How IoT is leveraged to beef up emergency notification

How IoT is leveraged to beef up emergency notification

The Internet of Things (IoT) is gaining importance, as Gartner forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from 2015, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. When the IoT concept is applied to emergency notification systems, it performs wonders for end users who can receive emergency signals from various devices/sensors and then alert all relevant people of the event immediately.

One company that leverages the advantages of IoT is Singlewire Software, provider of InformaCast, an IP-based emergency notification solution that connects with a wide range of endpoint devices, including mobile phones, landlines, computer desktops, overhead paging systems (analog and IP), Cisco IP phones, digital signage, Twitter, and other instant messaging platforms.

“There are many systems and sensors out there that are good at recognizing that something has changed in the environment. Most of these systems are not very good at notification delivery, message confirmation, escalation, and reporting. That’s where we come in,” said Pat Scheckel, VP of Business Development at Singlewire, of the hybrid-cloud solution.

“Our cloud-based service sends SMS text messages and push notifications to mobile devices, places phone calls, and sends e-mails. The on-premises component, a virtual appliance software, sends to computer desktops, overhead paging systems, Cisco IP phones, and digital signage. The components function as one system to give the customer complete control over their notifications,” he said.

According to him, these features enable Singlewire to deliver the two most important elements in any emergency notification system: speed and reach. “We achieve speed by very fast sending methods, like hitting a panic button whether that’s on a phone or a dedicated panic button. Reach is important because you want to reach as close to 100 percent of your desired population,” Scheckel said.

“If you’re only sending SMS text messages or placing phone calls from a cloud service, you might reach 70 to 85 percent of your desired population. If you add in overhead speakers, digital signage, desk phones, and desktop clients, you’ll get very close to 100 percent of your desired population.”

The solution can be used at different settings, for example manufacturing plants. “We have a customer that makes ice cream. They have ammonia sensors on the plant floor. Whenever the ammonia concentration in the air gets too high, an alarm is sounded,” Scheckel said. “These used to be localized alarms, which work just fine for the people in the immediate area. But then you’d have a guy on a forklift driving from one end of the plant to the other and he wouldn’t hear the ammonia alarm and would drive right through the ammonia cloud. Now he has breathing problems and a worker’s comp claim. This customer connected the ammonia sensors to InformaCast and now they send out a plant wide evacuation notice whenever the sensor is triggered.”

Besides industrial, the solution can be applied to other vertical markets. “These days, nearly everyone realizes that all industries need emergency notification. We do very well in education, health care, manufacturing and government,” he said. “Emergency notification systems are more critical than ever. The world is a dangerous place and emergency notification is key to mitigating the damage that can be done by natural or manmade disasters.”

Product Adopted:
Public Address / Party Paging System

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