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Sydney Hirshberger

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Protect Your Organization in the Event of a WAN Outage

Posted by Sydney Hirshberger on Wed, Nov 16, 2016 @ 09:30 AM

Paging_Relay_Banner_3.png*This is the final of our four-part series highlighting the various features of Syn-Apps' patented Paging Relay. Last week showcased the Paging Relay's musical capabilities.

For organizations with remote locations, reliable connectivity between sites is often a critical requirement. It's important for these organizations to have contingency communication plans in the event of network disruptions. With the Remote Site Failover functionality, Syn-Apps' Paging Relay provides true fault-tolerance protection in the event of a WAN outage.

How Fault-Tolerance Works with Paging Relay: 
Paging-Relay-Fault-Tolerance-Protection

During normal operations, all notifications are answered by SA-Announce at the primary location (Location 1). If a remote site experiences a wide area network outage and the SA-Announce server is not accessible, notifications are automatically routed to the Paging Relay locally via a backup call control (Location 2).

In active failover mode, users at the remote site can pick up a phone, dial the same pre-configured extension to reach the Paging Relay, and broadcast a live page to supported IP phones, analog and IP speakers.

 

Let's recap!

The Paging Relay is an innovative, all-in-one device that is easy to install, provides enhanced services at a fraction of the cost, and requires virtually no configuration. Key features include:

  • Unicast to multicast conversion - Converting a single unicast stream into multicast decreases network bandwidth and provides clear, intelligible audio - which is important for communicating to personnel.
  • Two type of contact closure connections - Smart detection and automated alerts can help improve situational awareness and keep personnel safe.
  • Various musical capabilities - Streaming live background music or playing music on hold creates an ambient environment for customers waiting for assistance.
  • True fault-tolerance protection - The Remote Site Failover functionality keeps remote locations connected and provides live communication, during a network disruption across the WAN.

Paging Relay - Learn More 

Tags: Syn-Apps Paging Relay, Fault Tolerance, WAN, Remote Site Failover

Create Ambient Environments with Clear, Crisp Audio

Posted by Sydney Hirshberger on Wed, Nov 09, 2016 @ 09:30 AM

Paging_Relay_Banner_3.png*This is the third of a four-part series highlighting the various features of Syn-Apps' patented Paging Relay. Last week showcased the Paging Relay's contact closure connections. 

Waiting patiently can be difficult, especially for long periods of time. If customers have to wait for assistance, they might get impatient, hang up the phone or leave, becoming a missed opportunity. Creating ambient environments by playing music while customers wait in a lobby or wait on hold in a call queue can help keep people engaged.

Syn-Apps' Paging Relay accepts live audio from any external device and can stream background music to IP and analog speakers. It can also be used to play music on hold for callers waiting on the phone.

Paging Relay Music Capabilities

Background Music   Music on Hold

The Paging Relay digitizes a signal and transmits it as a multicast stream, providing crisp, clear audio. This is especially useful in common areas such as lobbies, hallways, waiting rooms, retail floors, and more.

     

The Paging Relay also has the ability to play music when callers are placed on hold or put into a waiting queue. This helps create a pleasant call waiting experience.

Ask yourself this: How could your organization benefit from background music or music on hold?

Paging Relay - Learn More

Tags: Syn-Apps Paging Relay, Background Music, Music on Hold, Audio

Extending Your Notification System with Contact Closures

Posted by Sydney Hirshberger on Wed, Nov 02, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

Paging_Relay_Banner_3.png*This is the second of a four-part series highlighting the various features of Syn-Apps' patented Paging Relay. Last week's post showcased the Paging Relay's unicast to multicast conversion capabilities.

Smart detection and automated alerts can help improve situational awareness. Depending on the use case, contact closures can be configured to trigger endpoints (lock doors, activate sirens) or send an alert when an external switch is activated (emergency door opens, help button is pushed). Contact closures can keep personnel informed of whats going on in the building at all times.

Syn-Apps' Paging Relay offers two different types of contact closure connections: sensor contact closure and relay contact closure. Paging_Relay_Contact_Closure_Example-1.png

Sensor Contact Closure   Relay Contact Closure

When activated, the Paging Relay's Sensor Contact Closure feature can trigger the Paging Relay to play pre-recorded audio notifications. If integrated with SA-Announce, the feature can be used to send a notification when a device is activated.

