Cablevision's (NYSE: CVC) Lightpath division said Wednesday that it is beginning to offer its commercial customers a service called Firebar, which can be used during a crisis to quickly set up an emergency audio conference by dialing a single phone number.
The product, which Lightpath is offering to its hosted voice over IP customers, is something that could be used during both natural and unnatural disasters. "A group call is initiated when one person dials a firebar number that initiates simultaneous outgoing calls to a preconfigured team list. Once the call recipient is reached and their identity confirmed, they are automatically placed into the conference call," Lightpath said in the announcement. The company noted that it added the calling feature "following ongoing communication with customers around tools that can help them support business continuity and disaster recovery efforts."
Broadband providers have increased their own disaster recovery and business continuity investments following Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which damaged infrastructure and even some of the offices of New York area providers such as Cablevision, Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC). In October, the Society of Cable & Telecommunications Engineers built a large disaster recovery exhibit at its annual SCTE Cable-Tec Expo convention, which featured the mobile command center RV that Cox Communications deployed earlier this year after tornadoes hit its Oklahoma City system. Vendors also displayed fuel storage tanks and generators.
"During crises like extreme weather events, the ability to communicate quickly and easily is of the utmost importance for businesses," Lightpath SVP of Marketing and Business Development Julia McGrath said in a prepared statement. "The voice-based features that Lightpath is introducing today gives our customers more control and flexibility when it's needed most."
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