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Room Alert ‘Insider Look’ – How We Developed Alert Comments and Acknowledgements in GoToMyDevices

Many times in product development, an issue that the creators are facing themselves helps drive innovation and new ideas.

That’s certainly the case with some invaluable new features we just rolled out in our latest GoToMyDevices update – alert acknowledgements and alert comments.

We always wanted to make GoToMyDevices a collaborative tool for our users, in addition to being an easy to use interface for Room Alert reporting and monitoring. When an alert is triggered, there’s often more than one person at an organization who’s responsible for responding; when that happens, they need to let each other know what the resolution progress is.

GTMD_TriggeredSending alerts to more than one recipient in the GoToMyDevices 2.0 release was the first step towards collaboration for our users, and adding the alert acknowledgements and alert comments adds two tools every organization will be able to take advantage of immediately.

We recognized early on that adding more collaboration tools would be very helpful when our staff received alerts from our own Room Alerts. In a previous article we talked about how we use Room Alert to monitor our own data centers, and we’ll receive alerts on the environment factors we’re monitoring.

Much like smoke alarm batteries that only seem to die at 2AM, it seems like a lot of alerts from our Room Alert occur after hours or on weekends when there’s limited staff onsite. So, an alert about our data center temperature might go to three or four different employees who are at home and spread out across two states. In our case, the final straw came when a high temperature alert was received from our data center on July 4th at 9PM, resulting in a race to the office under the backdrop of fireworks. Multiple members on our team who were spending time with their families on the 4th of July and were interrupted trying to figure out who could respond.

Coordinating the response to that type of alert usually meant a round of text messages or phone calls between the employees who received the alert. This added to the delay in the actual response itself, while everyone was communicating back and forth over who would be able to get to the data center first, who had access to different systems, etc.

Our engineering staff saw right away that collaborative tools built into GoToMyDevices would be extremely helpful in these instances, and feedback from our users backed that up.

GTMD_Comment2Now when a group of users receives an alert via email or SMS, they have the option of acknowledging the alert and adding a simple comment that’s immediately sent to all the other users who receive that specific alert. If Room Alert in our data center triggers an alert on high temperature, one of the employees who lives closer to the office can acknowledge the alert (which silences notifications without turning off or disabling the alert) and comment that they are 15 minutes away from the office and on their way in. That comment is immediately sent to the other employees who received the alert, without them needing to text, call, or email each other individually.

When that employee arrives, they can then add another alert comment noting that they are onsite and checking out the data center. Again, that new comment is automatically sent to everyone on the alert list so they are all updated on the alert status. Finally, when the issue is resolved, another alert comment can be added noting the resolution. The comment is sent to everyone, and stored as part of that alert for future instances where specific steps might need to be taken again.

Our Support and Sales teams have already received great feedback from our users, letting us know that the new features have helped them streamline their alert notifications and resolution steps. Being able to communicate and collaborate right from within GoToMyDevices truly makes it an invaluable tool paired up with Room Alert for environment monitoring for any organization.

Note: The former GoToMyDevices online monitoring and management platform was migrated into in December 2017. For more information, please see our announcement article and FAQ