In this interview, CommonTime CEO Ian Knight discusses the emerging market of critical enterprise communications. We ask what exactly makes a critical communication system and identify the global variables which are driving the market. Additionally, Ian provides advice to organisations on how to implement such systems - and what to avoid.
Over the course of three minutes, Ian explains his vision of critical enterprise communications, highlighting important trends that are becoming vital to business success. From improving operational processes to the impact of resilience and business continuity - this interview shows why the intelligent communications market is here to stay.
Read the full transcript from Ian's three minute interview below.
What is a Critical Communications System?
Critical communication systems can take all sorts of forms. For example, one of our customers - Carillion, uses them for health and safety communications. This involves sending notifications out to sites if there are actions they need to take very quickly in regards to breaches of health and safety. Those could be text notifications, video notifications or even audio messages if it is required in different languages.
But these critical enterprise communications can be anything from a health and safety breach to customer issues that need dealing with quickly. The constant theme is that they must be acted upon immediately - meaning you need to get information to the people that are dealing with it. With an enterprise grade system like we are talking about, you can do that via text message, video, audio, or even an instant push notification which appears on a phone whether it is being used or not.
These messages are sent very quickly, very effectively and with a full audit trail. So they tend to be key to allowing that company to run its business or organisation. Health trusts, for example, need to be able to respond to incidents such as cardiac arrents instantly.
Why Are Communication Systems So Important?
If a company doesn't have a critical communications system in place, they would lack official audit trails. So, for example, some organisations use pager systems - but with pager systems there are no audit trails, meaning you don't always know where that information has gone, or if it has been received by the intended recipient.
|"Critical communication systems are a secure, auditable alternative to traditional pager systems. "|
But in a holistic communication system like we're talking about, there's a full audit trail, reporting opportunities, notifications, delivery information and more. You know your message has been received and you can monitor any response, feedback or actions taken in a core business system.
So we're talking about taking the traditional messaging systems a stage further into the next generation of critical communications.
What Does the Future Hold?
In the same way that teenagers have moved on to messaging platforms - business is moving in the same direction also. At one time, we used to send emails and text messages. Now we're sending videos, audio messages, push notifications etc. Businesses are moving towards these media as requirements to act faster & faster increase. It allows us to respond to business needs, customer needs and system down times.
Industry needs to move much faster. And these critical communication systems allow businesses to respond in an instant.
If you're looking to implement a critical communication system, there are some key things you need to look for. For a start - flexibility; you'll most likely need to tie into an existing system. You don't want communication applications to stand on their own. They need to be integrated. So you need to have a range of APIs and integration capabilities so that the system can read, edit and write data in back office solutions.
|"Flexibility is key to critical communications and an open API architecture is central to that."|
Also, any application has to work on a range of platforms to cope with the rise of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) models of working. Individuals now use a range of devices such as tablets, desktops and smartphones as well.
Any system has to be able to tie the different processes and operating systems together. Every company works differently, and every customer is different too. So you may want to tie into customer systems, or development and other processes. My key takeaway is the system needs to be flexible enough to tie together these different processes.
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