After one year providing our Community Text Alert service to groups across Ireland we noticed something very strange: There is a massive requirement by community groups to offer alerts by channels other than SMS Text Message. You might think that this would include a move towards Smartphone Apps and social media sites, but the feedback we received from groups showed that the opposite was true. What groups really want are Landline Alerts!
It didn't take long for us to figure out the reasoning for this. Many group managers mentioned that the people living in their communities who were most vulnerable to crime were elderly citizens who didn't own a mobile phone (and definitely not a smartphone!). So what groups really wanted was a quick, easy and cost-effective way to contact these community members using landline phone calls. And that is when they contacted Pin Point Alerts to see how we could improve our service to include this feature.
We developed a new feature in the system whereby group managers can make a phone call to our system (a dedicated Irish landline number) to leave a voice message. We analyse the message and automatically call the subscribers' landline phone numbers and leave them a voice message. So rather than hearing a computerised voice leave a difficult-to-understand message, we allow the group manager to leave a single message with us and we play this message back to elderly citizens.
The really important thing is that we have automated this task. So as soon as a group manager leaves us a voice message we instantly deliver this to landline subscribers without any delays. Whether it is 5 landlines we need to call or 50, it only takes a minute or so to deliver all these voice messages at the same time.
There are no costs to set this up for any community alert group who uses the Pin Point Community Text Alert service. We charge a small flat rate to cover this cost for each phone call made (price available upon request) and we do not time the phone call. So if it takes you 1 minutes or 3 minutes to leave your message it doesn't matter to us. There is no cost for the subscriber to pick up the phone and receive these alerts - it is free for people to receive landline alerts from us.
So while other areas of Pin Point Aerts are developing next generation smartphone applications to meet client needs, Community Text Alert feedback from groups has shown that the best way of contacting vulnerable members of society is through mobile phone and also through the very traditional method of Landline Phone Calls.
About Pin Point Community Text Alert:
Pin Point Community Text Alert was established by Pin Point Alerts Ltd during 2013 to coincide with the launch of a national strategy for Community Text Alert. This national strategy was launched in partnership with Neighbourhood Watch,Muintir na Tire and An Garda Siochana.
If you are already one of the 100+ community alert groups in Ireland using our service then please get in touch and we can activate the Landline Alert feature on your behalf. If you community alert group is not using our service then get in touch and we can guide you through the set up process.
Contact Pin Point Alerts now and we will supply you with various material about how the Pin Point Community Text Alert service operates.
Pin Point Alerts are acutely aware of the financial challenges faced by Community Text Alert groups of all sizes. The main expense is the individual of a text message which is at the very heart of "Community Text Alert." With SMS Text message rate facing price increases from the phone networks it meant that groups needed an alternative way to "alert" their subscribers in a cost-effective manner. This is why Pin Point Alerts have developed their very own smartphone app for community text alert. The App is available for Smartphones on the Apple/iOS and Android platforms. The App delivers alerts by bypassing the phone networks, ie, alerts are delivered over the Internet (wifi or data plan) at little or no cost to the group. In fact our Text Alert App alerts are 100% for the first year for all groups using our service.
Download our Smartphone App Brochure
The App is very easy to use and there is no effort on the part of the community alert group manager to make sure the App works within a group. Pin Point carry out all the necessary work in the background with the App to make things easy for you. If your subscribers do not own a smartphone then they will get the default SMS text message as normal. However for those of your subscribers who do own a smartphone the App offers an extremely effective way to reduce your running costs for Community Text Alert. The App is free to download from the App Store and Google Play.
Download our Community Text Alert Costs and Service Plans
The main benefits of the App are as follows:
Arrange a demo of the App on your smartphone.
Rathdanagan Community Text Alert set up with Pin Point during February 2014 with 136 subscribers. Between February and October 2014 they issued 18 community text alerts in partnership with An Garda Siochana (Baltinglass Garda District). We caught up wiuth their Group Secretary Ann Marie Kavangh who gave us her views on Rathdangan and their experience in setting up a Community Text Alert.
