Media Release: BT Business and HTK to deliver new flood warning system for Scottish Environment Protection Agency

SCOTS in flood-prone areas are set to benefit from a high-tech alert system which will warn them by text or phone call when flooding is predicted.

From April 2011, people who have registered for the service will be able to choose how they want to be alerted and flood warnings will then be cascaded from a single system.

Following funding from the Scottish Government, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) awarded a five-year, multi-million pound contract to BT Business and software company HTK to help them deliver Floodline Warnings Direct.

The new service will enable Scotland’s emergency flooding management partners and the public to benefit from a system which will deliver better flood warnings and provide valuable extra time to take action.

Flood warnings are currently issued to the police and published on Floodline, an online and recorded message service, in a mainly manual process using phone and fax. However, the new service will mean that SEPA will be able to call on the latest geographic mapping technology to define specific flood areas, and actively send alerts to everyone who has registered in the highlighted area.

BT and HTK’s innovative system will involve the creation of a fully-managed, hosted multi-media platform for recording and automatically disseminating flood warnings throughout Scotland to partner organisations like the police, fire and rescue, local authorities and the public.

People will also be able to find flood information on the internet and via the phone through interactive voice response systems based on speech-recognition technology.

BT Business is providing the helpdesk and contractual framework for the solution, while HTK will provide the technology platform, called HTK Horizon. Running Horizon through a standard web browser, SEPA will be able to manage flood warnings and tailor their response to the level of threat and the specific target area.

BT and HTK are working closely with SEPA to develop and test the system in time for a full public launch in spring 2011.

Professor James Curran, SEPA’S director of science and strategy, said: “This is a significant investment in communications technology which has one purpose, to help people. Together we are building the Floodline Warnings Direct service, which will be at the heart of providing the people of Scotland, at home or in their businesses, with a better flood warning service to help them to take action and reduce the impact of flooding on their lives.”

EJ Cay, head of custom solutions at BT Business, said: “Flooding is a major threat to many communities in the UK and across the world. This initiative is a leading example of technology being used to ease the problems caused by extreme weather. Working with skilled partners such as HTK, BT can deliver critical, strategic solutions for our customers. In our Custom Solutions business we are able to marry strong commercial and operational capabilities with technical innovation and we look forward to a successful service launch for SEPA.”

Justin Bowser, director of public sector at HTK, commented: “We’re very proud to be working on this project with BT and SEPA, using innovative ICT to achieve real benefits for communities across Scotland. HTK has a long history of delivering ‘warn and inform’ solutions in the UK and this project win is a great testament to the capabilities of our people and the HTK Horizon hosted service.”

BT and HTK have a strong record of deploying interactive voice and multi-media solutions for UK public bodies and the award of the contract from SEPA has facilitated the enhancement and expansion of this partnership. The selection of the BT/HTK solution by SEPA followed a competitive tender process through the Government Buying Solutions framework.

For further information please contact Mitch Reid or Anna Steven at the BT Scotland Press Office on 0800 085 0660. All news releases can be accessed at our web site:

For further information on SEPA please call SEPA’s media desk

on 01786 452546

About BT

BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications solutions and services operating in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to our customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband and internet products and services and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, Openreach, BT Retail and BT Wholesale.

In the year ended 31 March 2010, BT Group’s revenue was £20,911 million.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

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About SEPA

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is Scotland’s environmental regulator, and flood warning authority.

It operates flood warning services in partnership with local authorities and the police. This includes Floodline; a 24-hour telephone information service covering all of Scotland, through the monitoring of river levels, rainfall, tidal predictions and weather forecasts. SEPA is also responsible for providing advice to local authorities on flood risk for planning purposes, and advice on flood prevention.

Its main role of protecting and improving the environment includes: helping business and industry to understand their environmental responsibilities, enabling customers to comply with legislation and good practice and to realise the many economic benefits of good environmental practice and protecting communities by regulating activities that can cause harmful pollution and by monitoring the quality of Scotland’s air, land and water

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About HTK

HTK provides a web-based platform, HTK Horizon, for mass notification, multi-channel marketing and customer-service automation. HTK Horizon helps organisations to provide more intelligent customer contact; increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty whilst significantly reducing costs.

Founded in 1996 and privately owned, HTK delivers solutions to SME and large enterprises, telecommunication service providers and the public sector. Customers include Cable & Wireless, BT, Specsavers and O2 as well as numerous local authorities. HTK software is used by more than 30 of the 52 UK Police Forces, and HTK developed the recently launched national web portal for migrant workers and employers.

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Contact: Mitch Reid
Phone: 0800 085 0660