Combining Lockdown and Alerting Tasks for Enhanced Communication

Using a mass notification system, organizations can enhance safety and communication by connecting to on-premises and mobile devices to broadcast emergency messages, as well as physical security devices, such as electronic door locks, that provide added assistance during a crisis.

Guest OpEd by Paul Shain, President and CEO of Singlewire Software

The more someone has to do the more likely it is that something falls through the cracks.

When someone is out running errands, this may not be the end of the world, but when it comes to executing a safety plan, missing a step can have serious consequences.

The simpler an organization can make its safety plan, the more likely they are to successfully execute it when it matters most.

Take the January 6th attack at the US Capitol building as an example. When the building was stormed, personnel inside the building were alerted quickly and ushered to safe locations.

However, the building itself was not properly locked down. Doors were left wide open, and rudimentary barricades were often easily overcome.

This allowed people to roam freely entering offices and chambers unimpeded. This is less than ideal when dealing with a person or persons who may intend to cause others harm.

(At 1:13 p.m. on Jan. 6, a D.C. police commander facing a swelling crowd of protesters on the west side of the U.S. Capitol made an urgent call for more officers in riot gear. “Hard gear at the Capitol! Hard gear at the Capitol!” Cmdr. Robert Glover shouted into his radio. Over the next 78 minutes, Glover requested backup at least 17 times, according to a Washington Post analysis of the events, and the mob on the west side eventually grew to at least 9,400 people, outnumbering officers by more than 58 to one. This Washington Post examination reveals how police were hampered by an insufficient number of officers and shortages of less-lethal weapons and protective equipment and also provides a glimpse into communications breakdowns within the police response. Courtesy of the The Washington Post and YouTube. Posted on Jan 15, 2021.)

Organizations should have plans in place to protect people and property to minimize potential damage and reduce risk.

One solution that some organizations have implemented in combining alerting and lockdown tasks using a mass notification system.

With a mass notification system, organizations can enhance safety and communication by connecting to on-premises and mobile devices to broadcast emergency messages, as well as physical security devices, such as electronic door locks, that provide added assistance during a crisis.

Using a single tool saves time and minimizes the risk of someone missing a critical step that may impact someone’s safety.

(What is InformaCast from Singlewire Software? InformaCast is a comprehensive emergency mass communication solution that allows it’s users to leverage on site devices to IP phones, monitors, overhead paging systems, panic buttons and others to reach on premises employees, while also leverage mobile devices, Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex Teams to remote workers. Courtesy of Singlewire Software and YouTube.)

Before an event even occurs, organization leaders can gather to discuss what kind of situation would constitute a lockdown.

Once that has been determined, they can pre-build text and audio messages within the mass notification system with clear instructions on what kind of actions people should take in the event of a lockdown.

Messages can even be segmented into different groups or particular areas of a facility.

It may be prudent to send a different message to the security team then the one sent to the general population, and you may only need to lockdown a particular wing or floor instead of an entire building depending on the severity of the situation.

Should an incident take place that requires a lockdown, messages can be easily triggered using a physical or virtual panic button, keyboard shortcut, speed dial, computer web console or mobile app.

This flexibility means that notifications can be triggered the moment someone sees an event unfold so no time is wasted getting to the right area or device to send out alerts.

Notifications can be sent to on-premises devices such as IP phones, IP speakers, desktop computers, and digital signage, as well as mobile devices.

Utilizing multiple devices to deliver a message offers a better chance of someone seeing or hearing it quickly and taking appropriate action to stay safe.

When a lockdown notification is activated, it can also trigger electronic door locks to protect sensitive areas. This can often be done via a contact closure and a mass notification system’s API.

Locking doors can prevent people from entering certain areas where they might harm others, and in some cases can contain an unwanted intruder until help arrives to help resolve the situation.

Managing a lockdown can also be accomplished with a mass notification system.

Following an alert distribution, key stakeholders can be invited into a virtual space to assess the situation. Invites can be sent to join collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams or Cisco Webex Teams, or a conference call.

This allows organizations to quickly gather the right people who can decide how to best respond to the situation.

Real-time insights can be gained from sending out notifications that ask for a response. This helps stakeholders identify who is safe and who needs assistance during a lockdown.