Case Study: Rathdangan, by Ann Marie Kavanagh (Secretary):
Rathdangan Community Council in the spring of 2013 carried out a survey within the Rathdangan area to see what the local people wanted and concerns that they may have. This was part of a 5 year development plan. There was very keen interest for a text alert scheme in the area. Thankfully crime is not a problem in our area and that'™s the way we would like to keep it.
In Winter 2013 we called a public meeting in the local community hall with the view to setting up a text alert scheme. We advertised the meeting in local newspapers, parish newsletter, village website, facebook and word of mouth. We had representation from Muintir na Tire, our local community Garda and guests from neighbouring community alert groups present. We had an attendance of approximately 50 people at the meeting. There was great interest in the scheme and a willingness to help out to get it up and running.
We asked people to sign a form if they would be interested in going on a committee or willing to help out. From the group who were willing to go on a committee we set up a working committee. We had spoken to another text alert group who had a designated person hold a mobile phone and send the texts. The individual was not really happy with the way it worked and the time delay in relaying the message to the public. So the Pinpoint system was of great interest to us. We decided to go ahead and use Pinpoint as our provider.
It was agreed by the committee that a ‚¬10 membership fee per mobile number should hopefully cover the set-up costs (Subscription to Pinpoint, affiliation to Muintir na Tire, design and manufacturing of signs for within the Text Alert Area, poles for signs etc). The committee members along with other helpers distributed set-up forms to all homes that would be within our text alert area. Initially, I had to liaise with Pinpoint Alert to ensure that the information that I was going to submit to Pinpoint was in the correct format. I found them very helpful and prompt.
Download Info on our Text Alert Costs and Service Plans
We agreed a go live date of February 1st 2014. I sent the first 2 message and now the Gardai have access to our Text Alert system and this allows them to send messages directly from the Garda station in Baltinglass to all members of our Text Alert Scheme. The relationship within our community and Gardai is very positive. To date we have got very positive feedback from both Gardai and the public about how the system is operating. As a result of having a text alert scheme in our area it has definitely made people more vigilant as to suspicious activity by people or vehicles acting in a suspicious manner in the area. I think that elderly people also perhaps feel more secure knowing that such a scheme is in place. Recently, as a result of the text alert schemes 4 men were arrested in Baltinglass on suspicion of various robberies within the county. They were released without charge and a file is being prepared for DPP.
The Pinpoint system is very easy to use from an administrator point of view. We currently have 136 members. You can manage your subscribers on the Pinpoint website (add new members, edit their phone number, delete members etc). The report facilities are great as you can see how many credits you have, check your alert history log, payment history, a log of messages delivered, failed etc. It is a very user friendly system. To date we have sent 18 text alerts from the system.
Ann Marie KavanaghRathdangan Text Alert Secretary
Pin Point Community Text Alert was established by Pin Point Alerts Ltd during 2013 to coincide with the launch of a national strategy for Community Text Alert. This national strategy was launched in partnership with Neighbourhood Watch,Muintir na Tire and An Garda Siochana. This strategy was formalised by An Garda Siochana when they published a set ofGarda Text Alert Guidelines that were launched at the National Ploughing Championships on Sept 24th 2013. We are one of only two nominated text alert service providers by Muintir Na Tire.
Ann Marie refers to our website which is available to the group manager. Once a group decides to use our service we provide them with a unique login so they can easily manage the day to day administrative tasks associated with Text Alert. When you are setting up your Text Alert group you should know that there is some responsibility involved and the community must assign someone with some basic tasks as follows:
We provide a website for you to do these tasks in a self-service manner. Our groups are extremely complimentary about this service which is available to all groups. The website is designed with simplicity in mind and it saves lots of time for the group in terms of managing the admin. side of their Text Alert service.
Arrange a brief consultation with Pin Point Alerts for your group
Pin Point Community Text Alert is used by a large number of groups across Ireland. As of September 2014 the service is linked to over35 Garda District headquarters across Ireland. The service is easy to set up, it is cost effective for groups of all sizes and it is easy to maintain. We are happy to speak with groups of all sizes to answer any questions about what is involved in setting up.
