Mobile Marketing

Mobile Marketing With SMS Text Messaging, Mobile Apps & Mobile Websites

October 21, 2016
by admin

Zipwhip nabs $9M from Microsoft + others to let landlines send and receive SMS texts

Consumers have made a big shift to using mobile phones as their primary, and often sole, telephone, but as they have done so, they’ve also created something of a rift in the business world: many of the companies that count those consumers as customers are still using landlines — 275 million businesses in the U.S. alone — resulting in a feature gulf between how the two can communicate with each other in real time: it’s either a voice call, or nothing. However, a startup based out of Seattle is hoping to bridge that gap.

Zipwhip, which has built a platform to let people with mobile phones send text messages to businesses that call them from landline phones, is today announcing that it has raised $9 million in funding. The Series B was led by local VC Voyager Capital, with participation also from strategic backers Microsoft Ventures, regional telecom GCI, and Inteliquent, an interconnection partner for communications service providers.

The company is not disclosing its valuation with this round, or its revenues. At the beginning of this year, Zipwhip said it saw annual growth of 356% in annual recurring revenue, with messaging traffic volume up 300%. It also said it was adding $400,000 in ARR each month and expects to hit $10 million in ARR by third quarter 2016.

Zipwhip has been around since 2007, growing while raising modest amounts of capital, relatively speaking. Prior to this round, the startup had raised only $8 million. In the meantime it has picked up a wide range of businesses as customers, focusing specifically on those that are consumer-facing and do a lot of business over the phone.

They include insurance agencies (there are over one thousand using Zipwhip including Allstate, Farmers, and many independents); car dealerships; the broadcaster CBS whose radio stations are using Zipwhip; and staffing companies fitness gyms, dentists offices, veterinarians, title companies and credit unions.

Zipwhip’s rise comes at an interesting point in the growth of mobile messaging apps.

A wave of companies built around messaging services for consumers — they include the likes of Twitter, Facebook (both through Messenger and WhatsApp) and WeChat — are eyeing up the opportunity to use their infrastructure and customer reach to help businesses communicate with customers better. However, these are predicated on customers already using those apps as communications channels to begin with, and being amenable to those channels getting appropriated for use as customer service platforms.

Zipwhip is approaching the idea of using messaging as a B2C communications tool from a different end of the spectrum. It’s not so much about adding a customer care component to platforms where people are already using a lot of messaging services, but about offering messaging as an option for those who are using their mobile phones as their primary phone, and have a habit of wanting to respond to phone calls with text messages.

This happens a lot more than you might think: Zipwhip says in the U.S. alone, there are around 150 million text messages sent to landlines daily — most of which, of course, are just disappearing into the ether because the landline owner doesn’t have any way of capturing them.

What Zipwhip does is create a filter between a landline and a mobile phone. When a text is sent from the mobile to the landline, Zipwhip’s cloud-based software sees it, and sends it to an app that looks a bit like an email interface. There, a Zipwhip customer (say, the business) that owns the landline can then read those messages and respond to them as messages using the same interface. Essentially, Zipwhip’s app gives a landline user a facility that has up to now been mainly a mobile phone and messaging app feature.

Zipwhip is not the only one tackling this business opportunity. HeyWire, a direct competitor that had raised more VC funding in its life, was acquired by Salesforce in September of this year. It appears to be part of Salesforce’s bigger strategy to tackle messaging as a more monetizable customer service frontier.

Yes, that may mean Zipwhip now has a formidable competitor, but it also points to the fact that the startup is definitely working in an area of growing demand.

In that context, it’s interesting to see Microsoft — a neighbor of Zipwhip’s geographically speaking — among the investors in this round. Microsoft has shaped up parts of its enterprise business over the last several years to compete more directly against the likes of Salesforce (and likewise, Salesforce has also done the same).

At the same time, Zipwhip is also looking at ways of applying its text-conversion technology in other areas.

