Fujitsu wins £4.2 million flood system extension

Floodline Warnings Direct (FWD) is to receive new enhancements after the Environment Agency (EA) extended Fujitsu's existing IT contract.

The first stage of the upgrade will involve implementing online registration for alerts. Currently, anyone wanting to receive free flood alerts must go through a manual registration system. The new online version will be up and running later this year.

Fujitsu originally designed the system alongside the agency, and FWD was launched in 2006.

The system is operated by EA staff, who use a map-based application hosted in Fujitsu data centres to analyse threats using advanced forecasting and modelling technology. If an alert is deemed necessary, it is issued by EA staff over Fujitsu's supporting infrastructure, which is all fully managed by the tech firm.

The creation of FWD allowed for the centralisation of regional warning systems, Steve Biddle, head of Flood Risk Process Management, told IT PRO. He said that centralisation has helped consistency and level of service. "There's no way we could have managed with the volume of warnings we issue now," he explained.

FWD already has 330,000 users, to whom it issued over 2.5 million alerts in the past two years. Users such as home owners, businesses and police services receive the alerts via the phone, text message, email, pager or even fax.

FWD said that 99 per cent of their users are contacted about an alert within half an hour of its issue, while 95 per cent are reached within 13 minutes. "Warnings can go out incredibly quickly," Biddle explained. "With the old system, that'd be very difficult to do."

"The Floodline Warnings Direct system is the most advanced early warning system we have ever had - however - in an age where weather systems are becoming increasingly unpredictable, we are determined to continue to evolve the system to provide residents and services with as much advance warning of potential flooding," Biddle said.

In other Fujitsu Services news today, the tech firm pulled out of a 895 million NHS IT contract.