants of their offices, schools, campuses and government facilities.

The major diversified building systems providers (Honeywell, UTC, Johnson Controls / Tyco, Siemens, Bosch and Eaton) have a leading position in the US market, providing mass notification software as part of their overall fire and security system portfolios.

There are also many smaller vendors in the US market (Gartner counted over 50 in 2014). Companies currently offering mass notification software include: Global AlertLink, Omnilert, Blackberry AtHoc, Desktop Alert, Metis Secure, Send Word Now, MIR3, Airbus DS Communications, ERMS Corporation, Message911, AlertFind, Singlewire Software and xMatters.

This category of software is covered in Memoori’s report on The Market for Building Performance Software 2016 to 2020 published in July 2016. Since then, two pure players have consolidated their position in the North American marketplace and are challenging the established players.

Everbridge completed its initial public offering in September 2016, reported 2016 revenues of $76.8 million and is forecasting $100 million revenues in 2017.

The company has recently augmented its portfolio to integrate PSIM (Physical Security Information Management) capabilities. In January 2017, the company acquired IDV, a Lansing, Michigan based software solutions provider for powering command centers. The deal closed for $27.5 million. In combination with Everbridge’s critical communication, incident management, and employee safety capabilities, IDV’s Visual Command Center application will form a key component of the company’s Critical Event Management™ (CEM) platform for dynamically assessing, responding to, and managing the resolution of the wide range of threats and disruptions which impact organizations’ daily operations.

Svensk Krisledning AB, the developer of the SaaS mobile crisis management solution, Crisis Commander, was also acquired by Everbridge in January 2017. The acquisition brings technology will enhance Everbridge’s core mobility platform and the two-way communication and automated workflow capabilities of Crisis Commander will be heightened by integration with the platform.

According to Everbridge CEO Jaime Ellertson, the CEM platform will provide a cost-effective solution for their more than 3,000 corporate and government customers who need a collaborative command center that combines security, supply chain and IT operation threats and incidents in one common view.

Everbridge solutions are now used by all 25 of the busiest airports in North America to manage threat assessment, incident response and resolution during critical events and security-related incidents impacting airport operations and safety.

Another pure play US MNS competitor to Everbridge has also been launched this year. In June 2017, OnSolve was established, the new name for the combined entity of Emergency Communications Network (ECN) and the acquired businesses of Send Word Now and MIR3.

The acquisition brings together Send Word Now’s enterprise-class emergency notification system, capable of transmitting tens of thousands of voice and text messages in minutes, with ECN’s advanced emergency communication platform for real-time notification and response.

The MIR3 solution from OnSolve, acquired in August 2016, claims to be the most complete solution available for large enterprises and federal agencies seeking to manage critical events or natural disasters effective through the transmission of critical information and instructions.

“The acquisition of MIR3 accelerates ECN’s vision to be a leader in the unified critical communications space serving a broad range of clients and applications. This transaction creates an opportunity for ECN to greatly scale our footprint in the adjacent enterprise market, as well as introduce ECN’s Cloud Platform as a Service (CPaaS) offering, which can enable enterprises to enrich software applications with multi-channel and real-time communication functions” said David DiGiacomo, President and CEO of ECN.

OnSolve has been formed with a target of $250 million annual revenue in the next four to five years. Annual revenues for OnSolve, with its recent acquisitions, are expected at $100 million. OnSolve is a portfolio company of Veritas Capital, a leading private equity firm actively investing in software, technology, and communications businesses. Veritas acquired ECN in June 2015 for an undisclosed sum from private equity firm, the Riverside Company.

The last two years have seen a raft of MNS players acquiring new owners – see Table 1. Private equity and venture capital firms have recognized this sector as an important market and have invested through acquisitions, growth capital and seed funding. While the sector is still very fragmented, consolidation is starting to take effect.

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