A combination of software and hardware meant to deliver timely messages to a group of recipients, a notification system is one of the most vital systems a business can have. Simple notification systems typically only use one communication platform such as SMS messaging or email. However, systems that are more complex tend to utilize different platforms of communication to send out critical information, such as phone systems and even television broadcast systems. Complex systems are mostly used in situations wherein people need to be contacted immediately. In some systems, when one method of communication fails and the person needed to be reached is not contacted, communication automatically moves on to other individuals who can resolve the particular situation.
A notification system can be used for the purposes of sending a message to employees regarding scheduled maintenance of the network or even during cases of an emergency. While the complexity and purposes of notification systems may vary, the following are the common features all of them have:
Escalation has to do with how a critical an event or situation is, as well as how the criticality changes before the given event or situation is resolved. At times, even a small failure or an event considered as only mildly critical can lead to a chain of errors that would require haste and immediate attention. For example, situations wherein fire accidents are involved can severely escalate in a short period of time.
2. Real-time Interaction
When accidents and emergencies occur and human intervention is required in order to counter the said events, notification systems are efficient tools when it comes to providing a way to accept feedback. The said feedback is then utilized in order to make determinations and provisions as to what tasks the systems should perform. For example, when a fire breaks out in an office, a system sends off an urgent notification to the fire department regarding the incident. After the fire department receives the notification and the firefighters are on their way, the fire chief can then send another message to the system to inform those in the office that help is on its way.
3. Prioritizing or Pre-emption
Priority or Pre-emption has to do with which notifications are more important and urgent than others. This is especially relevant when notification systems receive more than one notification. When this occurs, urgent and important override existing notifications that are deemed to be of lower priority. For example, an earthquake alert would be deemed more urgent and more important than a notification regarding a change of menu in the cafeteria; therefore, the earthquake alert would override the change of menu notification even if the said alert was sent out first.
If a system is unable to reach the party that it intends to contact, this does not mean that the notification will be erased. Instead, the system will scan a predefined roster to check for another person to notify. For example, if a notification is intended to be sent to the director of a company, but he is unable to see the said notification because he is in a meeting, the said alert will be redirected to his or her assistant instead.
Notification systems also take into account the hours in which notifications are sent out to recipients. For example, if a recipient works from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm only, the system should not make any attempts to contact and send notification messages to the individual outside of those hours. Systems can also take into account weekends, holidays and vacation times.