Neil Marsh from Meadow Lake | Voyent Alert!

Neil Marsh from Meadow Lake

1. How do you find Voyent Alert! helps you?

We have been using Voyent Alert! for about 1 year and we find it helps us communicate quickly and effectively with our community. We use Voyent Alert! a lot for general notices, pandemic updates, localized notices for service interruptions, boil water advisories, safety notices as well as emergency alerts.

The other week we had a bear running through town and we were able to communicate this out to the public quickly with a safety notice.

 

2. How has this product made your job easier?

Voyent Alert! has helped us in a variety of ways, but the most significant would be getting the message out quicker than before to our community residents. As an effective means of communication, it adds one more way to reach our citizens. We still use radio, social media for general notices and door to door notices when required by law (water advisory), but Voyent Alert! helps cover as many bases as possible with its multi-channel delivery. And our residents seem to like it!

Community members are happy to know in advance that something is going to happen such as a street blockage or service interruption as this helps them plan accordingly and avoid traffic blockages. This also helps keep our public works team safer and happier, as people will stay away from the area that they are working on.

 

3. What are the unique elements of the Voyent Alert! service that help you?

The support from the Voyent Alert! team is outstanding. We have not a single issue that was not replied to within a short time, same day or within minutes. The support team is quick to fix things and very responsive to the needs to the client as well as recipient (user). The Voyent Alert! team is also incredibly open to feedback and works with you to make things better. I’ve worked with a lot of software companies in the past and I’m really pleased with Voyent Alert!’s all-encompassing support and training.

 

4. What do you find to be the most useful features about it?

The ability to send out both emergency alerts as well as day to day notifications is incredibly useful.

When we originally started our search, we were looking for a software service/system that would help us quickly notify staff to attend to the emergency operation centre for emergency management services, which Voyent Alert! has been very helpful in doing.

But now that we are using it, we found that we can use the service and its features a in a variety of different ways to engage our community with day to day notifications and information that contributes to their daily lives.

By including rich media such as pictures and links in the alert we can reunite our furry friends with their families by sending a notification to the community, with a photo of the impounded animal and contact information.

We also find the ability to request response a unique way to gauge information and receive direct feedback from the public.

We have also used the recipient response and Team Recall feature to help manage staffing and overtime as well as private groups for internal communications.

In addition, the mobile admin feature that allows a commander to send out an alert at the incident of the scene extremely helpful for getting information out quickly.

The fact that people do not require a smart phone to receive notifications is also a helpful feature. Being able to receive a notification by text or landline helps cover the whole population.

One of the most important features, is that we have complete control over what goes out, so it is completely relevant to our local residents, unlike SASK Alert which covers our whole province.

5. How have you been able to engage your community with it?

As we use it quite a bit for day to day communications, such as public notices, we have found that relevant and engaging content is helping to drive registration numbers. We are very cognizant in making sure the messages are relevant and confined to a local area by using the advanced geo-targeting technology. When the pandemic started, we were sending out daily updates, and this really helped drive registration amongst our community.

6. What are some ways that you have used it, that you have found to be effective?

One useful way we have been able to engage our community is by setting up automatic garbage and recycling collection reminders for our community members. People are finding it useful, as it rotates each week, so it helps them remember which week it is. It is also easy for us, as we can schedule this in advance for up to 2 years, so we do not have to think about it on a weekly basis either.

7. How are you using it for day to day use, and what do you find tends to help your community the most?

We mostly use it for Day to Day notices, and this includes general notices that need to go out in a timely manner that are short and to the point.

For example:

  • public works
  • facility closures
  • new town services
  • dangerous animals
  • garbage and recycling reminders

We do also use it for Emergency Alerts, but they do not tend to occur as often. We were originally searching for an emergency related service, but Voyent Alert’s unique ability to do day to day communications in addition has added more value to our community than we could have expected when first starting to look.

 

8. What are some ways that you have been able to drive community registration?

In addition to using, which helps encourage registration, we have also promoted it through regular advertising, newsletters, email signatures as well as setting up a “Where’s Waldo type trivia/exploration game” to help residents get the hang of how to use Voyent Alert!.

For this we set up posters around town and utilized the mobile app for responses to questions about the town, local history, and emergency management. This was a fun community engagement strategy that residents really enjoyed.

 

9. What do your citizens think of the program and what kind of feedback are you receiving?

Feedback from citizens has been positive as the app and service is easy to use and register!

One area where we have had to focus some additional education to the public on is the location following, as some people are concerned about privacy and being tracked. Once they understand that the application is not tracking you and your location is private to your device, the response is positive.

 

10. Have you had to use it for an emergency, if so, can you describe it and how it helped?

This past summer in July we had some massive rain fall whereby roads got washed out in our area. This included some main roads that people would use on their way to work.

Once we got a map of where all washed out roads were located, we were able to send out a geo-targeted emergency alert advising citizens to avoid the specific areas. We were able to revise the alert multiple times to keep people apprised of what was closed and what was not.

We did use targeted nested zones in this alert, which allowed for us to send different messaging to those that were close to incident locations and different messaging for those out of town to keep them apprised with general information.

 

11. Any final feedback about the Voyent Alert Service!?

Voyent Alert! has become our comprehensive community communications system. It is much more than an alerting app. Voyent Alert! offers way more value than most of the other systems out there and for less money.

Some of the new features in the works are quite exciting!

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