Some of those new applications are a little tongue-in-cheek fun, like this robotic beer keg that poured you a pint and zapped your phone number onto the side of the cup when you texted “Beer” to a certain number.

More seriously, co-founder and CMO John Larson tells me that Zipwhip is “doing a big push for data integrations with major CRM players, i.e. Microsoft applications, Salesforce, and others,” which would give it more parity with HeyWire.

He also says that the company is looking at securing the texting channel to make it usable for other purposes, like transactions.

“We are working on [ways] to support the equivalent of SSL certificates, but for business phone numbers, so that you as a consumer know you’re texting with a legit business,” he said. “We see that being a huge opportunity, and a natural next step in driving payment transactions over text messaging in the U.S., just like WeChat did in China. They’re now doing over $500 billion per year in transactions over messaging.”

Another big area of opportunity is the growth of new kinds of ad units, where users are able to click on ads to send a text (Google is among those testing this) another area that Larson said its tech could be used to run and interact with such services.

Pricing for Zipwhip comes in a few tiers: $20/month for a basic service; $100/month for a “business” service covering more texts, more devices and more people; and an enterprise tier based on company size for large customers.

October 21, 2016
by admin

Messages about sexual abuse rise after Donald Trump video, Crisis Text Line reports

Following the release of a video of Donald Trump bragging about kissing and groping women without consent, Crisis Text Line saw an increase in messages about sexual abuse, founder Nancy Lublin told VentureBeat in a phone interview.

Crisis Text Line is a nonprofit that works with tech platforms and governments to use SMS and chat apps to connect distressed people with trained volunteers.

Messages about things like sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and rape were 12 percent higher than average for four days after the release of the video and remained 10 percent above average last week, said chief data scientist Bob Filbin.

“We can’t say Trump’s story caused this, just that the percentage change in sexual assault conversations is associated with the timing of the story,” Filbin said.

Crisis Text Line is integrated into platforms like Facebook Messenger and YouTube and will soon be integrated into Kik, and possibly search engines.

Words associated with a person concerned with sexual abuse, according to Crisis Text Line data.

Above: Words associated with a person concerned with sexual abuse, according to Crisis Text Line data.

Machine learning and natural language processing are used to identify words associated with specific conditions and allow volunteers to speak with more than one person at a time. When volunteers are in conversations, machine learning is used to recommend responses.

When Crisis Text Line hears specific words associated with suicidal thoughts or depression, for example, a user may receive a message from Crisis Text Line. States like Ohio and Montana and cities like Chicago and San Francisco (coming soon) also work with Crisis Text Line.

You can talk to Crisis Text Line by texting START to 741-741.

Discussions of sexual assault were trending in social media last week.

With #notokay, thousands of women shared stories of sexual assault, and #whywomendontreport explored why the majority of sexual assault that takes place in the U.S. goes unreported.

Large public events or tragedies can be seen trending at times in Crisis Text Line conversation data.

“When the Orlando massacre happened, we did see about a nine percent increase in LGBTQ texters, and when Zane left One Direction, we saw an increase for the following three nights for anxiety and self-harm,” Lubin said.

“People may think ‘Oh, it’s just a band,’” Lublin added, “but if One Direction songs really speak to you, and you’re a huge fan, you might be really distraught.”

“The hashtag #CutForZane was trending worldwide. These were real fans cutting real skin,” she said.

A map of concentration of messages received from people with a need to talk about sexual abuse

Above: A map of concentration of messages received from people with a need to talk about sexual abuse

Crisis Text Line has sent more than 23 million messages since 2013 about things like bereavement, eating disorders, stress, and suicidal thoughts. The company is involved in 10 active attempts a day to alert authorities in an emergency situation. Roughly 80 percent of messages shared with Crisis Text Line are sent by people under the age of 25.

Other trends evident in Crisis Text Line data:

– Eating disorder messages spike on Mondays

– Messages about stress are highest between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

– Messages about substance abuse peak between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m.

