Understanding the Basic Concepts of AlertDispatcher Pro

What is AlertDispatcher Pro?

AlertDispatcher Pro is a powerful web-based application that facilitates realtime communication between a user - typically a dispatcher or someone in a central communications role - and both individuals and groups of numbers.  The most common example of this would be a dispatcher communicating with field personnel such as linemen or repair specialists in the field.  Dispatchers will use a computer or tablet to send and receive messages; the people with whom the dispatcher is communicating will use their phone's standard text messaging app.  No download, third-party app or learning curve is involved.  

Sending/Receiving Messages to Individuals

When the dispatcher sends a message from AlertDispatcher Pro using any web browser to an individual it will arrive from the main number of dispatch center in the standard SMS app that is found on every phone manufactured worldwide, whether a standard "feature" phone (such as the old "flip-phone" style) or an updated smartphone like an iPhone or Android phone.  The person in the field receiving the message does not need a special device nor do they need to find, download or learn any apps.  The message they receive will arrive on the same SMS app as the ones they receive from family, friends and colleagues.  

When the person receiving the message responds to it the message will appear on the screen of the dispatcher in a format that looks exactly like that of a cell phone.  This avoids any learning curve and accelerates the speed at which dispatchers can use all of the advanced features of the system.

Every message between an individual and the dispatcher will be seen in a different "thread" on the dispatcher's screen in much the same way that they would see messages from different people on their phone.  

Sending/Receiving Messages Using Groups

Messages can also be sent from the dispatcher to a group.  The group could be a weekend on-call group, an emergency response team, a group of executives that have to stay informed about outage developments, etc.  There are no restrictions to who is in the group or to how many people are in the group.  When anyone from the group responds to the message from the dispatcher it will appear on the dispatcher's screen just as a message from an individual does.  When "chatting" this way with a group, ALL of the responses from all of the individuals in the group will appear in that same thread, making it easy for the dispatcher to see everything that's going on in that group.  

The dispatcher has a choice of allowing whether all of the replies from all of the members of the group are seen only by the dispatcher or by everyone in the group.  If the dispatcher wants everyone in the group to see every response that everyone sends to the group's thread then the thread is set up as a "Conversation."  If the dispatcher wants the responses from anyone in the group to be visible only to them, then the thread is set up as a "Distribution List."  

This gives the dispatcher the flexibility of allowing everyone in the group to have an interactive "chat" via their own standard SMS app or to have a private, discrete conversation with everyone in the group at the same time.  

Using groups is a powerful function that makes communication between the dispatcher and multiple people in the field efficient and fast.  Members of a group can be easily changed with a mouse-click.  Add members to or remove members from a group by simply clicking a checkbox next to their name in the group list.  

Using the Address Book

The Address Book forms the heart of AlertDispatcher Pro.  No opt-ins are required and no keywords are needed.  The dispatcher simply enters the first and last name and phone number of the user with whom they want to "chat" - that's all it takes.  Users can be added easily and a handy "Save and Add Another" button allows the dispatcher to quickly add many numbers.  

In the Address Book you can easily assign a new or existing number to a group so that it becomes part of that group as you create the Address Book entry.  

A summary of the important terms

  • Private threads are 1:1 message exchanges between the dispatcher and a single individual.
  • Groups are collections of individuals from the Address Book giving the dispatcher the convenience of contacting multiple people at the same time.
  • Conversations are threads in which all messages can be seen by all members of the thread in addition to the dispatcher.  Whenever a member replies to any message it is sent to everyone in the thread including the dispatcher.
  • Distribution lists are threads in which messages can only be seen by the dispatcher and the sender.  Whenever a participant replies to a message sent from the dispatcher it goes only to the dispatcher, not to the other members of the thread.  The dispatcher sees all messages from members of the distribution list in the same thread.

What more is there to know?

Plenty.  See the additional "How Do I" guides about: