The Royal National Lifeboat Institution, founded in 1824, is the largest charity that saves lives at sea. It covers the coasts of the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man, as well as on some inland waterways. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations and 444 lifeboats, and the Institution has saved more than 140,000 lives since its foundation.
Most lifeboat stations are manned by volunteer crews, who are called to action at a moment’s notice. At the heart of this operation was a radio paging network that bleeps crews into action. This paging network, although reliable, lacked modern modes of communication and by modern standards was slow to activate. This was responsible for a critical, avoidable delay.
Zentive was given the challenge and opportunity of modernising the messaging infrastructure. The goal was to reduce response times while improving operational efficiency. This was to be achieved by providing stations with more information, such as which crew members are available and ready to respond in an emergency.
The solution would need to be extremely reliable with a targeted 99.999% uptime, and able to handle surges in messaging traffic during busy periods.
Zentive’s solution was to create a custom on-premises integration layer to the existing paging network. This allows the Maritime Coastguard Agency to alert lifeboat crews directly from their incident management system. This innovation significantly reduced callout times compared to the previous IVR-based solution. Decreasing the time elapsed between an incident being reported and a boat crew being dispatched undoubtably adds significant value to the life-saving work of the Institution.
Zentive also created a bespoke distributed micro-services platform which provides the crew with modern modes of communication, including Push notification, SMS, telephone IVR and e-mail. Crew members can indicate their response status via any of the four channels, which is available to the station officers in real-time. This multi-channel messaging approach significantly improves deliverability, particularly in coastal areas where paging can be blocked by the landscape.
Following a rigorous testing programme, RCAMS has now sent over 3 million crew alerts, supporting many thousands of lifeboat launches. The system is maintained and supported by Zentive 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.