New civic alert system implemented for St. Mary’s

·1 min read

ST. MARY’S – The Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s is deploying a new technology that works on traditional telephone lines to help residents stay up-to-the-minute on municipal matters that affect their daily lives.

According to CAO Marvin MacDonald, the Voyent Alert Notification system, implemented late last month, is designed for notifications on municipal issues – such as water utility, garbage, taxes, events, cancellations and municipal elections – but it can also be used to keep people informed during crises, such as power outages and storm surges.

“Posts on web/Facebook weren’t reaching several customers,” he said. “In this rural area, many residents (especially seniors) don’t have Internet and cell phones or, in some cases, Internet and cell service is unreliable …The Voyent Alert Notification system works on landlines and answering machines so the notification coverage is much wider than the social media platforms alone.”

Calgary-based ICEsoft Technologies Canada introduced Voyent in 2018 as an alert system with a “difference.” According to its website, “Voyent … goes beyond the traditional offerings … limited to text notifications and text-to-speech ... and includes personalized information, maps, visuals and attachments. These enriched alerts provide users with relevant information, allowing them to make better, more informed decisions, which helps increase registration and engagement among users.”

Earlier this month, the company reported that Voyent is being used by 245 North American municipalities, representing “a serviceable population” of about 1.2 million people, including many affected by wild fires in British Columbia this summer.

MacDonald said the Voyent system is intended to complement, not replace, RCMP and provincial emergency systems available in St. Mary’s.

Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal

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