What is a pager?
A pager also known as a beeper is a device that is essentially a small battery operated radio receiver that when the proper signal is received will set off an alert (either audible or vibrating) and display either a numeric message such as a phone number or a word message if the pager is alphanumeric capable. In the case of in-house paging such as a restaurant, on location pagers offer a quick way to communicate with guests, servers and colleagues when they are ready to be seated or needed.
Pagers reached their peak popularity in the late 1980's through late 1990's. Around the year 2000, cell phones became smaller with a longer battery life and cell phone plans became less expensive which enabled the average consumer to switch from paging to cellular communication. At the peak of pager popularity, there were well over 60,000,000 pagers in use worldwide.
Today, there are approximately 2,000,000 pagers in use in the United States (not including pager apps and in-house paging). Pagers have found their niche as a dependable, cost effective way for urgent priority messaging for people that need to be reached. Industries that have found pagers indispensable included Healthcare, I.T., Alarm Applications, Property Maintenance, Landscapers and just about any business that requires quick alerts that rise above and beyond the capabilities of simple text messaging and phone calls. Doctors use them to be alerted by the substantially louder audible paging alert during sleeping hours when they normally shut off their phones as not to be awaken by social media alerts, news alerts, non-priority text messages, etc as well as situations where there is no cellular reception within a hospital. Professionals such as lawyers and doctors consulting with clients where a cellular call or text could be considered a rude interruption to a billable meeting where pagers can be used for extremely important alerts that must get through.
In addition, pagers are also used in situations where cell phones are not available or now allowed. For example, high security government buildings do not allow cell phones. And in this interesting situation...Cell phone repair businesses need a way to communicate with their customers as many people no longer have landlines and rely exclusively on their cell phone. While a cell phone is in for repair, a pager is lent to the customer to communicate with them that their cell phone is ready for pickup or in the case where the phone needs costly repairs, the repair center can communicate this information via an alphanumeric pager.
Critical Messaging via the Zipit Confirm App cater to a niche where money and/or health may be at stake without an urgent dependable way of communicating that is quicker and more dependable than text messaging. The Zipit Confirm App can also be set up for escalation where if someone is on call and doesn't respond within a preset amount of time, the next app is alerted on another phone and so on until a page is responded to. This is extremely useful when a team handles issues and a team member or members may be tied up on another call. Rather than a client, patient or customer needing to make multiple calls to find help, they just need to send one page.
We are frequently asked what is the difference between a 1-way pager, 2-way pager, numeric and alphanumeric pager. Here are the simple answers:
- 1-way numeric pagers are the simplest least expensive pagers. They can only receive and display numbers dialed in from a phone.
- 1-way alphanumeric pagers can do the same as a 1-way numeric pager, but they also have their own email address so emailed word messages can be sent and displayed on the pager. The messages can be up to 200 characters and spaces long (message length is dependent on the paging carrier settings).
- 2-way pagers can accomplish the same as 1-way pagers but similar to a cellphone, they can also respond back to a message sent via email and/or text message if programmed to do so. They cannot handle voice phone calls.