Sentinel FAQs

What types of communication can I use to contact people?

Sentinel supports multiple communication types as part of the platform. Whether you’re sending a mass alert, or connecting a team, you’ll find a channel ideally suited to the task at hand. All with the express aim of improving the ability to communicate quickly and clearly in crisis situations.

All Sentinel modules allow you to send a communication through multiple channels similtaneously. Whether sending an alert, update, or invitation to connect, it can be sent to every device and communication channel you have available for a contact. Increasing the reach of your broadcasts and improving the chance they’ll be promptly received and acted upon.

Read on to explore the different types of communication available on the Sentinel platform.

SMS

Text messaging is one of the primary communication channels available on the Sentinel platform. It is used across most Sentinel modules to achieve different communication goals during crisis events.

These include:

  • Mass notification and alerting - SMS messaging is one of two default communication channels available for sending mass communications through the Sentinel Mass Alerting module.
  • Two-way communications - mass alerts with two-way communication enabled can be sent via SMS in the Sentinel Mass Alerting module. Recipients receiving a two-way communication via text can reply direct with the response. With their answer read and logged by the Sentinel platform.
  • Hotline launch and updates - you can send a mass notification to contacts via text message to inform them when a new Hotline is created. Callers to a Hotline also have the option to subscribe and receive text message when new information updates are made available.
  • Inviting participants to teleconferences - when creating a teleconference using the SIT module, you can invite participants with a bulk SMS messages.
  • Inviting participants to Chat Channels - when creating a secure instant messaging group using the Chat Channels module, participants can be invited via a group SMS communication.
  • Back-up CRM communications - Sentinel has the capacity to act as a back-up CRM communications platform during extreme situations. Key partners and customers contact details can be backed up on Sentinel, with the option to communicate via an SMS sent direct from the platform. Allowing you to communicate if you CRM system is offline, or you email service provider is experiencing a major outage.

Email

Email is another primary communication channel available on the Sentinel platform. Like SMS messaging, it is deployed across most Sentinel modules for a range of purposes.

These include:

  • Mass notification and alerting - email is the second of two default communication channels for sending mass notifications using the Sentinel Mass Alerting module.
  • Two-way communications - mass alerts with two-way communication enabled can be sent as an email via the Sentinel Mass Alerting module. Recipients can reply direct from their inbox when responding to two-way communications. With Sentinel reading and logging their answer.
  • Hotline launch - when creating a new Hotline, you can inform people of its existance with a mass email to selected contact groups.
  • Inviting participants to teleconferences - upon launching a new teleconference with the Sentinel SIT module, you can inform participants of their invite via a bulk email.
  • Inviting participants to Chat Channels - when a new instant messaging group is created in the Chat Channels module, you can inform participants using email communication.
  • Back-up CRM communications - in extreme situations - a major system outage or hack - Sentinel can be deployed as a fully independent back up CRM platform. Key contacts can be made available with the option for team members to communicate via email sent direct from the Sentinel platform.

Voice Broadcasts

As part of the Sentinel Mass Alerting module, voice broadcasts are the latest communication channel to be made available through the platform.

Using our text-to-speech technology, you can convert your crisis communications into a recorded message. Select a group of contacts and Sentinel will automatically call all numbers and play your emergency communication. The system is configured to hang up in the event it encounters a voicemail system.

You can also add two-way communication to voice broadcasts to check safety and focus response efforts. At the end of the communication, recipients will receive quick response options they can answer with the telephone keypad. Sentinel then logs their responses for follow-up or analysis.

Group Instant Messaging

Sentinel offers group instant messaging capabilities using the Chat Channels module.

Once activated, you can create secure group chats and invite crisis response teams to join. Participants can then connect and collaborate in real-time with instant message communications.

If you activate both the Mass Alerting and Chat Channels module on your Sentinel deployment, you gain an additional communication channel for mass notifications. Within your Mass Alerting module, you can extend your emergency broadcasts to also be sent as instant messages within Chat Channels to chosen group chats.

Teleconferencing

By activating the Secure Instant Teleconferencing module, you can facilitate teleconferences using the Sentinel Platform. Once activated, you can create an instant teleconference and connect your crisis response teams in a group call.

Upon creation of a new teleconference, the Sentinel system automatically calls all invited participants on their chosen of communication. With participants able to join the teleconference using mobile, VOIP, or traditional landlines.

Mobile App Push Notifications

Activating the Enterprise App and Chat Channels modules, you can unlock mobile push notifications as a communication channel. Giving you the ability to send a pop-up message direct to mobile users who are alerted with a custom sound.

Mobile push notifications are an incredibly powerful way you engage and capture attention. Of course, they can only be sent to those who’ve downloaded Chat Channels or your Enterprise App.

Outlined below are the ways you can use mobile app push notifications in Sentinel:

  • Mass notification and alerting - upon activating the Sentinel Enterprise App module, push notifications become available in the Mass Alerting module as an additional communication channel. So you can send emergency communications direct to any mobile device with your Enterprise App installed.
  • Inviting participants to new Chat Channels - when creating a new group chat within the Chat Channels module, you have the option to send the invite as a push notification to invitees who have downloaded the Chat Channels app.

Additional Communication Types

If you're looking for a communication type that isn’t listed above, don’t worry. The Sentinel platform is a customisable solution, meaning we can integrate with other systems to offer additional communication types. Allowing you to extend the functionality of the Mass Alerting module to include additional communication channels.

Naturally, this type of bespoke solution requires additional development, which comes at a cost. To find out more about additional communication types, you can contact us via email.

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