• Planning for COVID-19 (coronavirus) as an Enterprise

    Lately, it seems difficult to carry on a conversation without mention of the coronavirus. We all know that this pandemic is starting its spread throughout the United States as it has many other countries, and this is likely to continue. Of course, nobody knows exactly how this will play out, so we are all hearing a wide range of outcomes from the very mild to the terribly ominous. But even in the most optimistic scenario, this virus is clearly going to affect the mindset of every employee, customer, or community member of your organization. Today, we’d like to share some of our thoughts at PunchAlert on what you can do as an organization.

    Our recommendation is to be extremely proactive in your outreach and communications. Over the last week, we have seen a significant increase in both the usage of our product and the focus on expanded rollouts across the globe. Below are some ideas on how you can use a product like ours to engage your employee or customer community while Covid-19 lingers as a concern:

    ANNOUNCEMENTS – Send periodic or daily announcements on a number of topics and leverage the interactive features (comments, yes/no surveys, location requests) to create an informed two-way conversation:

    1. Travel Policy – Inform employees of the current travel policy including whether overseas or national travel is permitted or on hold. If relevant, list all approved travel locations or off-limit sites.
    2. Conferences – Inform employees of your policy on upcoming conferences and whether any should be specifically avoided.
    3. Working from home – Remind employees if this is allowed, encouraged, or required on an office-by-office basis.
    4. Status Checks – Send announcements with Yes/No questions or Location requests to get a sense of where your folks are at a given time in relation to the current threats of the virus. This could inform your next decisions regarding forcing certain employees to self-quarantine or otherwise.
    5. Reporting Policy – Inform employees, customers, or community members how they should report a potential illness (their own or someone else) that may be a risk to others in the organization. Our recommendation is to create Tip Categories for this very sort of thing. Remind everyone that they can also use the Red Emergency Button if they feel there is a more urgent need to either get someone isolated or get them immediate medical attention.

    EMERGENCY PLANS – Create a variety of emergency plans related to the virus and upload them to PunchAlert. Then send out announcements informing people where they can find these plans (in the Explore tab by pressing the Organization name). In the event of an outbreak at an office, an emergency can be reported and the appropriate plan for that office will be distributed. This could help with safe evacuation procedures, for example.

    TIPS – As mentioned, we recommend creating tip categories for people to feel comfortable reporting a potential illness to the organization. This does not have to be limited to coronavirus. Anonymous reporting can be enabled, and the tip category can be kept private with only a limited number of tip responders being notified (to limit unnecessary panic). Everyone should feel safe reporting their own potential illness or someone else in proximity that may be a carrier of the virus. Crowdsourcing intelligence is absolutely critical!

    EMERGENCIES – Of course, this is at the discretion of the individual and your own policy as an organization. We recommend that you do not set too high a bar for reporting an emergency. Remind people that reporting an emergency only notifies the responder team, not the entire organization or even 911 unless 911+ is used. Once the internal responder team is aware of the incident, they can decide about making mass notifications. Please use this as a valuable tool should you need to empower your leadership to make fast, informed decisions. This will also open a 2-way chat amongst your responder team which includes 911 calling awareness (with 911+). All of this can be critical to a fast response.

    We’d love to get your thoughts as well. Please share how you might use PunchAlert as well as other technologies at your disposal to prepare for the spread of this virus. It is our privilege to work with such a wonderful community of people that deeply care about the safety of your constituents. Thank you for your support, and please, please… stay safe and healthy!

    Best regards,
    Greg Artzt

    Co-founder, CEO, Punch Technologies, Inc.

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  • PunchAlert And 911+ Support Charlotte During Tornado Threat


    Offering local organizations the ability to quickly and efficiently respond to natural disasters

    (Charlotte, North Carolina), (February 11, 2020) – On February 6, 2020, a Tornado moved quickly through the heart of the city over a two-hour window, forcing schools, organizations, and businesses to coordinate a fast response. While many organizations scrambled to manage the situation, those that utilize the PunchAlert safety communications platform were able to efficiently and effectively respond to the natural disaster.

    Punch has a significant presence in the Charlotte area, working with most of the private schools in the city (and some public), places of worship, YMCA’s, public venues, sports teams, commercial real-estate hubs, large companies, colleges and more.

    According to Punch’s anonymized data from February 6th, over 50 distinct customer organizations at separate locations used the platform with over 16,000 individual users, handling 35 emergencies with active 2-way discussion and mass notifications for each, sending 41 announcements (non-emergency alerts), and making 21 calls to 911+™.

    “As a Charlotte-based company, it was very important that we gain critical customer mass here, not only because it’s our home, but because the more local organizations that use the technology, the more effective it becomes,” said Greg Artzt, co-founder and CEO of Punch Technologies.

