Best Way to Get an Emergency Alert Delivered and Recognized

Best Way to Get an Emergency Alert Delivered and Recognized

People pay more attention to voice calls these days than email. A phone ringing gets the attention of the person that needs to be alerted in an emergency. The reason is that email and other forms of text messaging have swamped us to the point we do not pay attention to them, anymore. A phone ringing still makes people pay attention. They are loud and rare.

In the John Brandon article Why Millennials Don’t Like to Make Phone Calls, he states as one of the many reasons phone calls are rare is;

In a phone call, there’s a chance the person on the other end of the line might have an opinion.

An alert phone call is not a conversation. It is the delivery of critically important information. A phone call with a voice message is the perfect delivery method for time-sensitive critical information.

Critical Alerts from Applications

Implementing critical alerts delivered from business applications is a major effort. Sending a message from monitoring software or directly from an IoT device to a phone requires specialized hardware and software solutions to be installed in the client’s central data center. Connections to smart devices, CRM, PCS or ERP systems need to go through complex API’s or propriety software gateways

However, a cloud-based communications solution such as EmailToVoice.Net makes this all as easy as sending an email. The EmailToVoice.Net service does the hard stuff. It converts the text of the email message into a genuine-sounding voice (Text to Speech), then dials the phone, handles voice mail, and much more. All of this is done without the need to install hardware or use APIs. There are not even any monthly fees.

How EmailToVoice.Net Works

All you have to do is subscribe to the EmailToVoice.Net service and then make the TO field in the Email look something like 5551234567@tts.message-service.org

The recipient will receive a call on their phone. The text in the email is converted to a nice-sounding voice. If the recipient answers, they will hear the message right away. If they do not answer, the message will be left on their voice mail system. You can even leave a different message if the call goes to voice mail! There are many mission-critical features in the service.

Industrial IoT Needs To Send Alerts

An IoT device is any device connected to the Internet. In an enterprise environment, monitoring these devices is commonly done through Monitoring Software, like viewLINC, or SolarWinds to name just a couple – there are many.

These IoT devices need to communicate with people through alerts and integration with mission-critical applications. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) needs to be given a voice. An IIoT device that has only the ability to send an email must now be enabled to dial a phone. The number may be repair truck or used to wake people in the middle of the night or cut through all the mundane communications received during the regular business day.

Since people are not making phone calls as much as they used to, the voice phone call now becomes the perfect way to deliver a critical alert to an individual.

Supply Chains Require Communications

Supply Chain communication is critical to the success of the Supply chain and its stakeholders. The importance of effective communications for internal stakeholders and external suppliers cannot be overstated. An enterprise must have a well-planned communication strategy to ensure the resilience of the Supply Chain.

As part of a Supply Chain communication plan, multiple channels and methods should be taken into consideration,. An alternative communication channel is a voice phone call. This is an effective communication channel in regular Supply Chain processes because phone calls get the participant’s attention. Supply Chain Communications is critical to the resilience of critical processes. Using multiple channels during the process is imperative to success.

The fact that Phone calls are rare has made them an excellent communication channel to convey important information and emergency alerts. We are inundated with text communications coming from SMS, Email, and a multitude of chat Instant Messaging platforms. To cut through all of that noise with an important alert, a loud and reliable channel needs to be used. That channel is the common voice phone call.

How to send an Alert to a Phone

EmailToVoice.Net provides the ability to make a phone call using any email interface. This can be tested using a personal email mailbox. However, the production use of this capability is by utilizing the email messaging capability within the monitoring software or business application.

How to Use EmailToVoice.Net

First, a user should subscribe to EmailToVoice.net. A free trial is available.

FROM Field

The Email must be sent from the same Email address as was specified during the free trial subscription process. A Send-Only Email address can be added later for the production implementation.

TO Field

The TO field should specify the phone number to be dialed.

The TO field would look something like 2145551783@tts.message-service.org. (if the number is not a USA or Canadian number, then the TO field would look something like +6155551243@tts.message-service.org)

The number can be any phone number in the world, with some exceptions due to international regulations, and does not have to be preregistered.

SUBJECT Field

The SUBJECT field can be anything brief. It is used for reporting. Optionally, the Subject field can also be made part of the voice message.

Content of Email

The content of the Email is converted to a pleasant sounding American English voice. (Leave at least 4 lines after the content of the email and before the email signature, so the Email signature is not converted to voice.) There are additional dialects to accommodate other languages or accents.