Crisis Text Line started in 2013 with a text to 4,000 Do Something users in Chicago and 4,000 in El Paso, Texas. Do Something is an SMS-based network to mobilize teenagers for social action, and within four months of sending those texts, the company had received messages from every area code in the United States.

Though Crisis Text Line works with chat platforms and uses machine learning, there is no Crisis Text Line bot. Rather, the company works with about 2,000 human volunteers.

This summer, Crisis Text Line raised $23.8 million from Reid Hoffman, Melinda Gates, The Ballmer Group, and Omidyar Network.

October 20, 2016
by admin

AdWords Click-To-Text Feature Moves Out Of Beta

Google AdWords click-to-text mobile ad extension is now coming out of its beta testing phase, allowing users to communicate with advertisers via text message direct from SERPs.

Google has been testing this new mobile ad extension over the past few months, adding a new way for consumers to communicate with brands regarding queries about their services.

Call ad extensions have existed for years, but the introduction of a click-to-text feature will address any worries users have about being placed on hold or being redirected to the wrong department and wasting precious call time.

When a user clicks on the new click-to-text extension, the phone’s SMS system will open automatically. At the moment the new feature sits below the ad – a slight departure from the icons usually seen at the right-hand side of the main ad. With the new ad extension in this format, advertisers are able to add a call to action to the icon as well.

The new click-to-text extension can be added at campaign and ad group levels, and can also be scheduled to run at particular times. If the ad extensions are run outside of regular hours or when businesses are closed, standardised messages can be pre-populated, auto-responding to users and giving them an expected time when they can receive a response.

Reporting on SMS extensions can be found in the extensions tab or in Click Type segmentation. However at present, there is no way to clearly measure engagement levels for these types of extensions in AdWords.

SMS ad extensions will be rolling out worldwide over the next few weeks. Google has released a best practice guide to help advertisers get started with the new feature.

October 20, 2016
by admin

New SMS public alert system launched to warn the public of nearby emergencies

SINGAPORE – Members of public near an emergency like a terror attack will get a text message on their mobile devices informing them of what is happening, with a new public alert system by the Government.

Introducing the SMS-based system on Saturday (Oct 15) at an emergency preparedness event in Pasir Ris West, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said that that the new system will reach out to a wider audience, who may not have access to alerts through the recently launched SGSecure mobile app.

“Some might not have turned on the location function to receive the location-based alerts. Some of our seniors may not be familiar with apps, or have older 2G phones,” explained Mr Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security. 

A text message alert sent out by the SMS-based public alert system to warn people in the area of the Jurong West Street 41 fire on Tuesday (Oct 11). PHOTO: MHA

No additional set-up or phone configuration is needed to get the text message alerts, which are also supported on all mobile phones. A mobile data plan is also not needed to get the SMS alerts.

The new SMS-based public alert system is an additional channel to reach out to the public, help warn residents about danger, and give them appropriate advice on how they can and should respond, he added.

The Ministry of Home Affairs said that the alerts will be sent out for related incidents including bomb blasts and gunman attacks, major public order incidents, and major fires and civil disasters.

The police or Singapore Civil Defence Force will use the system to send out SMS alert messages through the telcos to people near the site of a major emergency. Mobile phone subscribers whose last known locations fall within the demarcated area around the site will get the SMS alerts.

The alert system is currently available to StarHub subscribers. It will be rolled out to Singtel and M1 subscribers by the end of 2017.

These SMS alerts, which are free, will be sent to both pre-paid and post-paid mobile subscribers. This includes foreign travellers roaming on the telcos’ mobile networks, provided such text messages are not blocked by their parent telcos in the travellers’ home countries.

The SMS alert system has been on trial since August, and was used for the recent fires at the CK Building and Jurong West Street 41.

Mr Teo also said that the SGSecure movement exercises the social, civil, psychological aspects of total defence.

Launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sept 24, the SGSecure movement is aimed at getting people to stay united in the face of terror threats, and providing training on preventing and responding to attacks.

