By Josh Tafoya, Technical Trainer
Using General Schedules can save time and reduce errors. It’s a powerful tool, and when you understand it, you may end up using it all the time. I’ve been training on its use for years, and most places I train, the operations staff appreciate learning about such a useful tool.
There are five different types of General Schedules. I’ll discuss each here, and give some examples of situations where they might be used. If there is enough feedback, I can go further in-depth and give detailed examples with steps in future blog posts.
The Keyholder Availability General Schedule is used when Keyholders (or Contacts, or ECVs, or Persons – however they’re labeled in your system) or even the Customer (on the Details page in the Jump-To menu) have phone numbers that have limited hours of availability.
The classic example of a Keyholder Availability schedule is when you have a member of a contact list that says “please call my desk phone between 0800 and 1700, my mobile between 1700 and 1745, and my home number from 1745 to 0800 the next day”.
The idea here is that they don’t want the operators calling three different numbers and leaving messages in the event of an alarm. They want the appropriate number to be used at the specific time of day.
It speeds up contact with the Keyholder, and reduces errors.
The Programming General Schedule is used when you want events to become different events (or the same events with different Alarm/Not Alarm behaviors) based on the time of day, day of the week, etc.
A common use for this is when, for example, a door is alarmed 24 hours, but the customer only wants an alarm to be raised when it is outside business hours. There may be a door in a common area, with posted signs stating that the door is alarmed, which will sound an audible alarm when the door is opened.
If the door is in a common area, the customer may want to respond directly since they are present, rather than forcing the Central Station to call them.
It saves time. The operator will not have to respond to an alarm, only to be told, “Yes, we know about it because of the audible alarm”.
The Check-In General Schedule can be used when you want to limit the time of day, or day of the week that an account will be looking for Check-In.
A great example of when this might be used is with Bold ProtectMe. The app, which is available for Apple and Android devices, works in tandem with the Bold ProtectMe module. It allows users to check in with the Central Station (in a Lone Worker scenario, for example) directly from their device, and raises an alarm if the Check-In is missed.
The Reminder General Schedule is used to limit the time of day and days of the week when reminders will be generated.
Reminders can be created without schedules if they are set up to generate once a day, or once a week, because they will be at the same time. However, if you have an hourly reminder set up on an account (to contact a security guard and get hourly reports, for example), it may be necessary to limit the reminders to only the hours where the guard is alone, or where a skeleton crew is present. During the day, in our example, the location is sufficiently staffed so as to not require an hourly call.
Call List Availability
The General Schedule for Call List Availability works very much like the Keyholder Availability Schedule above.
Obviously, in this example, though, the General Schedule will apply to a whole Call List, instead of just an individual contact point. This works very well if entire different sets of contacts are to be called at certain times, or in a different order at certain times.