Well, what a couple of days it’s been at the BCI World 2017 conference in London. This was a first for the CommonTime team, having not exhibited at the show before so we were somewhat unsure what to expect, and it’s safe to say this was a genuinely exciting experience for us!
It was great to see so many industry experts and thoughts leaders collaborating on how we can work together to overcome modern-day disaster recovery challenges, improve data resilience and better streamline the growing role of crisis communications.
Mobile is Here to Stay
With our development expertise predominantly focused on mobility solutions it was interesting to see how mobile technology is becoming widely adopted and a cultural norm in disaster recovery strategies. Rather than relying on traditional paper-based approaches to continuity planning many companies are integrating mobile with their existing digital infrastructures to rapidly distribute key data to fleet workers, while facilitating direct communications to all employees around the clock.
Mobility offers a secure messaging channel, allows the identification of at-risk staff through GPS monitoring, whilst providing the ability to join conference calls remotely over an encrypted line, and allows remote crisis management from any location – all of these factors and more are solidifying the role of mobile devices in business continuity, and judging by the tech on show this year at BCI World, this trend is going nowhere.
|"Mobile technology is becoming widely adopted and a cultural norm in disaster recovery strategies."|
Whilst walking the exhibition floor it was clear to see there is no shortage of ambition and innovation from suppliers across this field. Discussions regarding the introduction of artificial intelligence, IOT technology, drones, wearables and virtual reality were far more common than anticipated and appear to be a realistic aspiration within organisations digital strategies.
Perhaps the exhibitions focus on innovation was reinforced with the keynote discussion from Professor Kevin Warwick discussing the rising role of AI and cyborgs in modern society. Whilst his theory that human interactions should be communicated directly from brain-to-brain via implanted sensors into the nervous system sounds more like science-fiction than applicable technology, Professor Warwick is living proof that messaging can grow far beyond current used technologies.
Lessons Learnt Developing NHS Communication Systems
During our seminar, we talked about a topic a little closer to home! A recent experience at CommonTime was the development of public sector communication tools, with a focus on creating new systems to replace legacy NHS pager solutions.
The resilience and dependability required of hospital communications cannot be understated, in a healthcare setting every moment counts, especially for frontline care staff dealing with patients in critical conditions. Connectivity was therefore a cornerstone in our NHS product development and as the project evolved there were several other lessons we learnt that are applicable across all industries that which we shared at BCI World.
As earlier mentioned, the growing role of mobile applications is an emerging trend that is becoming prominent across public healthcare services as well as private enterprises. The ability to enable instant communication channels, or to support lone workers in the field using existing hardware by implementing a BYOD policy is creating cost-effective efficiencies that can be rapidly realised and adopted.
It is not always the technology that affects change management though, barriers to new innovations can often be psychological or cultural. Objections are commonly defensive by nature and new technology can be seen as too disruptive or risk averse to invest in, despite any resulting efficiencies. This was evident in our work with the NHS where it was found that 98% of hospitals still rely on pager devices to communicate during emergency situations despite their well-publicised short fallings.
Though, possibly the most important question that organisations do not ask enough is; Do our processes best meet workflow needs?
We can all be scared of change, myself I resent having to update my phones operating system. When wholesale changes are implemented it feels as though I have to learn how to use it all over again – however the changes always become familiar quickly and ultimately make my phone a better device. The same theory can be applied to operational processes, just because something has always been done in a certain way, it does not mean that the method used is the best way to complete the task.
Introducing Crisis Centre
As conference delegates will know, this conference was particularly exciting for us as it saw the launch of our new emergency communications system; Crisis Centre. Developed to combat modern continuity problems, Crisis Centre gives disaster recovery teams the capability to instantly alert and account for every employee during unexpected events and major emergencies.
Alerts are pushed to users instantly, with messages delivered to individuals, groups or to all staff depending on the situation. Pre-configured alert templates and response options can be customised locally during implementation to ensure the swift distribution of alerts during any live, emerging situation.
After a message is sent from the Crisis Centre dashboard, all users receive a persistent notification on their mobile through the Crisis Centre Apple or Android app detailing the issue. All replies are then collated live on an easy-to-read dashboard, enabling informed responses to be made during any unexpected, high-pressure scenario.
Feedback From Our Launch
It was great to showcase our early Crisis Centre prototype at BCI World, and the positive reception was fantastic to see at this crucial point in our product development. The ability to send persistent, over-riding mobile notifications was especially well-received with many industry leaders enthusiastic about the potential time savings and safety benefits an unmissable alert like this could generate.
With the live Crisis Centre dashboard collating responses from every recipient instantly, resources can be focused on those in need of assistance. This was again an area that industry leaders were excited about and with the feedback we received from our peers we look forward to making further enhancements.
If you couldn't make it to BCI World 2017 and want to know more about Crisis Centre then you can learn all about it here.