What Are You Currently Using for Mass Notification?

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mass-notification-devices-methods-using

Mass Notification Methods

When organizations come to us looking for a mass notification solution, one of the first questions we ask is what tools they already have in place for alerting their populations. This is an important initial question as it can help organizations better understand what’s currently working and where they have gaps that need to be filled. Sometimes, they may not even consider certain tools or processes “mass notification,” but every organization relies on communication to function. That’s why it’s critical to identify the devices and methods used to share information to see how a mass notification system can streamline processes and improve connectivity. In this blog post, we’ll look at the pros and cons of different alerting devices and methods and how a mass notification system can make them even more effective.

Paging

Overhead paging systems can be a powerful tool for mass notification. Live audio delivered by a paging system can penetrate throughout a building and interrupt ongoing activities to grab people’s attention about a critical event. However, there are also several drawbacks for organizations relying solely on paging to share safety information. It often needs to be delivered live, requiring someone to be in front of a receiver to broadcast their audio. This can sometimes be inconvenient and time-consuming, especially in larger buildings or campuses. Crucial seconds can be lost simply trying to get to the system before a message can be shared.

It also puts pressure on the person delivering the message. Due to the urgency of the event taking place, their message may be rushed, leading to confusion or even panic. While live audio can give up-to-the-minute updates, using a mass notification tool tied to your paging system can deliver prerecorded audio that is calm, clear and concise. This audio can also be activated using a variety of triggers, that do not require an administrator to be in front of the system.

Phone Calls

Another method organizations use to communicate messages is calling their people directly. This is often done using a phone tree, where people are responsible for passing a message along to others, or it can fall on the shoulders of a sole individual. This comes with a host of issues, from having an incorrect phone number, to being unable to confirm that everyone was called. Not to mention, it is unnecessarily time-consuming. If you’re a part of a large organization using a bulk dialing system with a recorded message, placing too many phone calls simultaneously can be seen as an attack and result in a denial of services, preventing calls from going through.

With a mass notification system, phones can become powerful tools for alerting people about emergencies. On-premises phones that utilize multicast streaming can act as endpoints for audio pages, meaning audio gets delivered directly and simultaneously to everyone in your organization. Phones can also be used to trigger notifications, using speed dials or preconfigured buttons on desk phones. This can greatly speed up the amount of time it takes to notify people about an event.

Learn more about calling vs. broadcasting

Email

For some organizations, email may seem like a quicker way to get the word out, but it overlooks a major issue. With email, there is no immediacy for your recipients. If a threat is imminent, like an active shooter, you don’t want to risk people ignoring your message, which is all too easy to do when it comes to email. Effective mass notifications get people to stop what they are doing and pay attention. Email can be good for less immediate notification needs, and as a component of a larger mass notification plan, but on its own, it is an insufficient method for communicating pertinent safety information.

Desktop Pop-ups

Desktop pop-ups are another popular option for notification, especially in businesses, hospitals and education settings. For organizations where people are spending large chunks of times at a computer, this is a good way to reach them with an alert that can interrupt whatever they are using their computer for. However, there are similar issues with using this as a sole means for mass notification. If people are away from their desk or not using their computer, they won’t receive the message. Some desktop notifications also do not offer the option of utilizing sound broadcast from a computer’s speakers. While a colorful text pop-up may be sufficient, adding audio can be a good way to ensure people are aware a message has been sent. But just as you would not want to use email as your only method of mass notification, neither should desktop pop-ups be the only way you alert people. Mass notification systems can trigger desktop alerts and alerts to other devices so even if someone is away from their desk, they know an event is taking place.

Mass SMS Text Messaging

Many organizations rely on mass SMS text solutions for their notification needs. On the surface, this can seem like the perfect solution. Many people have their phones on them at all times, so being able to deliver a message directly to those devices can help quickly make them aware of a situation. But there can be a number of reasons people don’t receive a message, from having a phone on silent to the wrong phone number being inputted into a system. That’s why it’s important to combine mobile messaging with on-premises notification to help ensure you reach as close to 100 percent of your desired population with a mass notification as possible. The more channels and formats you use, the less likely it is someone will miss a message.

Read more about the problems with mobile alerts

There may be other methods and devices you are using to alert people, but without a mass notification system serving as a backbone to connect everything and alert people on-premises and while they are mobile, you are missing an opportunity to enhance the speed and reach of your emergency messages. Achieve a better ROI on your existing tools and build a better alerting ecosystem with help from a mass notification solution. Check out our demo page to see it in action for yourself.

 

 

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