October 20, 2016
by admin

Branded Emojis Coming to Messaging Apps – WSJ

With its new Wink product, startup Emogi can send branded emojis to the text fields of people's messaging apps

A new tech product from startup Emogi is offering a glimpse into how data-rich messaging apps might make money from brands.

The ad technology company said it is launching a product called Wink that advertisers can use to present branded emoji and GIF options to people through the text fields on messaging app Kik, which touts 300 million users.

For example, if someone is messaging a friend on Kik about wanting to get coffee, the term “coffee” could automatically trigger a banner of coffee-chain-branded stickers to appear above the text field for the user to select. Typically, people have only been able to access emojis through separate sticker packs and emoji keyboards that they download.

Ad buyers can serve targeted ads to people on websites and in mobile apps, but access to the text fields in messaging apps has typically been off-limits. Emogi’s unique access to those text fields comes from the messaging apps, which get a cut of ad revenue from the brands.

In addition to its partnership with Kik, Emogi is in talks with a number of dating apps and other messaging apps.

Emogi declined to disclose its brand clients, but said it’s launching with major coffee, fast-food and beverage clients. It’s also working with agencies that buy media for large brands, including Interpublic Group of Cos’ mobile media-buying group and Publicis Groupe


media agency Mediavest Spark.

“We had seen Facebook


and others tap into emojis as a way to measure emotional response,” said Travis Montaque, the 23-year-old CEO of Emogi, which has raised $4 million in funding. That triggered the idea that he could “leverage emoji to collect data,” and create and measure branded content for mobile messaging in a fashion similar to display, video or mobile ads.

The company partnered with data management platform Krux, and other third-party data companies, to power its emoji ad-serving technology, which is largely automated and controlled by the advertiser, Mr. Montaque said. As with other digital ad technologies, the system uses location and demographic data to target specific people the advertiser is interested in reaching, and charges advertisers based on a cost-per-thousand-impression metric. The advertiser doesn’t pay based on how many people use or share the actual branded emojis.

It remains to be seen whether mobile users will be comfortable having brand logos pop up based on the text in their personal messages. “We use machine learning and listen to snippets of conversations,” said Mr. Montaque. “We don’t know what the conversation is about or who the person is.”

“We view messaging platforms as the next evolution of social marketing,” said Kyle Jackson, a senior vice president in Mediavest Spark’s performance marketing group, in an emailed statement. “The Wink emojis, stickers and gifs provide users a valuable branded experience within the messenger apps and we are thrilled to be one of the launch partners of Wink.”

Emojis are rising with the popularity of mobile messaging apps, which are increasingly consuming more of people’s time.

The amount of time adults in the U.S. spend on mobile messaging apps will increase to nine minutes per day in 2017 from five minutes in 2016, according to a recent study from eMarketer.

Companies like Facebook and Google are prioritizing their messaging apps and investing in chat-bot technology through which companies can respond to customer service questions and even sell products.

Facebook bought mobile messaging app WhatsApp in 2014 in a deal valued at $22 billion, adding to its existing Messenger app. Facebook hasn’t been clear on how it intends to monetize its apps.

Messenger is testing “sponsored messages,” but only on a small scale, David Marcus, vice president of Messenger, said at the company’s annual F8 conference in San Francisco earlier this year.

Write to Alexandra Bruell at

October 20, 2016
by admin

Colleges turn to online, text messaging services to help with counseling demand

“Do parties or social situations ever make you uncomfortable?”

“How would you categorize your stress level?”

“How often would you say you feel overwhelming anger or irritability?”

These are some of the questions that greet students at Colorado State University when they log in to the university’s new online well-being portal, YOU@CSU. Created through a partnership with Grit Digital Health and officially launched this semester, YOU@CSU acts as a virtual counselor, asking students questions about their mental and physical well-being and directing them to the appropriate campus resources.

