Hosted Paging the Next Step in Modernizing Emory's Emergency Messaging Approach

March 4, 2011

The UTS Mobile Messaging Team recently moved over 4000 pager users from the old paging system to a new hosted system. Additionally, they put over 1000 new users on a Page to Cell service.

Last summer, the Mobile Messaging Team (formerly the Paging and Radio Team) reviewed the current Paging system, which was getting old and failing regularly. Over the course of several months last year, they had to remove paging transmitters from service in order to fix other paging transmitters due to lack of parts. This would not work going forward.

The initial plan looked at building a new paging system, but the cost for maintaining the increasingly outdated technology was over $1.5 million. The team was also in the midst of moving paging users over to a new service called Page to Cell, which sends the pages to cell phones, allowing the user to have to carry only one device. Unfortunately, moving everyone to Page to Cell would not be an option immediately, so an interim solutionwas needed.

The team decided to bring in a hosted solution as they made the transition over to Page to Cell. Not only did this solution avoid the costly price tag of a new paging system, it also saves money on the overall cost of the pagers. On the old system, costs included $170.00 for the pager, plus ongoing per message costs. With the new system, there is a small monthly cost and the per message cost. The small monthly cost would take over 3 years to equal the $170.00 one time cost to buy the pager. Also, the per message charge was likely to go down as well.

Once a hosted solution was chosen, the Mobile Messaging Team began talking to vendors who would manage that solution. Through a very strong review process, the team chose American Messaging as the vendor of choice. The subsequent switch-over process was not a trivial undertaking to coordinate 4000 pagers. Working closely with EHC management and their communication team, they implemented a schedule for getting everyone switched over smoothly.

The Mobile Messaging Team, consisting of John Hawkins, Tom Nguyen-Pham and Jason Stanaland did a fabulous job of planning and implementing this switch-over to the new system. They worked well with customers, EHC and the Help/Service Desks and the Call Center. Overall, this project has been a huge success.

For additional information on this or any other Emory OIT service, please contact the
University Service Desk at 404-727-7777, Monday - Friday 7 am - 6 pm.