The UCaaS leader is bringing emergency notification platform to the cloud
Good news travels fast, and bad news travels faster. Or at least it should.
In an emergency situation, every second counts in giving first responders and those at risk the alerting that they need to save lives.
For years, companies like Singlewire have provided their customers — who range from ￼￼campuses to offices to the federal government and beyond — with emergency mass notification systems aimed at getting the relevant warnings and information out as fast and widely as possible.
Speaking with Singlewire’s UCaaS Channel Development Manager Brice Drogosch, he tells UC Today that, “Our customers need a system that can reach everybody in as many ways as possible in under a second, and in a way that they cannot ignore.”
“What we found is that just sending an SMS or an email is just not attention grabbing enough,” he says, explaining that, “What we need is an old-fashioned fire alarm that uses everything from lights to sound.”
￼￼If there is a weather or manmade event putting their people at risk, then organizations need a reliable way to trigger and send alerts out while assisting security teams in providing the fast and effective response that can make the difference in saving lives.
For years, Singlewire relied on Cisco’s phone system for much of their operations, though with some additional patched in services for features like paging. But now, like in every other industry, Drogosch’s clients are making their transition to the cloud — and that means gaining more features and flexibility.
￼￼“Our customers are moving more of their voice service to the cloud,” he says, noting that while the cloud has clear advantages, many solutions lack the key features like paging, hooking into a PA system, or other critical systems that clients need and do not want to replace.
“We have over 10,000 customers today,” says Drogosch, “85% of them are going to move to the cloud, and they’re not just picking Cisco [as their UCaaS provider]. So we need to make sure that we can support them on whatever service they are using.”
To help Singlewire meet their customers where they are, which for many of them means on Microsoft Teams, Drogosch has expanded his company’s partnership with leading UCaaS solutions provider CallTower. In mid-December, the two companies announced that CallTower would now be offering Singlewire’s InformaCast emergency notification system to customers using both Cisco and Microsoft. It is available now through the CallTower Connect customer portal.
As described above, this notification system helps get the word out quickly when something dangerous is afoot.
Worst case scenarios can be for an active shooter or weather emergency where panic buttons, either physical or activated on someone’s phone, — and even IoT systems with sensors — are activated. More tame fare can even be for school bells and less catastrophic events.
Whatever the trigger, the system provides a “one-to-many” communication, sending out the alerts that are sure to be noticed, fast. But in contrast to the more legacy systems, this newer system allows for security teams to define more actions.
Examples include sending alerts out through landlines, mobile, SMS, tween, on-prem systems like PA systems and signage, and even collaboration systems like Teams.
A person on the scene can use their mobile device as a panic button, alerting first responders both locally and through 911, and getting the ball in motion for reacting to the incident. Being able to mark yourself as safe via your cell phone is very important as well because it can be fed into the incident response system and viewed more efficiently by security managers.
Using their centralized incident response management platform, security personnel can launch a Microsoft Teams room that comes preloaded with all of their security plans ready to go.
(Credit: CallTower)“Interoperability is a key advantage of working with CallTower,” Drogosch tells UC Today, citing CallTower’s position as a provider of solutions over products as one of Singlewire’s drivers in choosing to collaborate with the UCaaS leader.
“My customers want to incorporate more and more apps,” says Drogosch. “With CallTower powering my UCaaS, I can bring a CRM, call center, contact center, and even an emergency broadcast solution. ￼￼CallTower allows me to offer my customers a total platform that gives them everything that they had in their on-prem arrangement. But now it is optimized for their more flexible cloud working environment.”
As a facilitator of digital transformation, CallTower builds on its long history of providing customers with the right mix of technologies and support to facilitate this move to the cloud for InformaCast, blending it into their diverse UCaaS offering.
“We saw a need for InformaCast’s capabilities in our marketplace,” says CallTower’s Chief Revenue Officer William Rubio, explaining how adding the security tool has helped in continuing to define CallTower as a leader in the product mix of UCaaS solutions.
“As a Microsoft Gold Partner and a long-time provider of Cisco solutions, CallTower has the scalability and the security in the enterprise architecture to really give our customers that that flexibility that they need,” says Rubio, emphasizing CallTower’s position as a provider of solutions over products from any one vendor, working with customers to find the right combination of solutions that fit their requirements.
Next Steps for InformaCast with CallTower — Preparing for Compliance
While the return to classes may seem questionable for the foreseeable future given the spike in infections, Drogosch sees this launch of InformaCast now as a crucial tool for schools and other organizations that will have to comply with federal safety protocol regulations.
Many of these rules such as Alyssa’s Law, as well as Kari’s Law and the Ray Baum Act, that were created to help improve emergency preparedness, had been deferred during the pandemic. But as the new year has rolled around, Drogosch expects that regulators will move to see that they are implemented.
“In launching our new partnership with CallTower, our hope is to make it easier for schools and everyone else that is impacted by these rules to comply with their requirements,” he tells UC Today.
Speed and visibility are two of the most important factors that can play a role in a security team’s ability to respond effectively to an emergency.
InformaCast brings together a powerful range of capabilities that gets the right messages out to those who need it, utilizing multiple channels for speed and impact. They then close the loop with critical reporting and control to aid in response and accounting.
By building on CallTower’s proven infrastructure and cloud transition know-how, InformaCast has the potential to be a valuable, life-saving tool. And in uncertain times, every second counts.