Emergency Notification System Pricing – How to Compare 5: Media Delivery Methods

Getting to the bottom of emergency notification system pricing is not easy. Mistaking the total costs and feature benefits offered by different providers won’t just cost you more money, but prevent you from using your system effectively enough to prevent loss of life.

This is the fifth in a series of articles about some of the features that can significantly affect the total cost of an emergency messaging system, but which can also be difficult to understand.

One factor that you should consider is what the provider offers in terms of media options. While some of the better providers (such as Regroup) offer cell and landline telephone messages, emails, text messages (SMTP and SMPP or equivalents) and social networking (Twitter and Facebook) notifications as standard; others restrict the options that are available (or charge extra if you decide that an additional medium needs to be added).

Restricting yourself to only a few communication methods can seriously limit the benefits of an emergency notification system. Not only do you maximize the chances of a message reaching its intended target audience if you use every possible method, but under certain circumstances, particular media may be the only way of reaching  stakeholders reliably.

Another important consideration one must make is that how to effectively reach the younger generation in a timely manner. Social networking is now a major component of any Emergency Notification system, especially when it comes to schools. “It’s not just posters and signs now. You need to come and reach us: we are always on our phones, computers.” – Lisa Longchamps, University of Ottawa student.

You not only need to consider audience preferences, but also what might happen in a genuine emergency. If landlines are knocked out or the cell phone service overloaded, can you initiate and send messages via a different medium?

One other factor that you really should think long and hard about is the delivery method used for text messages. When it comes to Emergency Notification System providers, those offering SMPP or similar systems are likely to be more expensive than those offering just SMTP (since SMPP messages have to be paid for, while SMTP do not), however, for a number of reasons, settling for an SMTP-only system could cost you dearly in the long run. In particular, you should consider the following:

  • SMTP requires that you know each user’s carrier and maintain this information.
  • SMTP is sent via the carriers mail server, and therefore can be subject to delay, particularly in a mass messaging event, when the carrier may be concerned about spam. In practice, delays of 24 to 48 hours in delivery of SMTP messages have been recorded.
  • SMTP has much higher failure rates, up to 60%.
  • SMTP reports cannot be provided by carriers.
  • SMPP and similar systems offers full two-way communications, while SMTP can only provide an email address for responses.
  • Some international carriers do not assign e-mail addresses to every cell phone, and therefore SMTP messaging may not work for messages that have to be sent overseas.
  • SMTP addresses need to be updated every time the domain changes (whether because the user changes carrier, the carrier upgrades the system or the sender changes ISP).

A provider that offers unlimited SMPP or equivalent messaging (such as Regroup) may well appear a more expensive option, but if you want the messages to get through in every instance, going with a provider who only offers SMTP or charges extra for every SMPP message could well prove to be a false economy.

Over the next few weeks, we will continue to share new articles focused on some of the other features you should consider when pricing an emergency or mass notification system.  To read the first article in this series, go to Understanding Emergency Notification System Pricing. To read the second article in this series, go to Understanding Emergency Notification System Pricing 2: Limited vs Unlimited Messaging. To read the 3rd, go to Understanding Emergency Notification System Pricing 3: Limited vs Unlimited Contacts/Users and Admins. To read the 4th, go to Emergency Notification System Pricing – How to Compare 4: Integrations. To read the 6th, go to Emergency Notification System Pricing – How to Compare 6: Opt in/Opt Out and Website Integration.

To learn how Regroup’s Emergency Notification system’s flexibility, inclusive features and multi-media delivery methods can help you meet all your communications needs, talk to a Regroup Communications Consultant or register for a free online demonstration today at 775-476-8710.