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What Is the "Network Effect" of Critical Communications?

In disasters, many organizations rely on critical communications to update their constituents. However, stakeholders might miss out on important information about an incident if organizations only send messages through a single contact path or to a specific group of people.

 

To improve their critical communications, organizations should recognize the value of aggregating data from multiple sources. Today, individuals get news from a wide variety of platforms, including social networks and weather feeds. With an effective emergency preparedness and response strategy, organizations of all sizes can interact and collaborate with respondents by sending updates through several mediums and ensuring that these constituents are informed throughout an incident’s life cycle.

 

Businesses, healthcare facilities, and schools are just some of the organizations that can benefit from networking in crises. A dependable emergency notification system enables organizations and recipients to streamline incident response, and taking advantage of the “network effect” of critical communications fosters connectivity and information sharing between both parties.

 

The network effect helps organizations overcome problems that might have otherwise limited their ability to reach their target audiences in challenging situations. Creating a systematic communication network helps organizations enhance their crisis response plans by connecting them to more people than ever before. In addition, this network effect can supplement an organization’s current emergency notification strategy and provides assets and information that were unavailable or not utilized in the past.

 

There are four applications of the network effect:

 

Organization to Organization – With organization to organization messages, subscribers can receive automatic notifications when incident updates impact them.

 

Organization to Resident – If organizations deliver emergency notifications about a local event, residents in impacted geographical locations can be immediately alerted.

 

Resident to Organization – Residents can report on-the-scene accounts of suspicious or notable activities, which then become visible to potentially affected organizations.

 

Resident to Resident – Enrolling to receive public, citizen-generated alerts, such as those from neighborhood watch groups, allows residents to keep in touch with one another in minor and life-threatening situations.

 

A communication network that features both internal and external groups can overcome myriad challenges. Organizations that utilize the network effect can improve their emergency notifications by providing additional assistance with regional crisis plans and response efforts.