Rogaland county in Norway wants to be ahead of its time when it comes to dialogue with its inhabitants.

-That’s why we’re going for effective mobile and data solutions for our communication, says Tore Wersland from the county administration.

“We want to be well prepared, although we hope we never have to utilize the alert service, except for test runs.”

Rogaland county has chosen LINK Mobility’s SMS-solutions.

– There’s been a close cooperation to ensure an optimal notification system.

The development has spanned from a series of individual systems and applications to an integrated solution. Information is shared and used across systems, departments, companies and businesses.

The SMS-system is an individual product, but we have been looking for a system where relevant data is integrated into it.

In our case we wish to reach students and employees by utilizing their phone numbers, he says.


Notifications system: the requirements and the solution 

-The reason for this was the funding for a notification system for Rogaland county. After the resolution a wide group of people worked with notification services, to see what systems were the most fitting for Rogaland. Based on the discoveries, a tender to make an offer for an SMS-system started.

In addition to a standard function when it comes to SMS, it was important to us that groups within the county were easy to find within the system. It should be simple to reach individual groups, for instance school classes, clinics, departments, etc. It also had to be based on positions so that the individual unit could manage it with ease.

In the end we went for LINK Mobility’s solutions with InTouch as a basis product. There has been a good cooperation with the distributor, Wersland says.

-We’ve had weekly phone meetings. Towards the end of the project, another support system at LINK Mobility appeared, which made it even easier to keep tabs on cases within the project. Rogaland county chose a solution that means we have two systems, both based on InTouch.

The first is an informational system that every school uses. It’s a standard version of InTouch, using the schools own phonebooks. This solution is used every day as an informational channel for the schools.

Attacks, threats and drills

-In addition there is a separate system for alerts, Wersland tells us.

-Here we also use InTouch as a base, but we use fewer groups, which means that we avoid being on a very detailed level. We gather all employees and students per unit. For this we also have a website. This website contains three buttons: attack, threat and drill. It is designed to be easily operated in crisis situations, where time is of the essence. The website also has a responsive design, which means that is can be used on all devices, including tablets and cellphones. This could be vital in a crisis.

For each of the buttons we have utilized the opportunity InTouch gives us to input the sender, receiver and the contents of the message in advance.

The site is position based, so that when an employee in the emergency taskforce logs on and presses a button, the sender and receiver will be correct, and based on where they are within the county. The contents of the message have been written in advance, with clarity in mind. The text has been produced in close cooperation with our communications department.

Hopes the system doesn’t have to be put to use 

– We sincerely hope we never have to use the alarm system, for anything other than drills, Tore Wersland says.

-Drills are a very important preparation. Schools are currently working on integrating the system as a part of the procedures of alerts.

In the project period the system was tested. It was really interesting to observe a silent evacuation. The SMS-system is more efficient because you can give very specific guidance about where and how people should evacuate to and how they should act in a crisis.

-These kinds of alerts will never be 100% certain. There are too many factors to assure that, Tore Wersland states.

-Telephone masts, bad cell signal, web traffic and activities where cellphones cannot be brought along can interfere. So it is important to know that this system is only an additional safety measure.

For parents as well 

-The schools are currently in the process of utilizing the system. We think authentication is important to avoid abuse of the system. Most schools have already integrated the informational system, but the rate of which it is used varies. The schools have their own separate ways of processing information, but most of them have experienced that they reach there users more safely and efficiently by using SMS-notifications. InTouch also gives parents and legal guardians the opportunity to join the groups, something we hope more schools will utilize, Wersland says.

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