Crown Commercial Service
Benefits beyond cost with new approaches to alert paging
As many organisations begin to upgrade their paging infrastructure, this blog explores how embracing new technologies can lead to increased efficiencies.
Alert paging has been a robust method of contacting people for many decades. Features and functionality may seem basic compared with today’s technology but it remains cost-effective, non-intrusive and simple to manage.
However, the national alert paging infrastructure that underpins the service, and the number of suppliers offering paging solutions, has dramatically reduced over the last decade. This leaves users at risk of increased costs and disruption to long-term service continuity.
For this reason, many organisations are now considering new approaches to alert paging that can improve the effectiveness of contact management while boosting staff productivity.
The replacement journey
The first step for any organisation considering a change from alert paging to a more future-proofed solution is to conduct a thorough audit of their current communication platforms and channels.
Do you use email and intranet? Mobile and messaging? Fixed voice or work-based applications? Additionally, ways of working, locations, how individuals interact with existing applications and communication devices, and policies around tools and devices, will all need to be assessed.
Conducting an audit will give an organisation a clear understanding of the types of solution that must be considered and allow for a set of requirements to be established. Once this is done, consideration can then be given to the types of contact management solutions currently available.
Potential solutions include:
- like-for-like replacement: careful consideration should be given to adopting a like-for-like replacement. The UK national paging infrastructure is operated by a single supplier and has inherent risks to costs and service availability
- like-for-like using on-site paging: moving from a national paging provider to a locally implemented solution offers a simple migration path for users and operators. However, it is vital to assess the estate for how radio access points would be installed and the existing WiFi network to ensure it can provide additional coverage and contact assurance
- two-way paging: two-way pagers offer an affirmative response to being alerted, reducing time wasted in waiting for responses, or creating duplicate alerts to alternative users
- enhanced multimedia paging devices: these devices deliver more content rich information such as video, images, text, and numbers. Due to the nature of these messages, encryption and security should be priority concerns when selecting this type of solution.
- mobile phone messaging/bulk text messaging: relying on standard mobile messaging is a valid alternative and with many users already having mobile phones, may offer a reduced cost. These solutions have been enabled by the pervasive availability of WiFi, 3G/4G and offer a simple direct replacement for legacy paging alerts. However, battery life, mobile connectivity and coverage, management of alerts (delivery and read receipts), and ensuring users carry their phones at all times need to be assessed.
- secure mobile phone messaging applications: this solution builds on the mobile phone messaging capability by adding additional alerting applications to securely manage delivery and alerts. This has proven to be very successful in many public sector organisations.
Replacing paging technology – benefits beyond cost
Getting to the right people, with the right information, in a timely manner can save significant time and make employees more efficient. As the public sector begins to recover from the impact of COVID-19, ensuring every employee spends every minute as effectively as possible has never been more important.
To drive further benefits, organisations must evaluate how their new contact solution is integrated into existing communication networks and solutions. Blindly integrating mobile, fixed voice, messaging applications, email, and paging into a single contact solution may seem ideal, but does not guarantee realisation of benefits.
Furthermore, ensuring a replacement system complies to open standards and interfaces will provide a future roadmap for integration and achieving additional benefits.
We’re here to help
If you want to learn more about how CCS can help your organisation implement a future-proofed contact solution:
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