The platform is one of several digital tools — from online portals to text messaging services and smartphone apps — that colleges are using to provide wider access to mental health services as campus health centers struggle to meet the rising counseling demands of students. Use of what’s called telepsychology for mental health services is increasing, according a survey released earlier this year by the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors. In the 2013-14 academic year, 6.6 percent of counseling centers reporting using telepsychology in some form. The following year, the figure was up to 9.1 percent.

“One of the things really concerning folks at university counseling centers is the growing demand for student counseling services,” Anne Hudgens, executive director of the Colorado State University Health Network, said. “It’s really hard to meet that demand and to sort through who has a critical issue and who is looking for help and support for more standard issues of stress and anxiety. We believe the help-seeking behavior of this generation is a positive thing, but we knew we had to find a way to get upstream.”

Dan Jones, chair of the Higher Education Mental Health Alliance and former president of the AUCCCD, said colleges have used distance counseling for years, though in the past those services connected students with licensed counselors over the phone. Jones said colleges that use hotlines, text message services and online behavioral therapy platforms aren’t aiming to replace face-to-face counseling, but to supplement it.

Early research, he said, suggests that telepsychology services can help students with issues like anxiety, but counselors are still determining the efficacy of the widening variety of digital tools in addressing other mental health issues. The Higher Education Mental Health Alliance, which includes the AUCCCD and other student affairs and mental health groups, is currently developing a new set of guidelines for colleges that use distance counseling and telepsychology services.

“The fact that there’s so many students using electronic equipment, these services are sort of a natural progression for counseling,” Jones said. “They’re a promising way to supplement counseling, and they’re proving effective for treating anxiety. We’re only just starting to learn whether they could help with more complicated problems.”

The Colorado State platform has two main functions. It acts as a personalized campus search engine, encouraging students to type in questions about mental health, physical fitness, campus life and career goals. A student wondering if there’s a way to meet people on campus with a similar background might be pointed to a cultural center or club. If a student’s searches indicate he or she is feeling suicidal, the website directs the student to call the campus counseling center and a suicide prevention hotline.

“The concept initially focused specifically on mental health and suicide prevention, but it grew into a more complete package,” Hudgens said. “It’s now about how you support students with a whole range of concerns. The goal is to reach students before their challenges have turned into a crisis.”

Students are also asked to fill out a series of questions — what the platform calls “reality checks.” The assessments survey students on a variety of topics related to depression, suicide, body image, dietary habits and academic issues, among many other subjects. After completing the assessment, students are directed to a results page, where they are given next steps and recommendations on how to improve their mental and physical health. They are directed to specific campus resources if they are struggling in any particular area.

Last month, the fraternity Alpha Tau Omega announced that it was offering all of its members free access to a program called Unlimited Messaging Therapy through the app Talkspace. The app allows students to communicate with licensed therapists through text messages, photographs, audio and live video sessions. The fraternity is offering its members three months of the service for free.

“Fraternity chapters are ready-made communities that provide members a strong support system,” Wynn Smiley, ATO’s chief executive officer, said in an email. “At the same time, we want to provide the opportunity for any of our members who feel the need for some assistance the added benefit of professional counseling that is easily accessible. By effectively eliminating wait times, appointments and the anxiety of seeking mental health support, Talkspace is a perfect partner to help us shepherd a higher standard of mental wellness on campuses nationwide.“

Last week, the Steve Fund, an organization focused on improving the mental health of students of color, announced that it had received an $863,000 grant from the Knight Foundation to improve text messaging counseling services in “communities of color, while increasing data collection and research on the needs of this population.”

The Steve Fund already partners with a service called Crisis Text Line, which allows people struggling with anxiety, suicide, depression and other mental health concerns to talk, through text message, to a trained crisis counselor. Texting “Steve” to 741741 automatically connects students with the counselors. When people use that code, the counselor knows the person he or she is helping is likely a person of color. The grant announced last week will also be used to hire more minority counselors for the service.