When the situation has been resolved, mass notification systems can be used to send out an “all clear” message and unlock doors. This reduces the impact of the event by helping operations return to normal as quickly as possible.

To successfully implement this kind of solutions takes time, planning and education.

Different departments need to be included in conversations so people understand when to initiate a lockdown and where those messages will be coming from.

With everyone working together towards the same goal, organizations can save time, extend the reach of their messages and bolster their safety plans to provide secure environments for their people.

(See how your organization could perform a facility-wide lockdown in the event of an emergency by sending a live or pre-recorded emergency mass notification from a desk phone, mobile phone, web console or dedicated panic button, and activate physical security or lighting systems to secure buildings. Courtesy of Singlewire Software and YouTube.)

To Learn More about utilizing lockdowns and emergency alerts, please visit

About the Author

Paul Shain serves as the president and CEO of Singlewire Software, developers of InformaCast. He has led the strategic direction of the company since its founding in 2009. Under Paul’s direction, the Singlewire team has grown from a handful of people to over 100 employees.

Paul Shain, President and CEO at Singlewire Software
Paul Shain, President and CEO at Singlewire Software

Paul is a seasoned technology industry executive who previously was Senior Vice President and Executive Committee Member at CDW, a leading provider of technology products and services for business, government, and education.

Prior to CDW, Paul was CEO of Madison-based Berbee Information Networks Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CDW Corporation, acquired by CDW in October 2006.

Paul began his career in the Investment business, serving as Managing Director and Director of Research for Robert W. Baird & Co., Inc., a regional investment banking firm headquartered in Milwaukee, WI. Paul’s focus at Baird was the Information Technology Services space.

Paul graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a bachelor’s degree and MBA in finance. Paul holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and has served on executive partner councils for both IBM Corporation and Cisco Systems.

In addition, Paul currently serves on the board of directors for Fiduciary Management Inc., American Family Insurance Company, and the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association.

Singlewire Software Returns to Compete in 2021 ASTORS’ Awards Program

American Security Today’s ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards program is now in its Sixth Year and continues to recognize the Outstanding Innovations of top firms and agencies in the Homeland Security and Public Safety fields.

2020 was a very challenging year for everyone due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the much heralded AST ‘ASTORS’ Awards Winners Presentations and exclusive Luncheon at the Jacob Javits Center in NYC had to be canceled and rescheduled for 2021 due to the virus.

Mike Madsen, Publisher, American Security Today
Mike Madsen, Publisher, American Security Today

However, the 2020 ‘ASTORS’  Homeland Security Awards Program was again a huge success and many new categories were added including a section for COVID-19 Detection and Innovation.

Singlewire Software Takes Three in 2020 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program

Singlewire Software (First of Three)

Best Mass Notification System (Application)

      • InformaCast Fusion with Microsoft Teams

    • InformaCast Fusion with Microsoft Teams from Singlewire Software gives the 500,000 organizations utilizing Microsoft Teams the ability to leverage the mass notification power of InformaCast Fusion for security and communication.

    • In an emergency, every moment matters, and organizations need communication systems that reach all their people quickly, and the faster a message goes out, the more time security personnel have to respond to and manage the situation at hand.

(InformaCast emergency mass notification integrates with Microsoft Teams to simultaneously bring key personnel into a Microsoft Teams Incident Response Channel to manage crisis situations.  Courtesy of Singlewire Software and YouTube.)

    • Using InformaCast Fusion, Microsoft Teams users can now trigger mass notifications that reach all of their people without ever leaving the Teams interface.

    • Because Teams are leveraging InformaCast Fusion, notifications get sent to a wide range of devices and systems including other Microsoft Teams users, mobile phones, desk phones, IP speakers, overhead paging, door access controls, desktop computers, digital signage, strobe lights and more, increasing the likelihood that everyone is aware of potentially dangerous situation.

    • Following the alert distribution, key security team members can also receive a prompt to join a Microsoft Teams channel where they can collaborate and follow up on the situation.

    • InformaCast Fusion with Microsoft Teams can be used to enhance security with emergency alerts in K12, higher education, enterprise businesses, healthcare, manufacturing and other industries that need assistance reaching all of their people quickly during a crisis, and use it to activate lockdowns, share details about approaching severe weather and send alerts about active shooter situations, as well as other emergency scenarios they are likely to face.

