Emergency Notification - To App or Not to App
Mobile device apps are cool. Who doesn’t like being on the leading edge of a new app, showing it off to colleagues and friends; who are seeing it for the first time? Companies and organizations are quickly jumping on the bandwagon to develop apps as quickly as they can – so they can say to their customers “me too, me too.” So when is developing or using an app a bad idea?
Many Emergency Notification System (ENS) providers are cloud based. And of course, there are many great reasons why organizations choose cloud based or SaaS solutions.
One such reason is that cloud based solutions give you access to advanced technology without placing excessive strain on an organization’s budget or internal IT team.
The lure of the app for emergency notification purposes is both the cool factor, and the idea notifications sent to an app are not subject to the same per minute usage charges as phone messages. While it may seem there is no cost to send a mass notification to an app – there most definitely is. And it’s not a cost you have to pay your ENS vendor. It’s a cost you would incur internally; significant IT department strain.
If an app is chosen for ENS purposes the IT department (or Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery teams) must ensure:
- all stakeholders have the app installed on their mobile device – and the correct version for their device (Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or other)
- all stakeholders have the inevitable update installed
- if the ENS allows stakeholders to determine the default method for notification sending, the app has to be chosen but only for those stakeholders that have a “company owned” mobile device
- the organization has a separate strategy for stakeholders without a “company owned” mobile device
Now let’s imagine how difficult and time consuming this would be for organizations with hundreds of stakeholders; that’s a lot of potential liability. And what about organizations whose stakeholders are not employees who most likely own their own mobile device? What do you think the voluntary installation rate would be for these organizations?
Is there an alternative to sending emergency mass or incident notification via an app? Yes, email and the mobile browser. The mobile browser has come a very long way since its first commercial application on a phone in 1997. Mobile browsers are getting better and faster, and their adoption and usage is on the rise. Morgan Stanley’s analysts believe that the mobile web will be bigger than desktop Internet use by 2015.
With a current mobile device (smart phone) stakeholders can easily log onto their ENS to retrieve important instructions and detailed messages. When required organizations can prompt this activity by sending messages via email.
Yes, apps are cool. But as an ENS that’s probably all they are.