In 2020, Everbridge customers used the vendor’s critical event management platform to send more than 5 billion communications, up from 3.5 billion the previous year.
Although this figure includes communications about events, from wildfires to protests, it is clear that the coronavirus pandemic was the number one global critical event of 2020.
“COVID-19, the pandemic, has just begun to shine,” said Imad Mouline, CTO of Everbridge. “[It] made the need for critical event management much more visible.”
Everbridge, based in Burlington, Mass., claims about 5,400 customers, including governments, financial services and hospitals. Its critical event management software offers services such as mass notification, risk intelligence, analysis, planning and now contact tracing.
We spoke with Mouline about best practices for managing business-critical events, key challenges for 2020, and how Everbridge has adapted its platform to help clients during the pandemic.
Now that we’re about 10 months into the pandemic, what’s most important to how companies undertake critical event management?
Imad Mouline: Critical event management has always been important: the ability to know if something serious is going to happen and have an impact on your organization, whether you are a company, a hospital, a hospital system or a security entity. public. [That includes] the ability to understand the potential impact; the ability to do something about it, to try to mitigate, to eliminate the impact; the chance to see how well you did, so you can improve next time.
Imad MoulineCTO, Everbridge
What’s different with COVID-19 is that it was a wake-up call that critical event management is now a CEO or board-level imperative. Most organizations, whether in the public or private sector, have realized that they cannot have another critical event where they are caught off guard, that it only affects their organization, their peers or the whole world.
Critical event management can help you whether you’re dealing with a pandemic or any other type of critical event, whether it’s a hurricane, a wildfire in California or Australia,… terrorist attack or use of force.
What has been the biggest challenge of the past year for Everbridge?
Mouline: Let more people know that we could help them, especially at the start of the year. There was probably a slight sense of frustration on the part of the employees, seeing some of the initial worldwide chaos of what was happening – the impact on lives. And knowing that if more organizations, if more countries had some of our critical event management in place, whether it’s at the corporate level, at the state level, our public alert systems at the globally, things could have gone better. More lives could have been saved.
When you know you have the wherewithal to help, but that help doesn’t necessarily reach everyone in the world just because some of those countries aren’t organized well enough or just don’t know about you, that can be a bit difficult.
How has Everbridge had to scale its business to accommodate the increased business during the pandemic over an extended period?
Mouline: From an underlying technical point of view, we didn’t really need to do anything different for our platform to evolve. We built it specifically to be able to scale and deal with those huge peaks and valleys. And what the pandemic has shown us is that we did it the right way.
One thing we needed to do was add features that weren’t in the plan – that’s part of our flexibility and resilience. We ended up dating with COVID-19 Shield [which includes] for example, the possibility of having pandemic-focused risk intelligence feeds. Let’s make sure we tell all of our stakeholders, all of our customers, not just where the virus is spreading or what the numbers are — there are so many other sources for that — but what is the impact, the impact on transportation, impact on production facilities around the world, impact on the supply chain.
We added additional features such as contact tracing later in the year when we moved from the impact of the pandemic to how to get back to work, get back to campus, get back to life faster . [That includes] the ability to search for contacts based on proximity or location.
What are the trends regarding how governments and businesses are using Everbridge, given that we’re in the midst of vaccine distribution, some companies have returned to work, and there are still many new cases of coronavirus every day ?
Mouline: We have an incredibly unique perspective because we support organizations at every stage of the vaccine supply chain. Everbridge customers develop, manufacture, transport, distribute, regulate and administer the vaccine, down to the last mile. They all rely on Everbridge critical event management to ensure that, end-to-end, the vaccine will reach as many people as possible, as quickly as possible and as efficiently as possible.
By bringing all of these things together through what we call the Everbridge network, this information does not slip through the cracks, that there is some level of cooperation and collaboration between private and public entities to ensure that the distribution of vaccines can be optimized. As a resident of a town or city, you may have received a message let you know the status of the pandemic or the lines from a testing standpoint, or what’s going on with the distribution of vaccines.
What are you expecting in 2021?
Mouline: If we want to look beyond post-pandemic initiatives, 2021 is the year when almost all European countries must select a public alert system, in accordance with an EU mandate.
What we think is that instead of selecting the minimum requirement set out in the EU mandate, some of these countries will heed the lessons of the pandemic and start thinking more broadly about what they really need need. They will choose a system that can help across the full spectrum of critical events, throughout the life cycle, not only notifying the public but also communicating with all stakeholders, understanding what is happening that may have a impact on their first responders, their populations, their tourists .