Singlewire Software (Second of Three)

Best 911 Recording & Analytics

  • InformaCast Fusion with CallAware gives organizations the ability to record and receive alerts about 911 calls placed from within their buildings.

  • When 911 is dialed from an on-premises phone, it will trigger an alert via InformaCast, which can go out throughout an entire building or hit a select group of personnel who can best respond to the situation.

Monitor your organization and receive immediate **alerts when someone dials 911.
  • Alerts can be delivered to overhead speakers, other desk phones, desktop computers, mobile devices, email and more to ensure that no one misses a message. The alert can include the name of the phone that placed the call, as well as the time the call was placed, and the number of the dialer so people within the organization can deploy a response team to assist with the situation.

  • When an emergency occurs, the two most important factors are speed and reach. InformaCast helps reach everyone within an organization that can assist with information that a 911 call has been placed as soon as it is dialed. This means organization leaders can respond quickly and can direct first responders when they arrive.

  • To help better understand the situation taking place and to assess responses after an incident has occurred, CallAware can also record the 911 call so organization leaders can review it.

Receiving an alert when an emergency number, like 911, is dialed is helpful, but knowing what occurred that caused someone to dial that number can provide even more insight for an effective response.
  • Singlewire Software (Third of Three)InformaCast Fusion also gives system administrators the ability to listen into in-progress calls if they being recorded to get a better context for the situation taking place so they can assess the severity of the event and determine an appropriate response.

  • CallAware alerts can be customized to include the groups and details most relevant for an organization to provide assistance and isn’t limited to monitoring for 911 calls. The system can be configured to monitor and send alerts for whatever number is relevant to an organization, with flexibility that offers a wider range of safety applications that organizations can deploy to protect their people.

Best Risk, Crisis Management Product (Tie)

  • InformaCast Fusion is used by organizations to assist with risk and crisis management, by preparing for all kinds of emergency situations from active shooters to severe weather, to pandemics and fires.

Whether someone is in your building or remote, you can make sure you reach as close to 100 percent of your intended audience as possible with notifications to on-premises and mobile devices.
  • To adequately manage these crises when they occur, organizations need to be able to communicate critical safety information to keep people safe, minimize panic and chaos, and help operations return to normal as quickly as possible.

  • InformaCast offers organizations the ability to customize messages for any kind of scenario they need to prepare for and can designate exactly what groups and devices receive messages to maximize efficiency when working to manage a crisis. 

  • InformaCast Fusion delivers information to mobile and on-premises devices such as desk phones, overhead speakers, mobile devices, desktop computers, digital signage and more, with text and audio messages, to ensure no one misses a message. 

  • InformaCast Fusion helps organizations fulfill their duty of care and know they have a viable tool in place that can be easily deployed to assist with risk and crisis management.

  • *Singlewire Software was also recognized in the 2019 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program.

singlewire software

Singlewire Software, based in Madison, Wis., is the developer of InformaCast, a leading service for fast and reliable emergency notifications.

More than 7,000 organizations in over 85 countries rely on InformaCast from Singlewire Software for emergency mass notifications.

Whether it’s an active shooter, severe weather, or another crisis situation, InformaCast helps reach the right people, with the right information, to increase awareness, safety and security.

To learn more, visit

The 2020 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program was sponsored by ATI SystemsAttivo NetworksAutomatic SystemsDesktop Alert, X.Labs and Reed Exhibitionsevery one a returning Sponsor from 2020, 2019 and More.

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards at

Comprehensive List of Categories Include:

Access Control/ Identification Personal/Protective Equipment Law Enforcement Counter Terrorism
Perimeter Barrier/ Deterrent System Interagency Interdiction Operation Cloud Computing/Storage Solution
Facial/IRIS Recognition Body Worn Video Product Cyber Security
Video Surveillance/VMS Mobile Technology Anti-Malware
Audio Analytics Disaster Preparedness ID Management
Thermal/Infrared Camera Mass Notification System Fire & Safety
Metal/Weapon Detection Rescue Operations Critical Infrastructure
License Plate Recognition Detection Products And Many Others!
COVID Innovations And Many Others!