One of the first groups to set up with Pin Point Community Text Alert after we were formally announced as a preferred service provider by Muintir Na Tire was Roseberry-Tankardsgarden, just outside Newbridge Co. Kildare. Since setting up during August 2013 they have issued 34 community text alerts. This figure is a combination of texts issued by the group directly and also alerts that were issued by Newbridge Garda Station to Pin Point directly. Raphael Ryan is the group chairman and we caught up with him to get his reflections on their Text Alert service over the past 15 months.
Case Study: Roseberry - Tankardsgarden, by Raphael Ryan (Chairman):
Roseberry and Tankardsgarden lie on the edge of Newbridge, Co Kildare. Quite a bit of Roseberry has an urban population but the rest of the district stretches out as far as the bog and along the Liffey valley. A development that is quite similar to any large town in Ireland. With an active community throughout the district ? highlights of the year like the Social Evening in the autumn, a Senior Citizens night in the summer, a table quiz for fund raising in the spring, and regular get-togethers to clean up the roadsides and embankments ? the citizens of Roseberry and Tankardsgarden have the habit of looking out for each other.
Then, as crime levels rose throughout rural Ireland and houses in the area experienced those unexpected 'calls', a growing number of concerned locals were very willing to consider a mobile text system to keep everyone in contact with what was going on. The residents'™ committee examined the various options, got advice from the Garda Liaison Officer, Conor McHugh, and we organized a number of meetings to inform everybody. We invited Councillor Martin Miley, from the Athy/Balitore area where he had organized a successful text alert system, to give a talk to the residents. The committee worked hard to select the right system for them, and Pin Point Alerts was the one we chose.
We have now been operating Text Alert for over a year (our second year subscriptions are due in the late summer/early autumn). It has been a very positive experience for all concerned. Greater awareness of what was happening in the locality was one benefit, apart from receiving the alerts for suspicious activity and security issues. In the past year there has been a notable reduction in robberies/burglaries, and common events organized by the committee have been well attended as a result of the easy access to people the text alert affords.
In the coming year we are trying to get everybody communicating by email too, especially for non critical messages, notices about local events and longer informative pieces that can'™t be sent by text. But everybody likes the text alerts and the fact that the Gardai are also sending out text that they think relevant to the area'™s security, although their involvement might mean more texts being sent out and, therefore, a greater cost to the community. But we have fund-raising events to help with that and other necessities in the area.
Raphael Ryan, Chairperson of Roseberry, Tankardsgarden & District Residents Association, Co. Kildare
Pin Point Community Text Alert was established by Pin Point Alerts Ltd during 2013 to coincide with the launch of a national strategy for Community Text Alert. This national strategy was launched in partnership with Neighbourhood Watch,Muintir na Tire and An Garda Siochana. This strategy was formalised by An Garda Siochana when they published a set of Garda Text Alert Guidelines that were launched at the National Ploughing Championships on Sept 24th 2013.
Raphael refers to the committee working hard on choosing a suitable provider for their Community Text Alert. We are happy to speak to your group on numerous occasions to ensure you fully understand how our service works and hopw much it costs. In some cases we speak with a group up to 10 times before they make their decision and we are always happy to answer the phone and speak to these groups. Both the group and ourselves are therefore always on the same page and when they "go live" they know exactly how the system operates and what features it provides. All groups that get in touch with us receive a comprehensive information pack that runs through the various set up stages of Community Text Alert. From here the group might ask for various clarifications for their unique scenario (every groups has slightly different needs!) and we will offer all the support that is required.
Arrange a consultation with Pin Point Alerts for your group
Pin Point Community Text Alert is used by a large number of groups across Ireland. As of September 2014 the service is linked to over 35 Garda District headquarters across Ireland. The service is easy to set up, it is cost effective for groups of all sizes and it is easy to maintain. We are happy to speak with groups of all sizes to answer any questions about what is involved in setting up.
