July 31, 2009

Notifi version 2 in Production Use

The first release of iFactor’s Notifi product version 2, which features support for interactive 2-way SMS text messaging workflows, was completed today. The solution is deployed at a large utility in the Southeast United States, just in time for the busy storm season.  This initial deployment of Notifi offers access to outage communications keywords as well as basic services such as registering and nicknaming accounts. The Notifi installation is designed to expand over subsequent phases of the project to enable additional customer service transactions such as billing and payment and energy management activities. Upcoming marketing releases will promote the service to customers, who simply text in their account information to register a device. Once registered, a customer can request outage details for their location by texting in the keyword “STAT” and can even report and outage by texting in “OUT”. The intelligent workflow processing within Notifi uses interactive text messaging to confirm the location the user wants to report an outage at and verify critical outage details. The data is then automatically entered into the outage management system for processing by dispatchers.  In addition to reporting and checking status, users receive proactive alerts about outages affecting their accounts, such as estimated restoration times, sent directly to the mobile device. The deployment of 2-way SMS text messaging offers a high speed, on the go, and low cost channel to customers.  This combination provides cost savings to the utility and improved satisfaction for the customer.  Thanks to the widespread adoption of mobile phones, and the almost universal support for SMS text messaging in these devices, this is a channel which is available in almost every home and business. The use of this channel for outage communications is further boosted by the simple fact that every mbile device is battery powered and thus reliable during outages. Because of the dedicated data channel on the carrier networks, delivery of SMS messages is even more reliable than voice traffic on the network, especially during major events. We’ll post more updates as the deployment proceeds with this solution, which is the latest addition to the most powerful and open outage communications system in North America.