3 ways unified communications improve emergency responsiveness

UC can greatly improve emergency responsiveness.

Unified communications can be extremely useful when it comes to improving productivity at a low cost to an organization. It's also useful in that the consolidated channels of communication can be secured through encryption and other safeguards.

But when these benefits are applied to government agencies, there's an added bonus of UC, and that's greater emergency responsiveness. Here are three examples of how UC solutions achieve this goal:  

1. More universal outreach to communities

The number of landline users has plummeted over the past 10 years according to research from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. This is due to a number of factors, not the least of which include the widespread adoption of smartphones among consumers, along with the implementation of VoIP among businesses. As a result, emergency communication between municipal governments and residents is no longer as easy sending out an automated call to everyone's home phone number.

"When outbound IVR isn't enough, UC picks up the slack with outbound email and SMS."

However, between social media, email, voice calls and texting, municipal governments still have a vast array of options for getting in touch with residents. A robust UC solution buttressed by VoIP supplies these organizations with a streamlined system through which residential, omnichannel contact information can be stored for use in emergencies. In an age when outbound IVR isn't enough, UC picks up the slack with outbound email and SMS.  

2. E911 capabilities

For larger government offices, hospitals and public schools, the switch to VoIP has been predominantly beneficial thanks to its mobility and scalability. What many UC users might not know, however, is that in conjunction with E911 capabilities, VoIP can save lives.

In the event of an emergency in a large office complex or school, first responders can pinpoint the exact location of where a call was made from, and can get updates about the incident as they head to the scene. Likewise, predetermined staff will receive alert notifications via SMS, email or screen popup.  

E911 makes emergency alerts almost as easy as touching a big red button. E911 makes emergency alerts almost as easy as touching a big red button.

3. Contact at the touch of a button

The most obvious way in which UC enhances emergency responsiveness is that it allows information to be easily shared on multiple channels with minimal interfacing. Calls can be made with the touch of a button, via any device that has the VoIP softphone installed – smartphone, laptop or tablet. Emails can be sent and received, as can instant messages. Call recordings can be activated and shared. Amazingly, this can all be done from a single user interface, from nearly any location.

With all of its implicit benefits it's not surprising that the mobile VoIP market will grow at a compound annual rate of 28 percent through 2020. Hopefully, government agencies will also see the sense in VoIP and other mobile UC features going forward.