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.

Most Commonly Used Features of EmailToVoice.Net

Most Commonly Used Features of EmailToVoice.Net

You have become a user of EmailToVoice.Net. So, now what?

First Things First

Let’s make sure we all understand the basics of how EmailToVoice.Net works. Our cloud messaging service converts the text in the email message to a genuine-sounding voice or formatted SMS text message and then delivers that message to a phone anywhere in the world without preregistrations. No need to install hardware or use APIs.

To send a message, the Email Fields would look something like this:

TO: phonenumber@NNN.message-service.org  (The recipient’s cell phone, NNN can be TTS, SMS, LinkInSMS, Voice or FAX)
FROM: emailaddress@yourcompanydomain.com  (The authorized email address to send messages through our service)
SUBJECT: Anything  (Used as a job name for reporting purposes, but can be used as the message or part of the message)
CONTENT (For TTS, this will be converted to a voice message. For SMS, this becomes the text message)

Those are the fundamentals. So, now let’s cover what more we can do to meet your enterprise business needs. (Note that this is not an inclusive list. These are the most commonly used advanced features.)

Send a Voice or SMS message from Monitoring Software, CRM, ERP, PCS, or any business application

Integrating communications with business applications is the most common use of EmailToVoice.Net. Applications can send an email, but it is so important in today’s sensory-filled world to get the important messages out as a voice phone call or an SMS text message. Merely change the recipient’s email address to the format of the TO as described above, and you are now sending live communications from your applications without the need for APIs, coding, etc.

What Email Addresses are Authorized?

The main email address specified during the Subscription process on the account can always send messages through our service. That email address also receives reports, password changes, and billing:

You can request us to add an additional email address to your account that will be authorized to only send messages through our service. Just Contact Us.

There are many security features to identify items such as a whitelist of IP addresses. Let us know what you need.

What Phone Numbers Can I Send To?

You can send messages to any number in the world. If the number is in the USA or Canada, then the country code is not needed. When the number is outside of the USA and Canada, then specify phonenumber in the TO field to be something like +6155555555, where 61 is the country code. (Note that there are some global regulations that may exclude some phone numbers.)

Can I Have Only Part of the Message Converted to Voice or SMS?

You can parse the email message by specifying where the important part of the text starts and ends. This eliminates the irrelevant parts of your email, such as the top Header part, and the bottom of the email, such as the Signature, leaving only the important part of the message. Set these parameters in the Customer Portal / My Details / Change Details. It is great to keep the message short and more succinct.

Can I Set a Window of Time for Delivering the Messages?

If you want to send alerts out to your staff as phone calls or SMS text messages only during a specific time of day, you can specify the times in Customer Portal / My Details / Change Details / Email To Broadcast: Active Window.

Can I have the Sending Number be From My Company?

You can have the Caller ID for TTS and Voice messages be from a number that you own. Just Contact Us. It is important that you are able to provide proof that your company owns the phone number. We cannot guarantee that the Caller ID will display in all regions of the USA and globally because carriers throughout the US and the world have to meet varying regulations regarding Caller ID.

You can specify an SMS Sender ID number in Customer Portal / My Details / Change Details. If you are not in the USA and Canada, you can specify a number you own. Within the USA and Canada, you will need to request a number (a Long Code) from us and we will update your account with that number. There will be a minimal monthly charge for that Long Code.

Can I Send to Multiple Destinations?

There are several ways to send to more than one destination.

Multiple Destinations in the TO Field

Multiple destinations can be specified in the TO field by separating them with a “#”. IE;:
2145551234#2145551235#2145551236@tts.message-service.org
OR, multiple destinations can be entered as multiple full email addresses:
“2145551234@tts.message-service.org, 2145551235@tts.message-service.org

NOTE: When stringing destinations in the TO field of the Email, there is a standard general length restriction of about 64 characters for the TO field.
NOTE: The type of messages, such as TTS or SMS, cannot be mixed in a single message.