Victor Schwartz, medical director for the Jed Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to prevent suicide among college students, said digital tools — both online assessment platforms and text message counseling — can be a mixed bag. Many text messaging counseling services use qualified and licensed counselors, meaning if a student indicates he or she is suicidal, the person is trained to deal with the situation appropriately. That includes calling the police or other emergency services. As colleges increasingly turn to these services, Schwartz said, they should ensure they are staffed with the kinds of counselors that officials would want working in their campus health centers.

“Having access to virtual treatment is better than nothing,” Schwartz said, “but you have to make sure there’s some kind of process to very carefully vet who those people are on the other end of the line.”

Some services, including the online platform at Colorado State, allow students to remain anonymous, however, meaning even if the content on the site has been carefully vetted by psychologists, there is no way of knowing when students are in need of immediate help. “At the same time, this is not a problem specific to this kind of counseling,” Schwartz said. “There’s always been a struggle between knowing that students are more willing to open up if they aren’t worried about police knocking on their door, and knowing that if we allow that level of anonymity we may not be able to help them in time.”

There are some other concerns with online therapy outside of its inability to allow for crisis intervention. Last year, researchers at the University of York, in Britain, found that people who used computer-assisted cognitive behavioral therapy, experienced no improvement in dealing with their depression over a four-month period. The researchers wrote that such platforms were “likely to be an ineffective form of low-intensity treatment for depression and an inefficient use of finite health care resources,” and that “participants said they wanted a greater level of clinical support as an adjunct to therapy, and, in the absence of this support, they commonly disengaged with the computer programs.”

Schwartz compared most online therapy options to massive open online courses.

“There’s that same challenge, where the novelty wears off and participation drops off,” Schwartz said. “At the same time, it’s certainly not a bad idea to have this as an option for students. If a school has running wait lists, or there are students you know aren’t seeking help face-to-face, this could have a useful role. No one should get any clever ideas of this replacing counselors.”

The mental and emotional health of students has been of increasing concern to colleges in recent years, even as many institutions struggle to find the resources to better address those concerns. More than half of college students say they have experienced “overwhelming anxiety” in the last year, according to the American College Health Association, and 32 percent say they have felt so depressed “that it was difficult to function.”

Nearly 10 percent of incoming freshmen who responded to last year’s American Freshman Survey reported that they “frequently felt depressed.” It was the highest percentage of students reporting feeling that level of depression since 1988, and 3.4 percentage points higher than in 2009, when the survey found the rate of frequently depressed freshmen to be at its lowest.

But colleges are struggling to meet this demand, and the vast majority of students do not seek help for their mental health concerns. Access to services remains a serious concern for many counseling center directors, according to the AUCCCD survey. Many note that, lacking enough counselors to meet demand, they must use triage systems and put some students on waiting lists before they can receive treatment.

Generally, smaller colleges reported shorter times of years that they had waiting lists for treatment. At colleges with enrollments of 1,501 to 2,500, directors reported an average of eight weeks a year in which waiting lists were used. At colleges with enrollments of 25,001 to 30,000, waiting lists were used an average of 23 weeks a year. At colleges with enrollments greater than 15,000, the average number of students on waiting lists exceeded 50, and it was as high as 70 for institutions with enrollments of 30,001 to 35,000.

As such, many colleges have tried widening access to mental health services for students in distress. In recent months, several colleges have announced that they will expand the hours and locations at which counselors can be sought out.

Earlier this year, the University of Iowa announced that it would hire eight new counselors to meet rising demand for more mental health services among its students. Currently the university has 12 counselors on staff. Rather than setting up new offices in the university’s counseling center, however, some of the new counselors are being embedded in various buildings around campus. In April, Pennsylvania State’s senior class raised money to create an endowment that would embed a counselor in a residence hall.

After complaints from students, Skidmore College hired an additional counselor and contracted with an outside firm to offer a 24-hour telephone hotline. Last year, following the suicide of a New Jersey woman who attended the University of Pennsylvania, the New Jersey State Senate passed a new law requiring that mental health professionals be available around the clock to assist the state’s college students. In January, Willamette University in Oregon partnered with ProtoCall, a 24-hour mental health hotline, to provide around-the-clock support to students. Amherst College launched a similar hotline about a year ago.

