Advances in modern technology continue to improve how we interact with each other and the world around us. We continue to see the development of better ways to complete both individual and organizational tasks faster and more efficiently with new or upgraded technologies. As old concepts take new shape, archaic systems and products are replaced with more advanced versions. And, many new technologies that were originally designed for one application are beginning to cross over into new areas. Following suit, security technologies offer several new options and capabilities that go beyond the typical uses in traditional applications.
In its April article, “The Evolving Role of MNS,” Security Dealer & Integrator Magazine talks about new regulations that allow mass notification systems do much more in a campus environment.
Bringing together two technologies to complete a robust, full-service solution that offers more than just security for the end-user is not only possible, but also becoming increasingly desired. Integrators who embrace the chance to extend security technology into new applications will position themselves as cutting-edge solutions providers.
The Changing Role of MNS
A mass notification system’s (MNS) primary objective is to disseminate one-way communication to individuals or groups of individuals in the event of an emergency. They provide the fastest way to deliver a message to the masses when a crisis situation arises; however, with advancements in software technology and successful systems integration, mass notification systems have taken on a much broader scope of functionality.
In addition to having the ability to send an intelligible audio broadcast to an enabled security communication device, new mass notification technology is making it possible for organizations to establish two-way communication to improve both internal and external operational processes. Additionally, recent changes made to NFPA 72 2010 make it allowable for emergency communication systems to broadcast informational messages.
Three delivery models for a mass notification platform are available — including hosted software, on-premise or a hybrid of the two. While all three models make it easy to send thousands of notifications through text messages, email, landline phones, pagers, fax and BlackBerry Messenger, the future looks especially bright for the cloud-based version that is available as a software-as-a-service (SaaS). The hosted application is available off-site, where users can gain instant access to send alerts from a mobile or Web app through real-time connectivity to the Internet. The hosted platform requires no hardware or software installation.
The new mass notification technology is empowering corporations, educational institutions and government agencies with new ways to use their existing communication tools beyond typical security functions.
Colleges and universities embraced mass notification technology early on as a way to send emergency messages to students, staff and visitors on campus. Emergency communication systems aren’t just for emergencies anymore; in fact, many colleges and universities rely on mass notification to streamline day-to-day communications since the changes made to NFPA 72 2010.
The platforms are being used to alert faculty about a meeting; students if a class venue has changed, remind them of approaching or shifting deadlines, special events or a change in office hours. When storms hit, campuses use notification to inform students about canceled classes or building closures. Personal notification technology is also helping college officials reach students, staff and visitors through text messages, email and social networks.