Don’t see a Direct Hit for your Product, Agency or Organization?

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the 2019–20 coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on 30 January 2020 and a pandemic on 11 March 2020. Local transmission of the disease has occurred across all fifty states in the America.

With the unprecedented occurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus of the safety and security industries has realized the need to increase innovations to address the daily growing challenges.

As such AST aims to make sure these firms and professionals are reflected in the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program, so we’d like to encourage you to submit appropriate categories recommendations and include COVID-19 Frontline Professionals in your Nominations to see that these Professionals, Facilities, and Vendors receive the Recognition they Deserve!

Submit your category recommendation for consideration to Michael Madsen, AST Publisher at:

Why American Security Today?

The traditional security marketplace has long been covered by a host of publications putting forward the old school basics to what is Today – a fast changing security landscape.

The traditional security marketplace has long been covered by a host of publications putting forward the old school basics to what is Today – a fast changing security landscape.

American Security Today is uniquely focused on the broader Homeland Security & Public Safety marketplace with over 75,000 readers at the Federal, State and local levels of government as well as firms allied to government.

American Security Today brings forward a fresh compelling look and read with our customized digital publications that hold readers eyes throughout the story with cutting edge editorial that provides solutions to their challenges.

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AST puts forward the Largest and Most Qualified Circulation in Government with Over 75,000 readers on the Federal, State and Local levels.
AST puts forward the Largest and Most Qualified Circulation in Government with Over 75,000 readers on the Federal, State and Local levels.

The AST Digital Publications is distributed to over 75,000 qualified government and homeland security professionals in federal, state and local levels.


AST Reaches both Private & Public Experts, essential to meeting these new challenges.

Today’s new generation of public safety and security experts need real-time knowledge to deal with domestic and international terrorism, lone wolf attacks, unprecedented urban violence, shifts in society, culture and media bias – making it increasingly difficult for Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, First Responders, Military and Private Security Professionals to implement coordinated security measures to ensure national security and improve public safety.

American Security Today

These experts are from Government at the federal, state and local level as well as from private firms allied to government.

AST provides a full plate of topics in our AST Monthly Magazine Editions, AST Website and AST Daily News Alerts, covering 23 Vital Sectors such as Access Control, Perimeter Protection, Video Surveillance/Analytics, Airport Security, Border Security, CBRNE Detection, Border Security, Ports, Cybersecurity, Networking Security, Encryption, Law Enforcement, First Responders, Campus Security, Security Services, Corporate Facilities, and Emergency Response among others.

AST has Expanded readership into integral Critical Infrastructure audiences such as Protection of Nuclear Facilities, Water Plants & Dams, Bridges & Tunnels, and other potential targets of terrorism.

Other areas of concern include Transportation Hubs, Public Assemblies, Government Facilities, Sporting & Concert Stadiums, our Nation’s Schools & Universities, and Commercial Business Destinations – all enticing targets due to the large number of persons and resources clustered together.

To learn more about the 2020 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Award Winners solutions, Check Out the New 2020 ‘ASTORS’ CHAMPIONS Edition Fully Interactive Magazine – the Best Products of 2020 ‘A Year in Review’.

The Annual CHAMPIONS edition includes a review of the ‘ASTORS’ Award Winning products and programs, highlighting key details on many of the winning firms products and services, includes video interviews and more.

It is your Go-To source throughout the year for ‘The Best of 2020 Products and Services‘ endorsed by American Security Today, and can satisfy your agency’s and organization’s most pressing Homeland Security and Public Safety needs.

From Physical Security (Access Control, Critical Infrastructure, Perimeter Protection and Video Surveillance Cameras and Video Management Systems), to IT Security (Cybersecurity, Encryption, Data Storage, Anti-Malware and Networking Security – Just to name a few), the 2020 ‘ASTORS’ CHAMPIONS EDITION has what you need to Detect, Delay, Respond to, and Mitigate today’s real-time threats in our constantly evolving security landscape.

It also includes featured guest editorial pieces from some of the security industry’s most respected leaders, and recognized firms in the 2020 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program.

  • For a complete list of 2020 ‘ASTORS’ Award Winners, click here.

For more information on All Things American Security Today, and the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program, please contact Michael Madsen, AST Publisher at

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