SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Tom Brannen
Tom Brannen is the President of Wassaw Consulting LLC, an independent consulting firm based in Atlanta. With 20 years of...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Tom Brannen | August 10, 2016 |

 
   

Mass Notification: Lessons Learned, Lessons Forgotten

Mass Notification: Lessons Learned, Lessons Forgotten There needs to be a renewed sense of importance attached to improving emergency notification systems in your organization.

There needs to be a renewed sense of importance attached to improving emergency notification systems in your organization.

portable

When I first started blogging, nearly 10 years ago, the subject on a lot of folks' minds was Mass Notifications Systems. If 911 was a wakeup call for the industry, the massacre at Virginia Tech in 2007 was a bucket of cold water after pressing the snooze button over and over again.

Following VA Tech and subsequent disasters and shootings, everyone was interested in mass/emergency notification systems. Providers were popping up left and right. Across the country plans were discussed and directives were issued from concerned boards and executives. I was an early believer and worked to help the industry move forward to address this pressing need. Speaking engagements, webinars, and even an interview on the local news radio station in Atlanta poured in as this was one of hot areas of the mid-to-late 2000s.

And then, as time pushed us further away from the sad realities of 911 and VA Tech, these projects would move further down the priority list. But they would bounce right back up as soon as another disaster hit, acting as a fresh reminder of why mass communication is so important.

This trend, while depressing, is maybe better than where we are now. It seems like the projects aren't bouncing back anymore, even as we face an increasing threat of mass terror in our own country. And if you believe the scientific community on global warming and climate change, things are only going to get worse in facing natural disasters.

We like to think as a society that we won't forget and that we will learn from our mistakes. The reality is the passage of time creates enough distance that the pressing matters of today seem to overshadow the concerns of yesterday.

At times, I myself have fallen into that trap. While I have continued to work in the mass communications space, I had to go back pretty far to find the last time I spoke or wrote about the subject. It is almost like the mass notification "fad" has come and gone. But why aren't we taking the subject seriously anymore? I know some of you still do, but many organizations continue to keep it at the bottom of the project pile.

This may sound depressingly trite, but it isn't a matter of "will there be another incident," but rather, when and where will the next attack occur. The San Bernardino terror attack serves as an unpleasant reminder that mass shootings aren't limited to high schools and colleges. That attack, like 911, occurred at a place of business.

Automation Comes into Play

As I continued to work in the mass communications technology space, I realized one of the most overlooked opportunities to leverage these tools was in automating communications interactions that are often bogging down critical business processes. In industry after industry I am still finding manual communications processes that continue to be the slowest and weakest link in carrying out day-to-day business of an organization. When you take these tools from a standalone service and integrated them into your business processes, you can make huge and measureable productivity gains -- and, by the way, will be prepared for an emergency situation as well.

Some disasters, such as hurricanes and blizzards, are predictable to a certain extent. Others appear at the blink of an eye without any warning. A spectacular cool and clear morning in Manhattan on a Tuesday in September. Another amazing spring day to be a college student in Blacksburg, VA. We learned after both of these events that we weren't prepared to deal with them and most folks don't blame the brave responders that dealt with the aftermath. But the expectation we all have as a society is that we work hard to improve on things so that next time we are better prepared.

The very least we can do is have a communications plan along with the supporting technology in place to provide what could be life or death information to our employees, customers, and other associated personnel.

And then hope and pray we never have to use it.

"SCTC Perspectives" is written by members of the Society of Communications Technology Consultants, an international organization of independent information and communications technology professionals serving clients in all business sectors and government worldwide.





COMMENTS




April 25, 2018

Yesterdays simple phone call to a contact center or business location is rapidly becoming todays interactive session, spanning multiple channels and devices. If you need to know how Omnichannel can

March 7, 2018

Video collaboration is experiencing significant change and innovation-how can your enterprise take advantage? In this webinar, leading industry analyst Ira Weinstein will present detailed analysis

February 21, 2018

Business agility has become the strongest driver for enterprises to begin migrating their communications to the cloud-and its a benefit that enterprises are already realizing. To gain this benefit

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.