Critical Communication

    The power of IP telephony goes well beyond reliable dial tone and cost savings. The intelligence built in to each phone offers application-based services that can ensure safety, streamline business processes and drive collaboration. All these services comprise what we refer to as “Critical Communication.”

    Critical Communication, in its simplest form, is ensuring the right message reaches the right audience on the right device or “Endpoint.” Endpoints may be the phone itself, mobile device, desktop, paging system, IP speakers, and more.

    Here are a few Critical Communication use case examples and trends. They cross a range of industry verticals – from public sector to private.

    Emergency Notification
    There are a number of safety related functions that can leverage the IP phones for faster response, better notification coverage and triggering emergency alerts. With the right solution, ShoreTel phones can automatically announce and display severe weather or other alert feeds on any number of phones (text or graphics depending on the phone model).

    Additionally, the phones may serve as alert triggers simply by pressing a number sequence or soft button. This in turn can send pre-recorded audio to some or all phones, paging systems, desktops – virtually any Endpoint configured to receive text or audio based notifications.

    We see a clear trend of organizations integrating many or all notification services with the phone system for better coverage, response time and centralized control.

    Process Improvement
    Schools, healthcare providers and retailers are just a few leveraging IP Telephony for a number of process improvements.

    K-12 schools are leveraging the phone system for classroom intercom, campus security and more. Operational functions such as role taking, bell schedules and announcements can all be integrated with the ShoreTel system allowing centralized management and reduced infrastructure costs.

    Retailers are beginning to leverage the phone to simplify services and improve customer experience. Integration with in-aisle help buttons to alert the associates via page or text message, push-to-talk for wireless communications and on-phone cashier assistance call buttons are becoming more prevalent.

    Hospitals and clinics have begun to couple IP phones with applications that can immediately generate notifications on multiple Endpoints. These features have proven invaluable during Triage situations for equipment placement, finding the right clinician and even non-urgent announcements for visiting hours or Code Pink notifications.

    Undoubtedly, notification is becoming increasingly important for companies of all sizes. Leveraging your telephony system as a powerful component in your notification strategy will streamline business processes, make critical information immediately available and reduce TCO through consolidation of services.


    Steve Horton is CEO of Syn-Apps, which brings advanced notification and mass communication services to organizations around the globe. The Syn-Apps SA-Announce product extends ShoreTel services by delivering scheduled and real-time notifications to ShoreTel phones, IP speakers, analog paging systems and more in a turn-key solution.

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