You may have heard the term ‘network effect’ before, but aren’t sure what it is or how it relates to emergency management. The network effect is defined as the “positive effect that an additional user of a good or service has on the value of that product to others. When a network effect is present, the value of a product or service increases according to the number of others using it.”
A good example to show this effect is the power of the telephone. If only one person has a telephone, it has no value as you can’t use it for its intended purpose without another phone to call. However, each additional phone adds the value of one more person you can use your phone to contact, until you have the ability to reach almost anyone in the world. Social media is another example. The more users on the system, the more people you can interact with through your posts.
In terms of emergency management, the network effect can be applied to the use of emergency notification systems by the organizations and businesses in your area. Specifically, the network effect and its corresponding benefits can be realized when organizations can share or access the notifications of related organizations because these notifications represent the most timely information available. A good example could be an explosion at a utility. A notification from the utility can trigger response from other organizations:
- Nearby hospitals may prepare for an influx of trauma patients
- Nearby airports may prepare for smoke/chemical clouds to impact flights
- Local government may want to begin allocating resources for response and begin plans for road closures
- Businesses may want to inform their employees of the situation, how it could impact things like their commute and what the affected areas are
The network effect can then continue to build on itself; as the local government sends out notifications with their response actions, hospitals, airports, businesses, and even other government agencies can then react based on that information. The network effect turns notifications into a source of situational intelligence that helps all organizations respond with fast and accurate information. To learn more about the network effect and the power of a unified emergency notification system, attend our upcoming webinar, The Network Effect: Your Secret Weapon in Improving Situational Intelligence and Emergency Response taking place on October 23rd at 2 pm ET. You can also check out the Everbridge website to learn more.