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Predictive Dialing Enlisted for Emergency Warning in Ohio

TMCnews Featured Article

February 16, 2010

Predictive Dialing Enlisted for Emergency Warning in Ohio

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Predictive dialing isn’t generally thought of as a critical life-saving tool, but it can be used to help minimize the loss of life during natural disasters.

A mass telephone dialing system “is being implemented in Platte and Boone counties to alert area residents of emergencies such as potential flooding,” according to the Columbus Telegraph.

The Emergency Notification System is “a geographically driven telephone alerting system that can be used to mass dial residents during developing emergency situations, according to information released by Columbus Police and local emergency response officials,” the newspaper reported.

In other words, when local officials know of a swelling creek or river that will flood, they could use the system to call people who live in affected areas. People who have land-line telephones will automatically be enrolled, those with cells phones or VoIP phones will have to register.

The system is “financed locally by E-911 surcharges on telephone subscribers,” and is “a joint effort of Platte and Boone counties.”

An example of such a system is predictive dialer manufacturer OPC Marketing’s SpitFire suite of systems, whose products are generally marketed as ways to help companies automatically place outbound calls and deliver answered calls directly to agents. OPC officials said the SpitFire dialers “can be hosted or sent to you, ready for plug and play.”

The system county officials uses allows two types of calling within the incident area.

“Calls can be made by a bank of local telephones that will place up to eight calls at a time, or the calls can be made through an out-of-state mass dialing service that can place several thousand calls at the same time,” the Telegraph explained.

Predictive dialing helps with other “disasters” as well. TMC’s (News - Alert) Kelly McGuire recently reported an interview with OPC President Michael Henochowicz, who said given the disaster of the recession, OPC saw many companies feeling the effects of the recession by letting many employees go.

“However, while some purchasing was diminished and employees were laid off, companies needed to turn to technology to compensate for the lower number of workers,” Henochowicz said. “Because our systems are set up where we don’t have to go in and install [and they’re] preconfigured, and the customer actually installs it themselves, they can be up and running within an hour.”

“There’s no out of pocket expense for them, companies were able to use less people to create a lot more,” he added.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Kelly McGuire

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