Celltick: Breaking New Grounds in Cell Broadcast

Celltick: Breaking New Grounds in Cell Broadcast

Ronen Daniel, CEO & Co-founder, CelltickRonen Daniel, CEO & Co-founder Ronen Daniel, the CEO of Celltick foresaw infinite possibilities of the ‘write once – publish to all’ messaging service far ahead of governments worldwide, who are now using cell broadcast as an official channel to send mass alerts. In early 2000, while trying to distract himself amidst motionless traffic, all Daniel could see in his new handset was dulling operator details and a dying battery meter. The traffic moved on, but a single thought kept revisiting the Avionics engineer—what if there was a technology to enhance mobile experience by making it more engaging for users. From a passing abstraction to setting the foundation of a global enabler of mobile engagement, Celltick’s story, from day one is replete with continuous inspired innovation. Today, the company is one of the mainstays in the cell broadcast industry, and also offers several revolutionary products such as Start, a unique user interface for Android devices and LiveScreen, a patented platform for managed mobile marketing that empowers operators, media companies, and device manufacturers to achieve high visibility and monetization.

At the time of its inception, Celltick went on to replace the ‘idle-screen’ concept in mobile with its exceptional LiveScreen solution that worked much like a screensaver to display a full range of content from news alerts to weather updates on a handset. The commercial solution enabled network operators and device manufacturers to easily transmit content-based products and services while paving way for improved engagement. Overtime, Celltick kept enhancing its product with features and functionalities such as an interactive home screen service and an easy-to-use configuration feature. The solution gained immense commercial success as the content was broadcast at no cost to hundreds of millions of subscribers.

Reaching Millions in Seconds

A crucial turning point in Celltick’s journey took place in 2004 when the tsunami hit South Asia. The company realized that by adding Cell Broadcast Centre (CBC) to LiveScreen, operators around the world could provide public safety alerts and citizen communication to hundreds of millions of people during catastrophes. Observing the need of the hour, Celltick switched all their commercial messaging with emergency messaging for greater public benefit. “Since cell broadcast is not limited by traffic loads, our mass alert solution operates even when natural disasters strike and networks are jammed,” says Ronen Daniel, CEO, Celltick. CBC can send real-time emergency alerts to an entire country without overloading network resources. The solution works on 4G, 3G, and 2G and also aggregates and transmits alerts from various safety authorities and sensors from around the country to offer an integrated cellular communication system.

Since cell broadcast is not limited by traffic loads, our mass alert solution operates even when natural disasters strike and networks are jammed

“There are very few companies worldwide that develop CBCs and most of them don’t support all network types. For example, we understand that 2G is still popular in remote areas, owing to which our alerts are delivered on all networks,” states Daniel. On another hand, there are many MNOs in North America that their incumbent CBC does not support Amber Alert on 4G. Given that all cell broadcast messages need to go through a cell broadcast entity (CBE), Celltick offers CBE as an Alert Aggregator platform. The Alert Aggregator connects to all mobile operators’ CBCs in the country and allows for optimized targeting and reception during emergencies.

Celltick’s CBC also supports all advanced standards including commercial mobile alert system (CMAS), which makes it ideal for service providers worldwide. The U.S. government’s objective behind CMAS was to ensure that safety officials and government representatives could be in touch with the public, in case of emergencies. From the time the standard came into effect, device manufacturers have been instructed to activate cell broadcast by default in all devices. Since the implementation of CMAS, Celltick is focusing less on the broadcast for non-urgent purposes and more on emergency systems as it is an executive order and much in demand. Always keeping close to innovation, Celltick is also working toward integrating the CMAS program with services like Google Maps while making it more interactive for users. With the added functionalities, users can not only find the closest shelter in times of need but can also reach out for help through a one-click feature.

“Today our compelling mobile discovery and engagement services have been deployed by more than 36 leading network operators from Brazil to China, spanning four continents,” states Daniel. At the moment, India presents a favorable growth curve for Celltick and the company is already working in partnership with multiple mobile operators in India. Since one operator can deploy only one CBC, Celltick has created a niche for themselves in the Indian market. “Our next step is to convince government bodies in India to set up an emergency mobile alert system,” explains Daniel. While the company has successfully bagged one proposal with the Indian government, five more are in the pipeline.

Another noteworthy example of Celltick’s proficiency can be found in Taiwan where three out of five mobile operators are using Celltick’s CBC solution to deliver emergency warning alerts. From basic CBC, the system was furthered enhanced to be mission critical and Celltick ensures that there is no server downtime even during software upgrades. CBC also supports Active-Active fail-safe configuration to guarantee continuous functionality and reduce redundancies even in cases of equipment failure.

“Additionally, since earthquakes are a significant problem in Taiwan, we also plan to work with the government to set up our automated earthquake alerting sensor, designed primarily for countries with a high risk of earthquakes,” reveals Daniel.

Innovation beyond Measure

As exigencies and cultural requirements vary from one country to the other, all ofCelltick’s solutions are tailored to fit an organization’s needs. The company also provides sound consulting strategies to help businesses build an appropriate methodology around Celltick’s systems. Celltick also focuses on its security implementations, as hackers could create substantial damage if they receive access to a broadcast network.

Moreover, to help mobile operators and app developers engage better with users and thereby increase revenues; Celltick’s Start is a next generation intelligent android interface that captures user data and traits to create a personal experience for every individual. Over 5 million devices are sold every month with Start as its default interface and users can launch multiple applications, explore social media feeds, and access multi-media functionalities, all with a single swipe of the finger, as soon as they wake up to their phones. “Start has witnessed 80 million installs in a market where only 200 applications make to the 100 million mark. That has been a huge step forward for us,” says Daniel. Celltick has also recently introduced Start Magazine, a Content as a Service solution (CaaS) that helps app developers overcome their biggest challenge today—app engagement. The solution provides a wide variety of content to over 200 countries with different languages, lifestyles, and tastes. Clients are free to pick any content from any category with a few clicks. The content can also be integrated with appropriate ads, depending on the geography and language. For instance, Tencent, an internet service provider has partnered with Celltick to help expand activities beyond China by offering a localized content experience in various Indian dialects. Another example is Xiaomi, a Chinese device manufacturer, who decided to expand its activities to India, and partnered with Celltick to deliver promotional content, localizing their offering to the Indian market.

"Our alerts are delivered on all networks 4G, 3G & 2G"

In the near future, Celltick plans to extend its CBC solution offering to network operators in the U.S. and Canada that have not yet deployed the service or look to expand the service to their 4G networks. For companies that have already deployed CBC, a better value proposition awaits, as Celltick is further enhancing its solution while staying compliant with CMAS. In a world where IoT is setting a new paradigm in networking and interconnectivity, Celltick’s goal is to develop advanced alerting means that go beyond mobile broadcast; for example, use of innovative warning systems to open up public shelters in urgent situations. “With almost two decades of expertise in emergency management, we have a superior DNA and a sharp faculty to read adversities, carrier, and government needs. We will continue to reach out to billions more by leveraging the power of mobile for next-gen mass alert and user engagement,” ends Daniel.

- Sandeepa Majumdar
    December 15, 2017