Enhanced paging solution improves Emergency Response Team communication

High Tech Campus paging system used to alert its 400 Emergency Response Team-members was due to be overhauled. For that reason, assistance from the Environment, Health & Safety team of Philips Engineering Solutions was called in. The system was based on traditional and costly devices for one-way communication system. Apart from not being very user friendly anymore these days, it is relatively expensive to maintain. On the other hand, it offered old school reliability. Improving on these elements was the requirement.

Switching technology for response team communication

In our preparatory research, we found some new version copies of the old system and several GSM-based ‘paging’ systems, on both traditional phones and smartphones. Cost of ownership is an important aspect, reason why we focused on GSM based systems. By applying this technology, we could come up with 90% cost savings compared to the previous situation.

The setup of a test environment also was less complex. Two organizations volunteered for testing, two different GSM based systems. The test period turned out to be a success. All test persons were enthusiastic about the user-friendly interfacing and the new two-way communication option, which allows reporting back. Also redundancy improved with Wi-Fi support.

Logically, evaluation showed that this GSM based system scored better in user interface, cost, improved communication, reliability and service. It does completely away with the extra handheld devices used before.

More convenience and clearly lower cost

As a result, it was decided to roll out the test within the complete ERT organization. After a month of field testing and eliminating a few minor hindrances, no one wanted to use the old pagers anymore. Now, after three months of use everybody is familiar with the new system. Cost saving amounts to approximately 100.000€/year.

But there is more; the system has greater potential. As an example, it allows to work with geo-fencing, meaning only page ERT members on the High Tech Campus or in the proximity of a building can be alerted. Also continuing paging ERT groups until there are enough persons available for the crisis at hand is now available. All parties are happy with this very successful project.

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