You’re reading this on a screen. We read lots of stuff on screens: Documents, emails, texts, tweets, the like. All things considered, we like screens! Ever get annoyed when a relative calls with a dumb question instead of just texting it instead? The world has become very accustomed to reading and quickly processing information.
That’s why it may come as a surprise that the best emergency notification systems don’t put all their stock in screens. Yes, we spend all day looking at our phones and computers -- but that doesn’t mean they’re the best vehicles to inform us when something serious is happening.
No doubt about it: Seeing a bright-red alert appear across laptops and phones can make it obvious that something is wrong. But if we want that message to get through loud and clear, well, we’ve got to put some more emphasis on loud.
The team at Singlewire Software developed programs that deploy emergency notifications via phone, desktop, and laptop. But in addition to those visual cues, those items and other speakers throughout the facility produce critical audio messages.
Singlewire’s EVP of product management and marketing refers to the functionality as “intrusive audio” -- they force people to snap out of their work routines and realize something’s happening.
“What we do that’s different is not only do we send to the mobile phone, which everybody does, but we send to these on-premises devices -- and we do not not just with text, but with audio, which is very intrusive and grabs your attention,” he says.
That idea takes shape in a number of different ways. One method is through landline phones that sit on desks. With Singlewire’s programming, each individual phone can turn into a broadcasting device through the speaker. It will do that automatically; nobody has to put the phone to their ear to hear the information.
Another method is to “go to existing overhead speakers and add new intelligence to that device,” he said, modernizing the technology so it works in more effective ways.
In addition to audio cues, installing lighting and digital signage can make a massive difference during all types of situations. Lights can, for example, illuminate to show exit pathways or change color to indicate the status of a developing issue.
And digital signage is crucial for people moving quickly through a facility: They’re not going to be able to check their phones or computers while making rapid exits, so helpful signage on walls makes all the difference.
Hear this: Texts alone are not going to effectively alert people that something serious is amiss. We all look at screens all day long. When you truly need to get the attention of every single person near and far, a few words on a little iPhone aren’t going to cut it. Hope you’ve heard this loud and clear.