Multiple Destinations in the Email Content

Multiple Destinations can be In the body of the message in the following format:
<Numbers>
2145551234
2145551235
2145551236
</Numbers>

NOTE: The destination phone numbers are included in the body of the message. So, the TO field should be: msg@tts.message-service.org

Multiple Destinations Using a Pre-Loaded List

Multiple Destinations can be through pre-setup lists by using the format:
<Lists>
First ListName
Second ListName
</Lists>

NOTE: These lists are created and loaded through the Customer Portal
NOTE: The TO field should be: msg@tts.message-service.org

Can I Have the Subject Field be Part of the Message?

The Subject field of the email coming into our service is always used as the Job Name for reporting purposes. However, sometimes the Subject Field has valuable information in it. So, you can choose to concatenate the Subject field to the message or have only the Subject field be the entire message. You specify this in Customer Portal / My Details / Change Details.

Can I have an SMS Message Deliver Large Amounts of Formatted Data?

An Aert text message sometimes needs to deliver a large amount of formatted data (HTML). This can be done by sending the SMS message with the TO field as phonenumber@LinkInSMS.message-service.org. For instance, the formatted data may be the section of a user manual on how to perform the repair for the failed device. Our ‘Enterprise SMS’ feature, which uses LinkInSMS, is explained in more detail in our post called “Sending Enterprise Text Using a Simple Email Interface “.

How Does Reporting Work?

Every time a message is sent from your account through our service, the main email address receives a detailed email providing the status of the message. This can be changed in your account so that the main email address receives messages only if there are exceptions, such as a failed job. Just  Contact Us.

You can specify additional emails to receive reports, or specify that no email reports are sent at all.

Is There A Customer Portal To View Job History?

We have mentioned the Customer Portal previously regarding Account Details and Lists. However, it has much more, such as ‘View All Jobs’ to see the jobs history on any date range you choose.

In Summary

There are many advanced features of EmailToVoice.Net. These are merely a few of them. We love to share our many years of experience in this industry and provide easy no-code solutions for your workflow communications needs. Do not hesitate to Contact Us.

Parse Email into a Phone Call Using Microsoft Flow and Workflow Definition Language

Parse Email into a Phone Call Using Microsoft Flow and Workflow Definition Language

Making a phone call has become a critical requirement for alerts and notifications from monitoring systems and customer service applications. The challenge is these applications often can only send emails. In addition to that challenge, an email has a lot of stuff that is not necessary for a phone message. The solution for this challenge is to parse the content of the email into a succinct voice message that gets the important message across quickly and effectively.

Microsoft Flow and EmailToVoice.Net work well together. We have written about this integration in past articles in our Blog. In this post, we are going to delve deeper into the script used to parse the email content into a sensible phone message.

Workflow Definition Language

The Microsoft Workflow Definition language is at the center of extracting relevant information from an email and passing only what is applicable to a voice phone call. The Microsoft Workflow Definition Language is available in Microsoft Flow. You also find this powerful language in Azure Logic Apps. Actually it is better documented in Azure Logic Apps.

Sample Script for Parsing and Email

In our previous posts about using Microsoft Flow with EmailToVoice.Net, we have shown sample scenarios of forwarding a message that arrives in a customer service email inbox and then passes that message on to a phone. In this post, we are showing a simple example of parsing the content of an email into shortened text that would be more applicable for a voice phone call.

Sample Incoming Email

Let’s use a simple email for our example. From this email, all we want for the phone call is what has been ordered. In this case, it is ‘One Pizza’.



Initialize Variable with the Body of the Email

First we will initialize a new variable with the content of the Email. This grabs all of the text of the incoming email. If the email is HTML, then all the HTML formatting is also present in this new variable.

Discard beginning text of the email

Next we want to discard all text before the part of the email that we want to have as the content of the voice phone call. To do this we used the following expression:

last(split(variables(‘Email Text’),’This is the order </div><div><br></div><div>’))

It is important to note that when the email is HTML, then you need to look into the source to see exactly how the email content looks.