Send the Email

That’s it. The EmalToVoice.net service will dial the number, play the voice rendition of the email content, handle voicemail, etc.

Advanced Features

There are many advanced features of EmailToVoice.Net. Those features will be covered in future posts. So, subscribe to our blog and stay updated. We also provide some very useful information in our Blog regarding Industrial Internet of Things, Monitoring Software, and much more.

Phone calls get people’s attention  – Email does not

Phone calls get people’s attention – Email does not

Phone calls get people’s attention when you need them to act on a critical event. When you send an email, it just does not get the necessary level of attention for important information.

Critical messages are becoming more common as we move into the Industrial IoT era. As TARRIS states

The Internet of Things (IoT) has exploded in recent years, and it’s not slowing down any time soon. Gartner forecasts that 20.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide by 2020, and a new Business Insider Intelligence study predicts that the IoT market will grow to over $3 trillion annually by 2026.

An IoT device is any device connected to the Internet. In an enterprise environment, monitoring these devices is commonly done through Monitoring Software, like viewLINC, or SolarWinds to name just a couple – there are many.

These IoT devices need to communicate with people through alerts and integration with mission-critical applications. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) needs to be given a voice. An IIoT device that has only the ability to send an email must now be enabled to dial a phone. The number may be repair truck, or used to wake people in the middle of the night, or cut through all the mundane communications received during the regular business day.

Cloud Communications Solution Makes it Easy

Implementation of industrial strength solution for communication-enabling business processes such as critical alerts is a major effort. Sending a message from monitoring software or directly from an IoT device to a phone requires a specialized hardware and software solution to be installed in the client’s central data center. Connections to smart devices, CRM, PCS or ERP systems need to go through complex API’s or propriety software gateways

However, a cloud based communications solution such as EmailToVoice.Net makes this all as easy as sending an email. The EmailToVoice.Net service does the hard stuff. It converts the text of the email message into a genuine-sounding voice (Text to Speech), then dials the phone, handles voice mail, and much more. All of this is done without the need to install hardware or use APIs. There are not even any monthly fees.

How EmailToVoice.Net Works

All you have to do is subscribe to the EmailToVoice.Net service and then make the TO field in the Email look something like 5551234567@tts.message-service.org

The recipient will receive a call on their phone. The text in the email is converted to a nice sounding voice. If the recipient answers, they will hear the message right away. If they do not answer, the message will be left on their voice mail system. You can even leave a different message if the call goes to voice mail! There are many mission-critical features in the service.

Let us know if you would like to learn more. Contact us. We love to share our experience in mission-critical business communications and industrial alerts.

Are There Alternatives to the Internet?

Are There Alternatives to the Internet?

The impact of a lost Internet is becoming more important to each of us everyday. The expanding Internet of Things and Services-on Demand are becoming an integral part of our every day lives. In addition, cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, will continue to play a more significant role in the global economy.

We need to be connected to businesses and individuals. However, the Internet, as we know it, has shown to be vulnerable. The Internet has innocently developed a central point of failure, even though it was meant to be distributed and resilient. The central point of failure has become the domain servers that reconcile domain names into IP addresses. This centralized weakness was exploited in the 2016 attack on the DYN servers.

We can continue to get better at protecting the Internet by predicting and protecting its vulnerabilities. At the same time, we should accept that an attacker could get through our defenses. In that case, we need a ‘plan B’. But, is there one? is there an alternative to the Internet that can provide some or all of the value the Internet provides us today?.

The solution would be an alternative networking capability. This alternate network model would not need to provide all the services we have grown to depend upon initially. But, as time went by, the number of applications and services would be duplicated. The first priorities would be best limited to what is necessary for basic existence. For instance, this would be message alerts and, also, currency to acquire food and supplies. Then there would be access to shelter and safety; and so on.

Mesh Network

Necessity has already caused innovative alternative solutions to the present day Internet. One example was when the Chinese government shut down access to the Internet during the Hong Kong demonstrations of 2014. The demonstrators used FireChat to communicate. Firechat is a mobile app by Open Garden that does not require the Internet. It communicates to others on the Mesh Network. Open Garden states:

Our revolutionary peer-to-peer mesh networking technology enables communities, organizations and app developers to create resilient, people-powered networks and services, extending the reach of the Internet.