Michael Slevin of Baylin Mount Temple Community Text Alert provided a background to their use of the Pin Point Community Text Alert service and how it has been used for approximately 18 months as an excellent example of community text alert service in Co. Westmeath. The group are affiliated to Muintir na Tire and are operating in the Athlone Garda District (Westmeath Garda Division).
Case Study: Baylin Mount Temple, by Michael Slevin (Chairman):
Due to an increase in criminal activity in our area and surrounds a number of people got together and spoke to an Garda Siochana on what could be done in relation to improving the situation in our area. The group were directed to speak to the Crime Prevention Officer for the region. Following on from a meeting with him a general meeting was called and upwards on 150 people attended. The Crime prevention Officer gave a presentation and Muintir Na Tire were also present as they were invited on the advice of the Crime Prevention Officer. Documentation was distributed throughout the attendance and at the conclusion of the meeting a Committee was elected to set up a local Community Alert. A Chairperson, Secretary, and Treasurer were elected as was a Committee. The new Chairman wanted two representatives from each town land within the parish and they were put in place by people who offered their services. We ended up with 28 on a Committee.
A number of meeting took place with the Committee and it was agreed that we would need a contribution from each household within the parish should they wish to join the scheme. The contribution figure was agreed. We ended up with in excess of 500 households contributing. PL Insurance was arranged to cover all committee members. An application form was designed and the catchment areas designed for the committee. The two committee members from the areas delivered and collected the forms together with the monies and reported back to a meeting within a month. A subcommittee was chosen to arrange signs to be made and agree design with Muintir Na Tire, meet with the Co. Council and agree where they could be erected, and agree a team of people to put all in place when delivered.
The Chairman and Secretary were given the task of arranging a service provider for the scheme. A number of providers across the country were interviewed to ascertain what type of service they could provide and more importantly what training and backup they could provide. Cost per text was also a determining factor. Pin Points Alert was chosen as our provider due to their hands on approach and their sheer professionalism. We uploaded all our data on to their systems under the Data Protection Acts and complete confidentially in ensured for all members at all times. In fact their team spent a considerable amount of time working with us and An Garda Siochana to make the system for sending out texts as user friendly as possible at minimum cost. Since we started the scheme we have had no issues with the system and we are contacted on a regular basis by the Managing Director to see if their service meets our requirements. We buy credits from Pin Points and our account is structured and visible as to how much we spend per group text, who received them and who did not for different reasons (small numbers) but could be because of coverage etc. In fact we can structure our texts to send to different areas within our parish should we so wish, to the Committee separately or to an individual if desired.
Fundraising is always a concern and we have initiated a number of fundraising events over the past twelve months to keep monies in our account. Our scheme in the main only covers text alerts as we have an Active Age Group in or parish who look after personal alarms etc for the Active Age in our parish. Our committee keep in touch with people in their respective town lands and should there be any issues they want highlighted we can do this by text to all members. This is done separately to calls from households to An Garda Siochana on crime related issues.
Mr. Michael Slevin, Chairman of Baylin Mount Temple Community Text Alert, Co. Westmeath
Pin Point Community Text Alert was established by Pin Point Alerts Ltd during 2013 to coincide with the launch of a national strategy for Community Text Alert. This national strategy was launche din partnership with Neighbourhood Watch, Muintir na Tire and An Garda Siochana. This strategy was formalised by An Garda Siochana when they published a set of Garda Text Alert Guidelines that were launched at the National Ploughing Championships on Sept 24th 2013.
Pin Point Community Text Alert is used by a large number of groups across Ireland. As of September 2014 the service is linked to over 35 Garda District headquarters across Ireland. The service is easy to set up, is cost effective for groups of all sizes and it is easy to maintain. We are happy to speak with groups of all sizes to answer any questions about what is involved in setting up. Mind you, Michael Slevin offers a great summary of our service above!
Arrange a consultation with Pin Point Alerts for your Text Alert Group