Flight Vector Takes Off With SMSFlight Vector simplifies operations for modern communication centers like emergency medical service. They use Plivo to make sure alerts are delivered and lives are saved.
Primarily serving the emergency medical market, Flight Vector™ provides dispatch and mapping solutions to clients such as Classic Air Medical, MedFlight, and Lifeteam. From start to finish, the Flight Vector system enables an emergency communication center to input the data required to start a transport, notify crew members using SMS, track a helicopter during transport on a map system, and then finally send data files to the charting companies and billing companies that need the details about the transport.
With their Flight Call app, users can communicate with the dispatch center via SMS for the request of a helicopter and receive status updates regarding the request. Much like Uber allows a user to see the car in route, Flight Vector enables a dispatcher using the app to see where the helicopter is at all times, giving location visibility of this highly time-sensitive transport. The dispatcher can also direct a helicopter where to land. For example, if there's a multi-car accident on the corner of two streets but buildings make it difficult for a helicopter to land, they can view the Flight Vector™ Map, pick out a better location and then SMS the GPS coordinates to both the communication center and the pilot.
Replacing outdated communications
Before implementing SMS, Flight Vector used outdated alpha-numeric pagers and email to communicate critical emergency response information. With the ubiquity of mobile phones, SMS offered not only more competitive, state-of-the-art technology, but also the ability to more rapidly, in-real-time connect helicopter dispatch to emergency situations. But the path to SMS had its own turbulence—until they discovered Plivo.
“Prior to Plivo, we used another vendor, and we had two problems,” says Scot Cromer, CEO, Flight Vector.
One, if we got blocked, no one was able to help us. Two, we didn't know if messages were actually being delivered.
Confirmations were a big issue and, for emergency responders, a blocked SMS can mean a life and death situation.”
When Flight Vector switched to Plivo, they finally obtained confirmation for delivery and non-delivery rates, insights into before-and-after situations to track responses, and the ability to gauge the effectiveness of the service. They found not only a perfect technology fit, but also a company committed to their success.
“Plivo helped us tremendously with our challenges by being very proactive,” Cromer says. “The service reports are very informative. The check-ins let us know that we're a valued partner, and that really makes us feel good about our decision to use Plivo.”
Selecting the right SMS
When it comes to SMS, there are several options: toll-free, long code, and short-code. For Flight Vector, Plivo’s toll-free option was the obvious choice.
“It’s great because you can receive confirmation that messages were sent,” Cromer says. “This is important in a mission-critical environment like ours. You need something that provides a summary of the entire event, and you can get that with toll-free SMS.”
Now, most, if not all, of Flight Vector’s messages are sent and received via SMS. Their customers can set up predefined message templates, and the system will automatically send the information via SMS. According to Cromer, it’s much more efficient to text rather than placing a call because of the time sensitivity of emergency situations and the need to eliminate extra calls to already busy communication centers.
“Plivo continues to do a great job,” Cromer says. “They provide us with a stable platform that is used by almost all of our customers.
In the last month alone, we sent out over 460,000 SMS messages without an issue.
In the end, Flight Vector sees SMS as the only way to go for fast, reliable, and accessible communications, no matter the industry.
“SMS is the future,” Cromer says. “If you don't provide a texting solution, you're going to be left behind. Companies need to take advantage of it, and an easy way to do this is with SMS and Plivo.”