Using innovative notification service for news on coronavirus
More than 600,000 text messages have been sent through Powel Notification in the last week. In the corona crisis, such services are especially important.
Powel Notification is a new and up-to-date messaging service that is helping Norwegian municipalities to provide better information to residents.
“The mayor wanted to get a message out to everyone living in the municipality, and Powel Notification was the obvious choice. Powel Notification is an easy way to reach a lot of people. It is the best tool we have to capture people’s attention quickly,” says the head of water and sanitation services in Lillehammer, Stine Holmøy.
Vital to have a good digital notification system
Last week, the municipality sent a text message through the tool to 25,640 residents at the same time.
“It is vital to have a good digital alert system when we need to send out information about coronavirus and the risk of infection, for example. Good information from the authorities is something we know people really appreciate. Of course, this is also true of water and sanitation issues. We appreciate the fact that the service is very easy to use,” says Knut Andreas Myklebust-Vårvang, operations engineer in Lillehammer municipality.
Alerts need to be taken seriously
The municipality is usually sparing in its use of text notifications. The reason for this is that they want recipients to take the messages seriously. Stine Holmøy explains that Lillehammer municipality has developed an internal guideline for the use of Powel Notification. Among other things, it says that “SMS notifications shall only be used to broadcast critical and/or statutory information. The contents of the text messages shall be such that recipients will take them seriously and act on them,” and “SMS notifications may also be used to convey information to residents when the municipality has established a task force to deal with flooding or major accidents, for example.”
More than 100 municipalities using Powel Notification
Around 100 municipalities in Norway have so far adopted the solution, which automatically retrieves contact information for every resident from national contact and reservation registers such as Altinn or DigiPost producing a high hit rate when contacting residents by text, email or voicemail.
It is also easy to get a complete overview of active and historical notifications in the log.
“There are many advantages to the solution. You do not have to be in the office to raise an alert, which is very convenient now that many people are working from home. It is easy to use and improves service levels for residents. It also raises the quality of internal communication in the municipality. Everyone gets the same information and refers to the same alerts. This saves the municipalities a lot of time,” says the product manager for Powel Notification, Atle Vaaland.
Have you had any issues now that so many municipalities are using the solution at the same time?
“Yes, the outgoing alerts have taken a while longer than before. There is a lot of digital activity in the municipalities at the moment, but the messages are getting through,” says Vaaland.
Works on both mobile and PC
This time the municipalities were looking to reach all residents. The solution is normally used to warn of faults and defects in municipal water and sewage systems, often in a limited area. The application is designed to work equally well on mobile phones and PCs. The solution also includes intelligent templates, which prompt the area, date, and start and end times. That means you can confidently send out alerts wherever you are.
“The municipalities have a complete overview of who has been notified through the system and who has not,” says Vaaland.
In Lillehammer municipality, they are very happy with Powel Notification.
“Powel Notification is very efficient. We sent out a text alert to 25,640 recipients and struck out on 650 who did not receive it. We think this is pretty effective,” concludes Myklebust-Vårvang.