Alerts are a Vital Part of a Digital Signage Plan

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Get the Message Out

Security is a word at the forefront of every organization’s communications plan these days; the fact is, things sometimes go wrong. It could be a fire, a massive infrastructure failure, an unexpectedly powerful stormfront, or any of a host of other emergencies that can crop up suddenly to put people at risk. Having comprehensive and integrated alert capabilities is becoming a must for everyone, from schools and universities, corporate campuses, and medical facilities to manufacturing plants, government offices and hotels – anywhere people gather in large numbers. A report by Solution estimates that the mass notification market will be worth $9.69 billion by the year 2021, as more and more organizations adopt robust alert notification plans, and municipalities, counties and even whole states are deploying interoperable emergency communications systems.

The main idea behind a good emergency plan is that you can get the message out quickly to as many people as possible. So, it makes sense to integrate your digital signage system into your alert plan. Displays are already located in high-traffic areas, and the audience has become accustomed to getting information of all kinds from the screens. If your digital signage system doesn’t have alert override capabilities, ask your vendor about getting an upgrade that incudes this. It will save time and money, and possibly lives, in the long run. Many organizations are even eligible for FEMA grants to help offset the costs.

Learn More About Digital Signage for Emergencies

Speed is of the Essence

You want to make sure that your crisis communications plan is clear and easy to execute, as speed is of the essence in an emergency. Creating common alert messages ahead of time for things that are more likely to happen (like extreme weather) means that all you need to do is trigger that message and your displays instantly display it. Using color-coding for different emergency types can also help people immediately understand the nature of the situation. Follow the initial notification with simple, easy-to-follow instructions as to what people should do next. Roleplay and test your system to ensure that everyone knows what to do in which kind of emergency, and that they understand the entire plan, not just a part of it.

Your digital signage software should let you override scheduled content with just a few clicks to supplant scheduled playlists on screens you choose – publish emergency notifications on the entire system or choose specific players to override for local alerts. You can activate manual alert overrides in the software interface, using CAP (Common Alerting Protocol), or with an API for integrated third-party systems to automatically trigger your alert notices. External systems can include mass notification and text messaging services, emergency notification systems, public address systems, and others.

Integration and Recovery

What an organization really wants is something integrated and interoperable. The entire crisis communications plan has been workshopped and tested, and signed off on by upper management; everyone should know exactly what will happen when an alert is triggered, and what to do next. Once it’s all set up properly, a single trigger sets the whole thing in motion.

Explore Ecosystem Partners

One thing people often forget in a crisis communications plan is recovery tactics. After the emergency has passed, you’ll want to get up and running again as soon as possible. You also want to communicate with the community where your organization is located, to help coordinate efforts and restore people’s trust.

A good alert system is not just a good idea – it’s essential. No one wants a crisis to arise, but it is better to be safe and have a comprehensive plan in place that you wind up not needing, than to need one and not have one.

Guest Author

Debbie DeWitt is the marketing communications manager at Visix. Visix’s AxisTV enterprise digital signage software allows clients to create, manage and schedule organizational communications from anywhere and to deliver messages, media and alerts to virtually any endpoint. Visix also provides award-winning content design, meeting room signs, and applications for targeted messaging to desktops and personal devices for a complete digital signage solution.

 

 

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