Discard bottom part of the text of the email

Now we want to discard everything after the part of the email that we want to keep as the voice phone message. in this simple case, the only part we want to keep is ‘One Pizza’. To do this we used the following expression:

first(split(variables(‘Email top part’),'</div>’))

Pass the remaining content to a Phone Call

As the final step, we use the variable that now has only the part of the email that we want to be converted to speech (TTS) for the phone call. This text will be passed to EmailToVoice.Net.

Microsoft Flow Power Automate

 

This is a great independent Youtube video to further explain this type of process using Workflow Definition Language.

 

Can We Help Further

If you have a business process that would be enhanced by using voice phone messages, contact us. We can help you integrate phone messages into any mission-critical business flow.

EmailToVoice.Net is rich in features while being simple and effective to use for business communications and alerts. We transform an email message into a phone call or an SMS message with no need to program APIs or install any hardware or software.

For making a voice phone call, you merely make the TO field in the Email you are sending to look something like 5551234567@tts.message-service.org (international calls require a +CountryCode in front of the local number). 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.

You can also send an SMS, FAX or prerecorded Voice Message from an email program interface, like from an application, Internet of Things device (IoT / M2M), or through your CRM and Dispatch System.

Italian Voice is Now Available in EmailToVoice.Net Text to Speech (TTS) Messaging

Italian Voice is Now Available in EmailToVoice.Net Text to Speech (TTS) Messaging

EmailToVoice.Net has added Italian as a voice in its Text To Speech feature offering.

When sending a voice phone call using email, it is important that the voice being used in the Text To Speech engine is matched to the language the message was written. The pronunciation should be matched to the written text in the email to have the message clearly understood by the person answering the call.

EmailToVoice.Net allows a phone call to be made by using any email interface. This is useful when monitoring software, CRM or ERP systems need to place phone calls. These services generally have only the ability to send emails. Making a phone call is necessary to have alerts recognized in a timely and effective manner.

Italian Voice is now Available

EmailToVoice.Net has added Italian to its long list of voices for customers.

Italian is an additional voice added to a long list of available pronunciations for Text to Speech messages. The Features Document can be downloaded to see more voices available in EmailToVoice.Net. If you do not see a voice that you need for your EmailToVoice.Net messages, contact us and let us know what you need.

Voice Selection Alternatives

American English is the default voice in EmailToVoice.Net. A customer can choose to change the voice default in their account profile by logging into the Customer Portal and going to the My Details menu selection. Or the customer can let us know and we will make the change. Alternatively, a customer can add a Voice Tag in the content of a specific email message to dynamically change the voice for that email message. The Features Document can be downloaded to learn more about Tags.

German Voice is now Available in EmailToVoice.Net Text to Speech (TTS)

German Voice is now Available in EmailToVoice.Net Text to Speech (TTS)

EmailToVoice.Net has added German as a voice in its Text To Speech offering.

When sending a voice phone call using email, it is important that the voice being used in the Text To Speech engine is matched to the language the message was written. The pronunciation should be matched to the written text in the email to have the message clearly understood by the person answering the call.

EmailToVoice.Net allows a phone call to be made by using any email interface. This is useful when monitoring software, CRM or ERP systems need to place phone calls in alerts. These services generally have only the ability to send emails. Making a phone call is necessary to have alerts recognized in a timely and effective manner.

German Voice is now Available

EmailToVoice.Net has added German to its long list of voices. This newly added voice has been quickly utilized by customers that prefer to have their alerts spoken in German. Although EmailToVoice.Net does not translate the content of the email before the text is converted to a nice sounding voice, it will read the message in a voice chosen by the customer.

German is an additional voice added to a long list of available pronunciations for Text to Speech messages. The Features Document can be downloaded to see more voices available in EmailToVoice.Net. If you do not see a voice that you need for your EmailToVoice.Net messages, contact us and let us know what you need.

Voice Selection Alternatives

A customer can choose to change their account voice default to be German or one of the other voices listed above. This is done by letting us know the voice you want as the default for your account. Female American English is the initial default for all EmailToVoice.Net accounts.

Alternatively, a customer can add a Voice Tag in the content of a specific email message to dynamically change the voice for that email message. The Features Document can be downloaded to learn more about Tags.