All-Net, a Winnipeg municipal software company, which began in 1999 as NewWave Communications, a web design and application development outfit, has formed a strategic alliance with Glacier FarmMedia and Weather INnovations (WIN) Consulting LP to allow municipalities to expand their municipal emergency services options, says All-Net president Vern Sabeski.
In 2003, All-Net.ca was formed with the expansion of Internet-related services including web design, hosting and e-mail services. Glacier FarmMedia, based in Winnipeg, publishes newspapers and magazines including Western Producer, Canadian Cattlemen, Manitoba Co-operator, Alberta Farmer Express and Le Bulletin des agriculteurs in Île-des-Soeurs, an island that is part of Montreal. It is part of Glacier Media Inc.'s Trade Information Group. Vancouver-based Glacier also owns both the Thompson Citizen and Nickel Belt News, which are in its Glacier Newspaper Group.
Weather INnovations Incorporated, an agricultural meteorology firm, and Glacier Media Inc. last year created a new partnership called Weather INnovations (WIN) Consulting LP by buying the assets of WeatherFarm.com, Canada's largest weather network, from the Canadian Wheat Board. WeatherFarm.com provides near-real time local weather conditions for more than 800 locations from Manitoba to British Columbia.
Weather INnovations Incorporated was originally developed at the Ridgetown campus of the University of Guelph under the project name Ontario Weather Network (OWN) and specialized in building turnkey monitoring and modelling solutions.
Weather INnovations (WIN) Consulting LP is involved also with Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow, CoCoRaHS, a non-profit, grassroots, volunteer network of weather enthusiasts who make up an international precipitation monitoring program with over 100 observers in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and several thousand in the United States. CoCoRaHS began in Colorado in the 1990s and launched in Manitoba in 2011.
Sabeski says the tripartite strategic alliance between All-Net, Glacier FarmMedia and Weather INnovations (WIN) Consulting LP "will immediately transform the way municipal governments communicate with their residents during an emergency.
"The new municipal alliance gives every municipal government access to the latest in municipal web technologies along with real-time local weather reporting and emergency alerting systems," said Sabeski. "This is a first of its kind service in North America.
"The new municipal alliance provides us with access to real-time weather stations as well as detailed weather reports and historical data for most of the municipalities we currently serve. This information is being incorporated into new emergency alert tools and web applications that will be available to the public this year," he said.
"Access to live weather data will enable us to offer a full municipal emergency alert system using the latest information and the most current technology. We are very excited about the new municipal alliance and the potential it has for new products and services geared specifically to a municipal government," said Sabeski.
Early last July, during the Town of Gillam's voluntary evacuation of 300 people, as Keeyask NE Fire 063 - started by lightning June 6 - was burning 28 kilometres west of Gillam, Jackie Clayton, Gillam's chief administrative officer and emergency co-ordinator, launched iPhone and Android smartphone apps provided by All-Net to keep local residents informed as the forest fire burned nearby.
With many people evacuating the community, Sabeski and Clayton said, the municipal office had a means to provide them with the latest information directly on their smartphones.
"Municipal administrators need to accept technology and develop the tools to communicate with their residents. There is no excuse for not being able to communicate with people at anytime from anywhere. Especially in a time of emergency," said Clayton.
Gillam, with a population of 1,281 in 2011, according to Statistics Canada, is 302 kilometres northeast of Thompson by road and 206 kilometres by air. Gillam Airport has a 5,034-foot long gravel runway.
The town is normally accessible by road, rail and air. It was the railway that brought permanent settlement to Gillam in 1912 at Mile 330. The main street in town is Railway Avenue. Along the Bayline, the stations and stops between Gillam and Churchill include Bird, Avery, Weir River, Thibaudeau, Herchmer, O'Day, McClintock, Chesnaye and Tidal. The Bayline to Churchill was completed in 1929.
Gillam was incorporated as the Local Government District (LGD) of Gillam on May 1, 1966 and became a town on Jan. 1, 1997.
Clayton noted Gillam it does not have the "luxury of local media outlets to share information with residents in a timely manner. Implementing an active website and smart phone apps is viewed as an essential communication tool.
"Weather and forest fires can have a detrimental impact on the lives of local residents. The town staff now have a way to communicate with many residents immediately during any emergency situation.
"Our iPhone and Android apps," ensured our residents had instant access to local information from any location 24/7, she said.
Sabeski says in relation to municipal governments and the time and money spent on preparing for council meetings, the average number of pages of paper saved in one year for an All-Net Meeting client is 130,000 pages and the average amount of money saved per year preparing agenda packages, after All-Net Meeting cost, is $4,225.
Sabeski says the average number of trees "saved per year by all Manitoba municipalities using All-Net Meetings" is 468.
The City of Thompson uses All-Net Meetings V2 for its posted online meeting agendas, which includes items such as reports, memorandums, correspondence and resolutions being considered by mayor and council.