    The 911+ calls placed during this incident allowed individuals to create real-time awareness amongst colleagues that 911 was in fact called. This alleviated redundant pressure on the 911 call centers in Charlotte that were already receiving an abundance of calls and overload on their operation during the storm. 911+ also carries a number of other benefits including precise location awareness critical for routing an emergency to the nearest call center and simultaneous notifications to family members when appropriate.

    “With the help of Punch Alert, YMCA of Greater Charlotte was able to send mass communication to our staff, allowing for quick and effective activation of our emergency response action plans at 15 YMCA facilities throughout the region,” said Christy Priester, YMCA of Greater Charlotte’s association executive director of risk management. “Being able to activate our action plans on a large scale at multiple locations allowed our members, volunteers and team members to quickly get to safe areas.”

    Artzt concluded from the incident: “It is our great privilege to work so closely with our partners across the country and especially in our home community of Charlotte. We will work diligently to continue learning from these partners in improving our platform so that we are even better prepared for the next similar incident that may follow.”


    What’s Next at Punch

    Punch Technologies is also releasing a wearable, internet-connected, panic button product that connects to PunchAlert called Rescue. The new wearable platform, which comes with a base station and charging station, aims to set a new standard for reliability and performance during an emergency situation. YMCA’s in particular, have been pre-ordering the system across the country due to a very compelling, unique feature – the device automatically activates an emergency when submerged in water.

    About Punch Technologies, Inc.

    Punch Technologies is a Charlotte, North Carolina-based software company, and creator of the PunchAlert safety communications platform. PunchAlert gets you help and information faster by relying on the people, organizations, and official responders in your area. It is the only all-in-one mobile safety, emergency management and mass notification platform. Now with 911+, Punch enables the next generation of connectivity to 100 percent of the 911 call centers in the US and Canada via the PunchAlert app or 3rd party API’s (911+ Connect) for other service providers or product developers.

    For more information visit www.punchalert.com

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  • Johnson Controls and Punch Technologies, Inc. collaborate to deliver safety communication technology


    All-in-one safety communications platform offers businesses faster, more effective emergency management and communication

    (Charlotte, North Carolina), (July 26, 2019) – Punch Technologies, Inc. and Johnson Controls have finalized an agreement to bring an innovative safety communications platform to market. The platform, which can be integrated into businesses’ existing security systems, provides the opportunity to more easily and effectively communicate with employees, emergency responders and other surrounding businesses in the event of an emergency incident. Under the terms of the agreement, Johnson Controls will be the primary distributor of PunchAlert by Punch Technologies, Inc.

    “Our partnership with Johnson Controls is a tremendous step forward and is an opportunity for us to partner with a global leader in safety,” said Greg Artzt, Co-founder and CEO of Punch Technologies, Inc. “We will build on this exciting relationship to deliver safety communications for a wide range of public and private enterprises, first responders, campuses, and communities.”

    “In today’s always-evolving landscape of emergency events, it’s critical for businesses to have the necessary tools to easily and effectively communicate emergency plans and procedures with employees and building occupants,” said Hank Monaco, vice president, marketing, Johnson Controls. “This agreement is a continuation of Johnson Controls commitment to public safety by providing enterprises with a mechanism to report and react to emergencies and a means to further bolster security systems and safety procedures.”

    PunchAlert, launched in 2014, has already gained traction in the United States and Canada with both public and private organizations. The PunchAlert platform is designed to continuously innovate and solve customer pain points based on insights gained from partnerships. Building on its portfolio of offerings, Punch Technologies, Inc. will also launch Rescue, the most advanced safety wearable ever, in the first quarter of 2020.

    About Punch Technologies, Inc.

    Charlotte, North Carolina-based software company that is striving to give every person the power to make the world a safer place for them, their families, and their communities through efficient and integrated safety communications technologies.

    PunchAlert is a robust safety communications platform. PunchAlert provides organizations of all shapes and sizes an all in one emergency management and communications solution. PunchAlert provides the opportunity to communicate internally, crowdsource content, and involve local emergency responders while providing them with real-time information and manage all communications during an emergency situation. More importantly when building a community of safety PunchAlert exceeds expectations by keeping everyone safe, informed, and connected.

    911+ is an integrated feature allowing a direct connection to a 911 operator and providing an accurate location to the 911 call center with your mobile phone. 911+ Connect leverages the 911+ feature allowing it to be integrated with all connected devices or applications using a simple, yet powerful API.

    About Johnson Controls

    Johnson Controls is a global leader creating a safe, comfortable and sustainable world. Our 105,000 employees create intelligent buildings, efficient energy solutions and integrated infrastructure that work seamlessly together to deliver on the promise of smart cities and communities in 150 countries. Our commitment to sustainability dates back to our roots in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat. We are committed to helping our customers win everywhere, every day and creating greater value for all of our stakeholders through strategic focus on our buildings and energy growth platforms. For additional information, please visit http://www.johnsoncontrols.com or follow us @johnsoncontrols on Twitter.


