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Monday, June 2, 2008

Voice alerts & SkypeOut - an industry first

ServersCheck was one of the first server monitoring software providers to provide a full web enabled platform back in 2003 when we started.

As our competitors, we all had nice email alerting features and some like us even had integration with Instant Messengers. In our case this was intially ICQ and then we moved to MSN.

We all overlooked one key issue: what if the network is down? If there is no Internet connectivity, then emails don't get to Blackberry's, instant messages can't be sent. People would not be notified of an issue.

We had to find another way of notifying people and we turned to Text to speech technology. By using a voice capable modem, people can receive notifications through a telephone call. This feature was introduced back in 2004.

As we are not always available to pick up phone call, calls and subsequent alert messges could be missed. To overcome this we integrated the support for SMS messages through GSM modems as an alert option. As SMS messages are almost always received, it is still today one of the most reliable ways of sending out alerts (in conjunction with the other alert options).

With SMS introduced, we decided to discontinue telephone call as an alert option since SMS was so much more robust.

What we didn't realize was that in quite a number of situations, SMS is not an option:
- server room in a cellar with no wireless network
- security guard that needs to be notified
and so many more

With that valuable feedback received from many customers, we decided to reinvest into the telephone call alerting option and make it better as it was before.

It is now powered by a semi automated attendant that allows us to make sure that a call is received and that the alert message is played at the right time. You can now define the number of times the software should retry and with which interval.

We even went one step further and brought a new innovation in the monitoring software industry: alerts via Skype.

ServersCheck can now use Skype's SkypeOut feature to call land line phones without the need of a modem attached to the system running our software. Of course keep in mind that when the network is down, Skype will be unavailable too...

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