A mesh network connects to the nearest device that is cooperating in the network. This connection can be using a short distance method, such as Bluetooth or WiFi. Messages can be bouncing from one device to the next with a destination of getting out to the wider Internet. Or it can be fulfilling its goal within the short distance through connected devices sharing critical information with the participants.

Using a Mesh Network on a broad and more permanent way is under development in different locations. An example would be the NYC Mesh project.

NYC Mesh is a community owned network. Our network consists of Wi-Fi router “nodes” spread throughout the city. The network has no central server and no single internet service provider. All nodes cooperate in the distribution of data, also serving as a stand-alone network in case of emergencies or internet shutdown.

The Tor Network

There are other networks available that do not rely upon the native Internet. One is Tor, the network used in the Deep Web. Tor relies on participants to pass on your request of a service to other participants until the request is satisfied. The request is wrapped in encrypted layers so that the participants do not see what the request or response actually is – only the information necessary to pass on the information. Decryption does not occur until the packet arrives at its destination. The O in Tor is for ‘onion’. The network packet is like an onion with many internal layers.

Blockchain Inspired Networks

There are also peer-to-peer networks being developed using Blockchain, such as the Ethereum Virtual Machine;

Like any blockchain, Ethereum also includes a peer-to-peer network protocol. The Ethereum blockchain database is maintained and updated by many nodes connected to the network. Each and every node of the network runs the EVM and executes the same instructions. For this reason, Ethereum is sometimes described evocatively as a “world computer”.

The Internet of Sound

There are many ways to transmit information. Sound was the first in our evolutionary history and now is often forgotten as a viable alternative. However, it is making a comeback. The Internet of Sound uses sound itself as the network. Transmitting information may be restricted at this time to small pieces of information, but it does not take much to transmit a URL. Sound can travel through the air or across telephone lines, of which there are still plenty. This natural duplicity of networks, line and cellular, is attractive when developing a resilient communications method.

Using a cloud service, such as EmailToVoice.Net, allows application to convert the content of an email to a voice and then transmit it as a voice call to places that cannot be reached through other means.This is not a network, but applications such as this can assist in accomplishing tasks through alternative means. Presently, Email To Voice is a popular communications service in Industrial IoT applications.

One or More of These

As the Internet gets more important to our daily needs, we should continue to explore these alternative methods of networking and communications to ensure our security. A comprehensive solution may not be the best solution to explore first. The activities most crucial to our sustainability should be sought initially; then followed by the less critical, but convenient, aspects of our daily lives. One or more of these technologies may evolve into a complete alternative to the Internet.

This is a discussion we should continue to explore.

 

Denis ONeil CISSP

Denis ONeil CISSP

Founder of OLinks Corp, Creator of EmailToVoice.Net

Denis O’Neil is the Founder of OLinks Corporation and creator of EmailToVoice.Net. Denis has extensive experience in customer engagement and business communications having held leadership positions in several international companies.

The Phone That Receives IIoT Alerts Should Not Need to be Preregistered

The Phone That Receives IIoT Alerts Should Not Need to be Preregistered

An Industrial IoT device often needs the ability to send a voice alert to a person. That voice alert will need to go to a telephone that may be a call center, a support person, or a repair truck. In any case, the telephone number cannot always be pre-registered or verified to the messaging service. Pre-registering the number with a service has the potential of halting the process – just at a time that is most critical.

EmailToVoice.Net is a cloud messaging service that allows a simple email interface to make a voice call to any telephone number. Unlike other services, the number does not have to be pre-registered or verified with EmailToVoice.Net.

IIoT Needs to Communcate

Industrial IoT devices often must communicate with human agents throughout the process. Gateways and business applications communicating with edge devices may have an email capability built into them. But, there are situations that require an alert or event communication be sent over a phone line as a voice message. Making a phone call is much more complex than sending an email.

EmailToVoice.Net solves the problem by converting the content of an email to an easily understood voice message and making the phone call. The service also supports pre-recorded voice, SMS and FAX. EmailToVoice.Net does this as a cloud service, so there is no hardware or software to install.

IIoT Communcation Solution

EmailToVoice.Net converts email content to voice so the recipient of your choice receives an easy to understand voice message on their phone or voice mail. There is no requirement for the receiving phone number to be registered or verified before the call is made. This is one of many enterprise-strength features of EmailToVoice.Net