The online and texting tools now being used at some colleges are extension of that same desire to make mental health services more accessible. Nathaan Demers, a licensed clinical psychologist and director of clinical programs at Grit Digital Health, said distance counseling and telepsychology services are not intended to replace in-person counseling. Instead, he said, the goal is to reach students who wouldn’t otherwise receive any counseling.

“As a college counselor, I loved working with students, but who I worried about the most were students who didn’t come into my office,” Demers said. “We have an ethical responsibility to connect with people who are not knocking on our door. Digital technology is the first place where millennials are going to look for help.”

October 20, 2016
by admin
Comments Off on Philadelphia’s Chester County Moves to Fully Integrated Text-to-9-1-1 Solution by Airbus DS Communications

Philadelphia’s Chester County Moves to Fully Integrated Text-to-9-1-1 Solution by Airbus DS Communications

TEMECULA, CA–(Marketwired – Oct 19, 2016) – Chester County Department of Emergency Services (DES) is completing the transition to a new text-to-9-1-1 system — the VESTA® SMS application — that fully integrates emergency messages into calltakers’ VESTA® 9-1-1 workstations, speeding response times and accuracy. The VESTA 9-1-1 and VESTA SMS systems are part of the industry leading VESTA® solutions suite of Airbus DS Communications, an entity of Airbus Defense and Space.

Part of the Philadelphia urban area, Chester County has a population of more than 500,000 and is the fastest growing in the state. Its unified Chester County DES receives more than 300,000 9-1-1 calls and dispatches emergency first responders more than 380,000 times each year.

“Chester County DES was using a web-based text-to-9-1-1 system but the public’s embrace of the capability encouraged us to adopt a more full-featured solution,” said John Haynes, Deputy Director for 9-1-1. “Some call centers see misuse of text-to-9-1-1 — reporting casual non-emergencies or use of extreme abbreviations — but Chester County residents have used the new tool judiciously and thoughtfully. So, we’re outfitting our call centers with the best text-to-9-1-1 solution on the market to build on that success.”

Chester County’s emergency responder departments are not county run. As a result, Chester County DES is responsible for dispatching first responders from 44 police departments, 54 fire departments and 23 EMS departments — all of which are independently run. Chester County DES also answers calls for one borough and two state police barracks that coordinate their own law enforcement dispatching.

“Because of how our emergency services are structured, speed and accuracy are of the highest importance. The VESTA SMS solution puts text calls for help within the same screens and processes as a voice call. This makes response seamless and easy for our calltakers,” said Haynes.

Chester County DES is comprised of 22 calltaking positions at its primary facility. A back-up site has 18 positions that can work in unison with or completely independently from the primary call center, creating a more robust 9-1-1 system to respond to largescale emergencies.

“The attitude of the calltakers and leadership at Chester County DES represent the heart of the public safety industry,” said Bob Freinberg, CEO of Airbus DS Communications. “They recognize the challenge of providing excellent text-to-9-1-1 service to the people of Chester County, particularly to the hard of hearing community, as their responsibility — and they do it with pride. We’re honored to be part of their team.”

For more information on Airbus DS Communications and its portfolio of public safety solutions, visit

Airbus Defense and Space
Airbus Defense and Space, a division of Airbus Group, is Europe’s number one defense and space enterprise and the second largest space business worldwide. Its activities include space, military aircraft and related systems and services. It employs more than 38,000 people and in 2015 generated revenues of over 13 billion Euros.

Airbus DS Communications, Inc., an Airbus Defense and Space Holdings, Inc. company, is a global leader and trusted source for mission-critical communications technologies. The VESTA® product suite provides Next Generation 9-1-1 call processing systems, land mobile radio solutions and emergency notification applications, creating smarter ways to keep all our communities safe.