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Vendor Spotlight 8-4-15


Signal Chat - An Innovative Approach
to Schedule Event Notifications

By Lisa Ciappetta,
Senior Director of Marketing and Technology,
Protection 1

Traditional protocol when an intrusion alarm signal is received at a Central Station is for a Central Station operator to call a pre-determined contact list. That process is escalated up the contact list until the operator reaches a live person and can disposition the alarm. This type of notification to the contact list is also often requested of end-user clients for Open and Close exception events. These are exception events, triggered by a late, early or out-of-schedule alarm system arm or dis-arm -- based upon a schedule provided by the end-user and maintained by the alarm system monitoring provider. Expected schedules are maintained and monitored so that exceptions to that schedule-such as a "late-to-close" signal-notify the central station. 

Schedule exceptions events could indicate that employees are running late getting a store ready to close, or indicate a more serious or life-threatening situation. However, the exception notification process can be time consuming and inefficient, triggering multiple phone calls for a single event and occasional false police dispatch due to non-response. In addition, a single large weather event can trigger thousands of fail-to-open or close events and tens of thousands of associated site contact list phone call attempts for a single customer location base. 

Protection 1 has developed Signal Chat, an innovative new way to allow for site contacts to be quickly notified of and easily disposition a schedule event without time consuming and costly associated phone call attempts. Signal Chat, introduced earlier this year, is a new notification service that allows site contacts to disposition schedule alarm events via text messaging and "chats" on their smart phones.

Signal Chat uses a communication method that smartphone users are proven to respond to - text messages - as the platform to alert site contacts about missed or unexpected schedule events. According to a recent survey from Pew Research Center, 97% of smartphone owners use text messaging, making it the most widely-used basic feature or app on the phone today, surpassing usage of voice calls. We believe that using text notifications will ultimately help increase response rates to schedule exception events while reducing costs and time associated with phone notifications and potential false police dispatch incidents.

A Signal Chat alert simultaneously and quickly gets the attention of store contacts and let them know that a schedule exception event needs to be resolved. The Signal Chat interface then allows site contacts to "chat" with each other about the event via a chat interface and resolve or disposition the event within the session application. Once they have entered their authorized PIN code, a site contact can choose to extend the open or close time or call Protection 1's monitoring center directly from the Signal Chat interface on their smart phone. All data from store associate chat sessions and any actions taken using the Signal Chat interface are saved to site activity history information and available for view or reporting by authorized customer associates via Protection 1's eSuite interface. In the event a signal is not resolved through the Signal Chat interface within a short time window, notification reverts to traditional phone calls to contact list to ensure notification is always achieved.

Large retailers and restaurant operations with multiple dispersed locations have critical operational and employee safety concerns tied to schedules and need to be notified of exceptions. Signal Chat can increase the efficiency and speed of these notifications, streamlining the resolution process while eliminating unnecessary costs. 




Vendor Spotlight 8-4-15
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