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TSA awards sole source alerting contract to Clickatell

TSA has decided to award a sole source contract to Clickatell, Inc., of Redwood City, CA, worth $860,000 to continue to provide 24/7 operational support to the agency’s TSA Alert system, which can send voice, e-mail and text message alerts to the nation’s airports.

In a “justification and approval” document released on January 20, TSA explained that it could avoid any possible disruption caused by switching to a new vendor, and can save approximately $250,000 per year, by sticking with the incumbent vendor, which deployed and manages the current TSA Alert system through its predecessor corporation, known as Multimode.

TSA identified several potential providers of similar alert systems, including Red Alert, RapidReach, eAlert, Amerilert and RSAN, but concluded that “no such custom program was available from other vendors.”

In praise of the Clickatell alerting system, the TSA document noted that Clickatell offered a unique system to send and receive alerts, a comprehensive system architecture that allowed for more open standards for data exchanges, and had already passed U.S. Government certification and accreditation.

“Unlike other agencies with similar responsibilities, TSA lacks a nationwide radio communications network,” explained the TSA document. “TSA Alert was designed to fill that gap by providing a centrally managed system that can be customized for local sites.”

TSA likes its current alerting system and seems reluctant to make an abrupt switch. “TSA Alert is an extremely complicated system requiring the ability to connect to various downstream messaging providers, such as voice networks and text messaging,” the J&A notice explained. “The system in its current state is functional, reliable and has been certified and accredited.”

TSA said it intends to compete this contract during the third quarter of fiscal year 2010 for a subsequent award in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2010.




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