Business continuity notification specialist Vocal is advising customers to consider enabling live voice broadcasting as part of their emergency communications strategy, using landline infrastructure as well as the mobile networks. The recommendation is to add voice broadcasting alongside current communications methods of email, SMS, BlackBerry PIN, text to speech and radio pagers.
With mobile networks potentially becoming stressed by high traffic during the Olympics, voice broadcasts that can be received by landlines offer a robust addition to SMS and email messaging broadcasts. Vocal’s customer message delivery statistics show that organisations that use voice broadcasts have statistically higher message response rates compared to those that use SMS or email alone.
Official London promotional agency London & Partners estimates that there will be 5.5 million day visitors and 450,000 staying visitors in London alone during the period. “We’re expecting to see mobile networks heavily used during the Olympic Games, with many extra picture messages being sent and an uplift in mobile internet use,” explains Trevor Wheatley-Perry, Vocal’s Managing Director. “Adding live voice broadcast messaging to landlines is a logical measure to take, adding yet another layer of resilience.”
“Additionally, in a crisis, hearing a familiar voice can help create a sense of either calm or importance, depending on the message being delivered. Voice broadcasts to landlines allow organisations to reach recipients who may not have mobile phones, who are at home out of hours or have their mobile switched off, out of coverage, or people with impaired vision who cannot easily read text messages,” adds Wheatley-Perry.
Voice broadcast is an integral part of the communication strategy of many of Vocal corporate customers. The high availability and high performance telephony broadcast system which runs within the iModus infrastructure is complimented by a range of powerful and flexible IVR Call Manager solutions.
Vocal can also provide dedicated freephone crisis lines, so employees can register their safety at the same time, without interruption to the incident updates being sent out. The company found that the biggest problem for its customers during 7/7 was their inability to identify which members of staff were safe and which needed help. In response, it has developed the SafeCall solution, so organisations can focus contact on the minority of users unaccounted for rather than repeating messages to a staff base of potentially thousands. Inbound crisis lines, hosted away from businesses’ own telephony infrastructure, are another essential tool to provide accurate and up to the minute management information. Vocal also advocates the use of message boards to ensure the latest communication is always retrievable, if general communication devices are not available.
Wheatley-Perry’s message is clear: “It’s vital that organisations review their emergency and regular communication plans now, so they can decide on the appropriate level of extra provision – such as voice broadcasting – to maintain service and safeguard customers and staff during the Olympics. These plans need to cope with any event: this year, it’s a planned one, so it makes sense to check specifically against the likely challenges and eventualities that we can predict.”