  

When an alert is sent from SA-Announce, the Paging Relay's Relay Contact Closure feature can send a signal and activate any electrical device that reacts with a simple "on/off switch."

Examples:

  • A customer walks into a store and activates the motion detector (a sensor contact closure) set up on top of the door. This triggers the Paging Relay to broadcast a locally stored audio file to overhead speaker systems.
  • A customer is in need of assistance and pushes a "help" button, which is connected to the Paging Relay. The Paging Relay triggers an SA-Announce notification, alerting the department manager that a customer needs assistance.
 

Example:

There is an intruder in the school. The Principal activates an SA-Announce Emergency Alert notification, which triggers the Paging Relay to activate contact closure devices throughout the building to close and lock doors, turn off lights, or activate strobe lights and sirens.

Ask yourself this: How could your organization utilize contact closures to improve situational awareness and keep personnel informed of what's going on within your buildings at any given time?

Paging Relay - Learn More

Tags: Syn-Apps Paging Relay, Contact Closure

How Converting Unicast into Multicast Can Optimize Your Network

Posted by Sydney Hirshberger on Wed, Oct 26, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

Paging_Relay_Banner_3.png*This is the first of a four-part series highlighting the various features of Syn-Apps' patented Paging Relay.

Syn-Apps’ Paging Relay is a small, patented PoE network appliance that provides customers with a number of communication solutions. It enables connectivity to analog endpoints, contact closure devices, alarm panels and more. The device can also be used to configure remote site failover, broadcast background music, play music on hold, and alert staff of incoming calls after business hours with the night ringer functionality.

One key feature of the Paging Relay is its ability to significantly reduce bandwidth consumption by converting incoming unicast audio streams into multicast to destination sites across the WAN.

What is unicast?

Unicast is an industry-standard transmission method of sending data to a single network destination identified by a unique IP address.

Unicast Traffic Flow

Above: Each endpoint is sent the same set of data.

 

What is multicast?

Multicast sends one data stream to multiple endpoints and optimizes network performance by controlling network traffic and reducing the bandwidth load on network devices.

Multicast Traffic Flow

 Above: Data is sent to designated endpoints.

 

How can the Paging Relay help?

By converting a single unicast stream into multicast before delivering a notification, the Paging Relay decreases network bandwidth and provides clear, crisp audio announcements to designated endpoints — like IP phones, IP speakers, or traditional PA systems.

Unicast to Multicast with Paging Relay

Above: One unicast stream is sent from the server to the Paging Relay, which then converts the stream into multicast and sends individual streams to each designated endpoint.

 

Ask yourself this: Could your organization benefit from taking additional measures to optimize your network - such as reducing bandwidth consumption or broadcasting intelligible audio notifications?

Paging Relay - Learn More

Tags: Syn-Apps Paging Relay, Unicast to Multicast, WAN, Bandwidth

New Product Release | Syn-Apps Park-N-Page

Posted by Sydney Hirshberger on Mon, Sep 12, 2016 @ 09:53 AM

 

Businesses often rely on technology like IVR systems to route incoming callers to the right department or employee extension. However, unless employees are nearby or available to answer the call, the phone will continue to ring until someone answers or the caller is transferred to voicemail.

For retail stores or businesses that experience high call volumes, it can be disruptful to both employees and visitors when phones are constantly ringing. So how can businesses mitigate interruptions from incoming calls while assisting customers, yet still achieve superior customer service when customers call into the store?

Syn-Apps offers a solution that helps businesses balance superior customer service and operational efficiencies for employees assisting customers within the store or calling into the facility.
    Park-n-Page_-_cropped.png

The solution takes call routing processes one step further by providing an additional notification layer with automated overhead paging. It helps reduce long waiting times for callers on-hold and is less likely to disturb employees assisting other customers.

Syn-Apps recently re-released its Park-N-Page device - an automated SIP paging attendant designed to streamline call routing by parking the call and broadcasting an overhead page to alert employees when callers are waiting on-hold.

"We recognized customers needed a more robust version of our former Park-N-Page software. Moving Park-N-Page into a hardware solution provides customers greater scalability, easier maintenance, and stronger integration capabilities than our former Park-N-Page software could support. All of this ultimately culminates in a more cohesive customer experience while driving efficiency and profitability." - Ian Pitts, President & CEO of Syn-Apps LLC

 How it works:

  • A customer calls a grocery store and needs to speak with someone in the bakery department. When the call is received, it is initially routed to the business' IVR system where the caller is prompted with a list of directory options to choose from.

