Why Your Emergency Text Alert System Using Shared Short Codes Can Cause Unforeseen Problems

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Emergency Text Alert Systems Using Short Codes

Many organizations rely on mass SMS text messaging to send emergency messages to all of their people during a crisis. However, not every vendor handles how these messages are sent in the same way. Some emergency text alert system vendors rely on shared short codes while others leverage toll-free numbers to reach the intended audience. Recent changes made by cellular carriers have impacted how certain mass SMS text messages that use short codes can be sent. These changes can have a significant impact on the cost to your organization as well as the efficacy of your emergency notifications if your vendor is still using this method for sending mass SMS text messages. In this blog post, we’ll go over the changes to short codes and alternative options organizations can explore.

Short Code Changes

In 2022, cellular carriers eliminated the option for vendors to use shared short codes. Instead, vendors need to buy a dedicated short code if they still wanted to use short codes. The issue is that this can be very expensive, and that cost can be passed on from the vendor to the end user. Carriers have made an exception for short codes that are used for emergency messages. However, the body of those messages needs to include language that makes it clear the communication is regarding an emergency. This puts the onus on the end user to know whether or not their message qualifies, and if it is rejected, it can run the risk of leaving people uninformed about situations that impact their safety. Organizations relying on vendors that use short codes also run into issues with messages coming from different numbers. Because the short codes are shared, recipients can’t anticipate emergency messages coming from the same number each time. This could result in critical messages being ignored since people do not recognize who is sending them.

Using Toll-Free Numbers

Singlewire Software customers using InformaCast as an emergency text alert system are unaffected by these changes because we use toll-free numbers with a message throughput that is just as high as using a short code. InformaCast customers are given a dedicated and verified toll-free number to use for their SMS messages. This means there is little to no filtering and customers do not need to worry about messages containing the correct keywords in order to be sent. Messages are always sent from the same number so recipients can be informed ahead of time what number will be sending the message so they know it’s coming from a trusted source.

A Trusted, Reliable Emergency Text Alert Systems Partner

Singlewire Software is dedicated to providing reliable solutions to meet our customers’ critical communication needs. That’s why our platform goes beyond mass SMS text messaging to offer unparalleled on-site text and audio notifications delivered to desktop computers, desk phones, digital signage, overhead paging, and IP speakers. This multi-faceted approach ensures clear consistent messaging is delivered to everyone throughout your organization to reduce the chance that someone misses critical information when it matters most.