About SMS Chat for Responders
Beacon now offers SMS chat messaging for responders who don’t have a smartphone and/or don’t have reliable Internet access.
Here’s how it works:
- Responders who have the mobile app installed need to send 789 to Beacon in order to switch to SMS mode
- This can also be done through the Mobile App Settings, but it’s easiest to do it this way
- When a Web Dispatcher sends a chat message to a Responder via SMS, the message will always start with 
- To reply to a chat message via SMS, Responders must always start the message with 411
- 411 will not show up in the Web Chat window, as shown above
- More than one Web Dispatcher can communicate with Responders via SMS Chat at the same time.
- Please keep in mind that SMS Responders won’t know which Web Dispatcher they are communicating with, or if there’s more than one of them in the conversation, so Web Dispatchers should always identify themselves when necessary
SMS messaging has inherent limitations, so there are a couple other things to keep in mind:
- All SMS Chat Messages sent by Responders must start with 411. If you don’t start your message with 411, Beacon will not know what you’re trying to say, so will reply to you with the last message it sent
- Responders must not include 411 when responding to Incident Messages. If you are replying to an Incident Alert or any other incident message, just follow the normal message prompts and don’t include 411
- Group Chat Messaging is possible only in Incident Chats, and with limitations. If a Web Dispatcher sends a Chat Message to an Incident Chat Room, all Responders assigned to that incident will receive it, whether they are using the Mobile App or SMS. However, when an Assigned Responder replies to that message via SMS, only the Web Dispatcher will receive their message — no other Assigned Responders will receive it. (This is due to the limitations of SMS.) Web Dispatchers must remember this when sending Chat Messages to the Incident Chat Room.
- It’s possible for Responders to switch between mobile app chat and SMS chat, but they have to remember what mode they are in
- To receive chat messages via SMS, send 789 to Beacon to switch to SMS mode
- To receive chat messages via the mobile app, simply open the mobile app and change the messaging mode back to DATA using the Status Icon on the Home Screen or using the Settings screen selector.