  • Once the caller selects the bakery department, they're be routed to the Park-N-Page bakery extension and placed on hold.

  • Park-N-Page calls the bakery's extension, which rings for a predetermined number of times.

  • If no one in the bakery answers the call, Park-N-Page will broadcast a notification to overhead speakers, alerting employees caller(s) are waiting on-hold:
    • Option A: Bakery employees can respond to the page and connect directly to the caller waiting on-hold by dialing an pre-defined extension from any phone on the network.

    • Option B: If no one in the bakery department responds after a specified number of overhead pages, then Park-N-Page will transfer the caller to voice mail.

Park-N-Page Illustration

 


Benefits of call routing and automated notifications with Park-N-Page:

Automating call routing not only increases awareness and productivity across departments by broadcasting announcements across overhead systems, but it also removes the need for someone to physically manage incoming calls. This reduces average call handling time (AHT) and ultimately improves customer service.

Park-N-Page has proven to be most effective in environments such as retail, automotive dealerships, manufacturing, hospitality, and transportation.

Visit www.syn-apps.com/products/park-n-page to learn more.

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Tags: Park-N-Page

Tech Tips for Schools | Evaluating Mass Notification Providers

Posted by Sydney Hirshberger on Tue, Aug 09, 2016 @ 06:43 PM

 School Notifications

To prepare for the upcoming academic year, schools should review their mass notification systems and communication procedures to ensure they're equipped to communicate to students, faculty, or first responders during emergency and non-emergency situations. 

Mass notification systems (MNS) help reduce communication barriers and help schools quickly manage situations. MNS serve as the "communication engine" that unites disparate technology into a single platform used to rapidly relay information to anyone affected by a situation, which is imperative during emergency situations and a critical component to school safety initiatives. 

It's important to find a trusted MNS provider that adapts with your evolving needs, offers a simple and reliable notification experience for users, is compatible with multiple systems and services, supports multimodal communication, and alerts the right people within a timely manner.

Here are a few tips to consider when evaluating notification systems:
  • Understand Your Technology & Notification Needs - Reviewing and testing existing systems and processes helps crystallize notification needs and identify potential communication gaps.

    For example, activating a district-wide notification may be challenging if buildings are equipped with different systems. Notification software can help schools overcome this communication gap by connecting disparate sytems together.


    • Unite IP and Analog Systems - Advanced notification systems should be scalable to unite existing analog technology, like speakers and intercoms, into the IP network to streamline notification management and extend the life of legacy systems.

    • Broadcast Quality Audio to Ensure Alerts Are HeardIntelligible audio is critical when communicating information to speakers in noisy areas, like classrooms, gymnasiums, or hallways. 

  • Know Your Audience -  Whether broadcasting daily announcements, paging faculty, or initiating a district lockdown, schools need a system that supports dynamic notifications for various situations. 

    I
    t's also important to understand which communication mediums are most effective to reach your intended audience. For example - Activating a panic button to alert safety officers during a classroom emergency may require a more discrete communication process than broadcasting daily announcements across classroom speakers.


    Robust notification systems should be scalable to simultaneously alert devices such as:

    • On-premise communication - IP phones and speakers, intercoms, analog devices, bells/beacons/strobes, desktop computers, panic buttons, and digital signage

    • Off-premise communication - Mobile phones, SMS messages, IM clients, email, text-to-speech services, or social networks
  • Automated Alerts Save Time and Resources - Automation increases safety and situational awareness by eliminating the need for a person to manually activate alerts. Automated alerts are especially beneficial during emergencies when every second can make a difference. Examples of automated notifications include:

    • Scheduled Notifications - For routine communication, like daily announcements or school bells
    • Automated Weather Alerts - Connect NOAA / NWS to receive automatic alerts for severe watches and warnings in your area
    • CAP Alerts - Subscribe to County, State, or National CAP feeds for critical information
    • One-Touch Activation - Connect panic buttons to automatically initiate emergency procedures for situations like lockdowns or building evacuations
    • Email Monitoring - Alert personnel when incoming emails match specific filters, like email address or keywords
Notification providers like Syn-Apps have been helping schools manage emergency and non-emergency communication since 2001. Visit www.syn-apps.com/solutions/education to learn more.
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Tags: SA-Announce, Mass Notification, Unicast to Multicast, Lockdown, Automated Alerts, School Safety, CAP, Emergency