Merton Council in Surrey is using SMS messaging technology to help maintain uptime on its primary computer systems.

If anything goes wrong with Merton Council’s main computer systems, its maintenance engineers are automatically alerted with a text message, using the ProcessFlows TextMessage Server system. The result, according to the council, is that down-time is minimised and interruptions to frontline services are greatly reduced.

Merton Council has three key monitoring systems, covering heating, ventilation and air conditioning; also power supply, temperature and mains services; and the TeVista Network Monitoring and OpManager system for server monitoring.

Coupled to these systems is the council's Microsoft Exchange email architecture, which in turn is connected to ProcessFlows’ SMS gateway, Text Message Server (TMS).

As soon as any of the key monitoring systems identifies a problem, an automated email is sent, via SMTP, to Text Message Server. An SMS alert is then automatically generated and sent to the appropriate engineer.

As TMS is designed to work with most business applications, Merton Council has been able to deploy SMS communications in other areas of the council too.

Anthea Leeds, who is responsible for monitoring TMS in Merton Council’s IT services department, said, “When we first got TMS for engineer alerts, the number of texts sent in a month was quite low – around 350.

"As other departments have adopted the technology, the volume of messages has steadily increased and we now use around 1,500 text messages a month - 17 percent of these being used by Leisure and Culture, to confirm sport facility and hall hire bookings.”