Notification Services for Everyday Life PDF Print E-mail
Written by Graydon   
Tuesday, 21 November 2006
Imagine for a moment...
 
You just left work a bit early after a hectic day where it feels like you've been going 100 mph and never had time to think about this afternoon and your daughter's mid week soccer game.
 
You've been running errands all day and are rushing through the grocery store so that you can get home, put stuff away and shoot back out the door to pick up your son and make it to T-ball practice.
 
You're sitting in the car at midnight at the highschool parking lot waiting for the bus to get back from the out of town game.
 
 
Most have, or will, do these and similar items only to find out...
 
 - The soccer game was cancelled because the lights aren't working
 - T-ball practice is cancelled because the coach is sick
 - The bus is late because of a traffic issue on the highway
 
Now, you've wasted time and perhaps been needlessly worried because you didn't know what was going on.
 
Let's fix that.
 
First... there are companies that offer services that could be kinda used for the issues above.  And I mean KINDA.  They tend to be focused on business services with a few that actually market to "team notifications" and a lot that focus on emergency notifications.  There's at least one that caters to school systems but not quite in the way I'm thinking.
 
But this is good.  It means that the technology is there.
 
So, how are we going to fix our issue? 
 
 
 
Let's think about the basic service that would be offered.
 
 - We need to be able to send out any combination of the following:
   --  text message to phones
   --  email message to any email address 
   --  voice message to any phone
 
 - We need to be able to accept a message from:
   --  voicemail left
   --  email message sent in
   --  text message sent in
 
 - So we need some technology to do:
   --  text to voice
   --  voice to text
   --  email
   --  text messaging
   --  automated calling
 Note - all of this tech is available
 
 
So, what are we going to do with all of this?  Who would want this type of service?
 
 
Let's brainstorm...
  • A local rec sport organization needs to let people know that the fields are closed due to the lights are out or games are cancelled because of weather or that the online schedule has been updated for this weekend or that pictures have been rescheduled or...
  • A coach needs to let his team know that practice has been cancelled or moved...
  • A school needs to update parents that a bus is delayed but that all the kids are fine...
  • An individual wants to update friends on when / where a party is... 
  • A business wants to build some hype by offering limited time sales notice to it's members...
  • A daycare / school needs to notify a parent that a child is sick...
  • Anybody wants to notify someone that the flight is delayed / early...
  • Basically, someone wants to let somebody know something...
 
Sound great... but how does it work?
 
 
Simple enough...
 
The notifier goes online and sets up an account for free.  They provide information on the type of notices that would be sent, the locale and perhaps other demographic data that could be put to fair and reasonable use.  Allow them to setup different types of notices or categorize the people that would receive the notifications.  They then receive a phone number and extension to use for recorded messages as well as an email address to use for text messages... all based upon how they want to manage their notices or categories.
 
The person that would be receiving the notice goes online and finds the person / organization that they want notices from as well as the type of notices they want to receive (i.e. schedule changes for the Blue team or weather cancellations or whatever).  They also indicate the delivery option(s).  You could ask them for some demographic data as well, but I'm thinking that could make that up to the person / org that is serving as the notifier.
 
Then, whenever something comes up... the notifier uses the email address or phone to "post" the announcement and it gets sent out to the points indicated by the receiver.
 
 
Sounds great doesn't it?
 
But how does the service provider make any money?
 
Since you want to be able to build critical mass in users... you could consider a free service to the users that is subsidized by advertisement dollars.  The information gathered from the initial sign-ups can be used to provide locale based ads as well as content based ads.
 
As with most services, you can offer "premium" ad free communications based upon various fee schedules (i.e. number of people receiving the notice or number of notices over some time frame). 
 
Ad free sponsorships... In this case, it's not completely ad free... just the communications are.  You sell ad slots that show up on the sign-up pages online that again can be based upon locale or content.
 
 
Some other thoughts (some being done already)...
  • A real estate agent / broker could setup a notification system to let clients know about the latest listings... 
  • A "middle-man" service could send out notices about garage sales in particular areas...
  • Bloggers could push posts to subscribers without RSS...
  • Airlines could ditch their internal flight notification systems and use this service...
  • Cities could incorporate this to notify drivers of last minute construction issues or accidents...
  • Weather sites could push storm information...
  • The cable / phone / plumber / other service provider can notify you of when they'll get to your house...
  • An auction site notifies you when a new bid has been placed...
  • Etc...
OK, I realize that it's not always as simple as it sounds... but be the one that offers the complete solution scalable to the demand and accessible to the many... it's going to be a winner.
 
 
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 21 November 2006 )
 
< Prev   Next >