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Twinstate TechnologiesJun 17, 2020 8:17:08 PM3 min read

Mass Notification Systems: What to Know About Bells, Clocks and Paging

The need to share information quickly and accurately on a large scale is a prominent feature of schools, medical facilities and other business environments where scheduling, emergency communications and health are involved. With the gaps that currently exist in these types of communication, every affected business needs solutions to fill them. These solutions range from retrofit designs for old systems to entirely new custom frameworks designed to facilitate faster communications and higher accuracy.

Whether you're in education and need to create a custom bell schedule with custom tones or you work for a medical facility that requires wireless paging solutions, knowing the basics of bells, clocks and paging systems can help you decide how to move forward.

Mass Communication Systems: The Basics

One of the most basic ideas of bells, clocks and paging is that there are analog systems and IP systems. Let's explore some of the differences.

IP Systems

IP systems allow for things like browser-based administration opportunities, so you can manage everything in one place. They also allow for telephone message broadcasting, calendar-based bell scheduling (with override capabilities) and text-to-speech. They also provide opportunities for things like single-click launch screens in the case of lockdown or active shooter threats, or even severe weather.

It's important to remember, though, that if for any reason phone and internet systems were down, that interface may be jeopardized. Today, while many types of facilities are definitely moving toward greater connectivity through IP solutions, many schools are still analog. It is possible to retrofit an analog system with IP solutions, allowing for new inputs and intercom replacement, among other upgrades.

Analog Systems

Analog solutions can be static or expandable, depending on your needs and the manufacturer and package you choose. They might include a standard number of bell schedules, but also the ability to use software for lockdown and evacuation.

So what is the real difference between the two system types? Most often, we hear about the difference between IP and analog in reference to cameras. The same difference can be highlighted with bells, clocks and paging systems, and that difference lies in how signal is transmitted. Analog systems send information in a traditional, base band format, while IP solutions transmit information digitally.

Further, "It's my belief that greater resiliency can be built in with IP than with analog," says Devi Momot, Twinstate's CEO. That said, analog can also act as a backup for an IP solution, adding a layer of preparedness to a system.

Finally, I understand the difference between analog and IP systems. Click to tweet twitter-logo-vector-download-612819-edited.jpg

What's the Use?

If you want to ensure that everyone is able to get clear, effective communications across zones, without interference, setting up a solution that encompasses bell scheduling, clock integration and paging systems is an ideal place to start.

We already talked a bit about the capabilities of scheduling and emergency notification with some of these solutions. But there are basic differences for paging that should be illuminated, specifically, there are two types of paging/communication systems: distributed and centralized.

With centralized, you'd have one or more amplifier that pushes out from a central location to your speakers. With distributed, instead of broadcasting out from a central location, each speaker actually has its own amplifier. In most cases, schools are centralized. But if there is a lot of electromagnetic interference around, distributed is more common.

Communicating Effectively, On Schedule

If you need a solution to communicate clearly and effectively on a regular or changing schedule, you may need to find support from an outside vendor like Twinstate. Because Twinstate supports many IT networks and cloud services in various industries, we have the experience to design the infrastructure that best works to fit your specific needs, providing reliable, scalable connectivity. Whether you want to create a new schedule for your district's athletic programs or you need time-sensitive task management for health care via a new paging system, contact us for the next steps.


Twinstate Technologies

Twinstate Technologies® specializes in cybersecurity, proactive IT, and hosted and on-premise voice solutions.