The next important component of urgent messaging is timing. By definition urgent implies immediate. In the real world that is not necessary possible or necessary. Demanding on the type of message, and the distribution infrastructure available, one of the following timing methods will be employed:
- Reasonable delay
“Live” timing is associated with real-time urgent messaging events, such as, breaking news. It requires a fast operational response to re-configure media players to simultaneously tune to the same media feed.
Pre-planning and testing is necessary to ensure critical network commands will be executed in a predictable manner. It is important to understand what network operations it will take to; bring in a new media feeds, tune all media players or groups of players to the new feed, and command media players to display new information. Which of these steps can be pre-planned? Tested?
Additionally, “live” events require a fast network connection, and preferably a consistent connection to fully ensure no delays in sharing breaking news with targeted sites.
A near real-time event, such as a weather alert or corporate announcement, can be shared with “reasonable delay.” In these cases you may have hours to deliver and share a message. Pre-planning is still important, but the need for a fast network connection is greatly reduced.
A “scheduled” urgent message may take the form of a fire drill or legal notice. These can be setup well in advance and managed as part of the regular network schedule. This requires the least amount of test and pre-planning. Content is sent in the usual manner and schedules are arranged hours or days in advance.
When an urgent message is cued it implies an external trigger activates the start of the message. It can also imply the message itself triggers other events. This would be the case if activation command for specific digital signage is coupled with a contact closure or relay command to:
- Turn on alarms
- Activate a recorded message
- Close/Open curtains
- Turn XX on/off
Cued events can be real-time (push a button) or scheduled (network command). They can work alone or in combination with other messaging events.
Ultimately, timing for urgent messages is dependent on what predictable network speeds are available to you. Testing will be an important part of developing a sound urgent messaging strategy that uniquely fits your business organization.
(Part 3) Urgent Messaging Delivery
Sending video vs. audio, text or graphics can be a major strain on your network infrastructure. We will explore this topic in the next installment.