What is a Mass Notification Ecosystem and Why Do You Need One?

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emergency-mass-notification-ecosystem-device-integration

Defining a Mass Notification Ecosystem

At Singlewire Software, we like to encourage our customers to integrate our InformaCast emergency notification software as part of a larger ecosystem for mass notification. But if you’re starting from scratch, what does that look like? And how can you build one?

A mass notification ecosystem is all of the tools and systems your organizations can utilize to send and receive emergency alerts. The challenge becomes finding a way to unite disparate devices and systems into a cohesive solution. When an emergency occurs, too many organizations waste time logging into different systems or activating different devices. This is hardly efficient, especially in organizations where a large number of people need to be notified of an emergency.

In the blog post, we’ll provide recommendations for devices to build your ecosystem and how the right mass notification system can tie everything together.

Leverage What You Already Own

Here’s the good news. A mass notification ecosystem doesn’t need to be expensive. Your organization probably has many tools already in place. Desk phones and desktop computers are often necessities, and digital signage, IP speakers and overhead paging systems may also be on hand. Each of these pieces will contribute to your ecosystem and help increase the reach of your messages. Spreading information should be easy and should leverage as many devices as possible. More devices means a greater variety of message types that can be employed, increasing the chances that everyone receives the messages.

Take stock of which devices you have and which ones you need. Understand the full capabilities of each device and system your organization has and how each can help communicate messages during an emergency. Here are elements that make up a strong ecosystem, and how they can be utilized for mass notification.

  • IP phones: Typically found at most work stations or in most rooms, IP phones can be used to broadcast live or recorded audio with safety instructions. This offers an intrusive means to grab people’s attention. IP phones with displays can also show text and icons about the emergency taking place.
  • IP speakers: Placed throughout facilities, IP speakers can extend the reach of your audio broadcasts to those who may be away from their desk phones. Some IP speakers will include digital signage so audio, text and visual messages can be delivered in tandem.
  • Digital signage: In addition to digital signage attached to IP speakers, some organizations may have digital signs around their facilities such as flat screen televisions. These can be used to share emergency notifications with text and images.
  • Computer desktops: Similar to IP phones, computer desktops are likely to be at most works stations or in most rooms. Using the right tools, alerts that display on desktops can pop up in front of other applications and even unmute the computer to share information via audio.
  • Mobile devices: The devices listed above are great tools for sending emergency notifications within a building or campus, but mobile devices help alert people that are away and prevent them from entering dangerous situations. They also offer a variety of message delivery types including SMS text, push notification, phone calls and email.
  • Panic buttons: Physical panic buttons help trigger messages quickly. Placed in strategic locations, they offer a discrete and easy method for getting the word out. Panic buttons can also be configured on certain IP phones and as shortcuts on desktop computers.
  • Fire alarms: With the right mass notification system, parameters can be set to trigger notifications when a fire alarm goes off.
  • Door access: Mass notification systems can also trigger other systems, such as door access controls. If you need to trigger a lockdown, you can send alerts and trigger doors to lock to prevent unauthorized access into a building or room.

Different industries may offer opportunities for different integrations. For example, RFID tags in healthcare can trigger alerts when patients wander out of designated areas. Manufacturing facilities can tie alerts into ammonia sensors, temperature sensors, and eye wash stations. Having a good understanding of your facilities and your needs will help you determine which elements will be most effective during a crisis.

Learn more about device integration

Unify Your Ecosystem

Now that you understand the different physical elements of a mass notification system, you need a way to bring everything together. The right mass notification system will act as a central hub to manage which devices receive a message during an emergency. An open API will offer more options for integrations. Be sure to look for a system that can provide an ecosystem that includes mobile and on-premises notification. Many can do one or the other but few can do both. This is a critical consideration as it provides the best chance for reaching everyone with the information they need to stay safe. A comprehensive ecosystem minimizes the chances someone misses a message, helping organizations fulfill their duty of care.

We help our customers develop their mass notification ecosystem with help from our ecosystem partners. They offer a wide array of devices and systems that can integrate with InformaCast to provide greater reach for emergency messages. Each of these partners has documentation to backup the integration in the Singlewire Support Community, so when customers select a solution, they know it will work.

Explore our ecosystem partners

 

 

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