    Ryan Nolan
    Global Public Relations Program Manager, Johnson Controls

    Ashley Davis
    VP Community Engagement, PunchAlert

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  • New Integration: Rise Vision

    Ever since the initial launch of the PunchAlert platform, we have strived to integrate with the systems that our customers already had in place. That effort or commitment has not changed.

    One area that we’ve never been able to focus on or promote, is Digital Signage. We’ve been asked about it many times, but the landscape wasn’t clear enough for us to really focus on and pursue. That recently changed. We were asked by an enterprise prospect, which ones (digital signage) we supported; and we offered up two. Those solutions/integrations were driven by our customers and the integrations were done by them as well.

    We made a command decision to officially and formally partner with a Digital Signage company and offer the integration natively on the PunchAlert platform.

    When we started reviewing the Digital Signage landscape, there were a few frontrunners, but none as elegant or easy to work with as Rise Vision (risevision.com). Several of our existing customers had hacked together solutions that worked for them, but we wanted to make it easier and, well, more integrated. So, we’ve done just that. We are very proud to announce our partnership and support for Rise Vision Digital Signage.

    If you are in the market for a Digital Signage product, or maybe looking to upgrade your existing digital signage, we strongly encourage you to give Rise Vision a look and try it out; you will not be disappointed.



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  • Hurricanes – How PunchAlert Can Help

    We all know that communication is critical in preparing, managing and successfully resolving any kind of crisis.  This is especially the case during a Hurricane like Florence and Michael.  Whether you have PunchAlert for your organization, are considering it, or using some other product, this post is intended to highlight the many ways a safety communications platform can be helpful before, during, and after a Hurricane.  I will also emphasize how you, as an individual, can benefit from downloading the PunchAlert app for yourself and using it with your family and community to stay safe.  So here we go:


    —   BEFORE   —


    For Your Organization

    1.  Create as much awareness as possible so people can get properly prepared.  So use the Announcement module from the mobile app or web console (if you are an Announcement Admin) to send out announcements to all your employees, customers, students, parents, or general public about how your organization is preparing for the storm.

    2.  Leverage every channel: 1) Push notifications, 2) SMS, 3) Email, 4) Calls, 5) Social Media, 6) Website Widget, and other integrations to reach your audience wherever they are.

    3.  Remind folks to download PunchAlert and Follow your Organization (if they aren’t already a private member or public follower) to get your announcements and receive all the other benefits of the app during and after the storm (see below)

    4.  Make it a 2-way conversation by enabling comments so your target audience can post responses or questions through the PunchAlert app. Far too often mass notifications are sent, but then questions have no way of getting answered.

    5.  Keep sending announcements to remind people how to prepare for the storm, what to expect on your campus, when your organization will be open or closed, and anything else that might be helpful.  You cannot over-communicate before a Hurricane, so now is the time to reach out.


    For Yourself, Your Family and Community

    1.  Make sure you have the app downloaded, with 911+ enabled.  Add your friends and family as emergency contacts so they can be notified if you call 911 including your exact location.

    2.  Explore all the organizations in your area that have PunchAlert communities and Follow them so you can get the updates you need.

    3.  Post Tips to an organization or publicly to be helpful to your surrounding your community.  This can include notifying folks where gasoline, water, flashlights, or other supplies are available or out of stock.


    —   DURING   —

    For Your Organization

    1.  Press the red button to report an Emergency if you are on your organization’s property during the storm and conditions become very dangerous.

    2.  Use 911+ to call 911 and simultaneously alert your organization’s responders. Keep in mind that often during a storm 911 operators become overwhelmed with calls.

    3.  Notify official responders by escalating the emergency if your internal responders are unable to provide the necessary help.  This is only available in certain cities, for example, in Charlotte, NC this would notify their Real-time Crime Center of your emergency (if they’ve agreed to monitor your organization).  This would provide them with a real-time view to your location on property including 2-way communication capabilities.

    4.  Notify other groups within your organization or the general public of the emergency to then send mass emergency updates and crowdsource information throughout the emergency.

    5.  Monitor PunchAlert for Tips or Emergencies posted on your property.

    6.  Keep your public informed with periodic Announcements during the storm.


    For Yourself, Your Family and Community

    1.  Call 911+ if you need help or on behalf of someone else in need.

    2.  Post Tips to the public around you to inform your neighbors if you have lost power, trees have fallen on your property, road hazards, or other information that could be helpful.


    —   AFTER   —


    For Your Organization

    1. It’s cleanup time.  Send out announcements to let everyone know the plan.

    2. Encourage people to keep posting tips as they see hazards or other issues on property that require attention.

    3. Monitor and Resolve open tips on your property as you get things cleaned up.


    For Yourself, Your Family and Community

    1. Keep posting Tips to your community or organizations around you as you see items that need attention.

    2. Monitor PunchAlert for Tips and Announcements so you can stay informed and help out as needed.


    Interested in learning more?  Reach out for a demo at https://punchalert.com/contact-us/





    The PunchAlert Team

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