University Deploys New Alert System

GREENSBORO, N.C.  — A new campus safety and security technology tested successfully in February by campus police will be deployed this spring as a fully operational alert system at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG).

SOS Alert System will strategically deploy 300 cell-phone sized units to UNCG Departments across campus as the operational phase begins in April and May. The company that created the software and alert system – New Centurion Systems – has been designated by the university as the sole source provider for the technology.

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“Thanks to this designation, we can deploy the system in an operational mode and be able to alert people to threatening or harmful situation,” said Victor Watts, chief executive officer of New Centurion Systems, which developed the SOS Alert System.  “We believe the system can and will prevent harm to students and that has been our focus throughout the development process.”

The new communications system – novel because of a self-contained network that operates independently of commercial phone systems sending traditional text or email messaging – was developed by law enforcement officers who know first-hand the challenges affecting emergency communications.  Working with a team of advanced, software engineers and designers, the company leveraged this first-responder and rapid deployment expertise to develop a revolutionary advancement in personal safety technology.

The SOS Alert SystemTM is the first and only private, two-way emergency notification system.  Individuals carrying the device can instantly request help in an emergency.  At the same time, police officers can send emergency instructions and alerts to hundreds of thousands of users in seconds instead of the many minutes required by most existing systems.

Campus security officials said the new system delivered mass notification alerts much more quickly than anything else available while still pushing the messages out to the University’s existing communication processes including text message, email, Twitter, Facebook and network pop-up.

Assistant Police Chief Paul Lester, who coordinates the quarterly tests, said the key advantage was the consolidated interface and delivery technology.   “By using the SOS Alert System, we were able to push out to all of our notification systems within 26 seconds as opposed to what normally takes 10 to 15 minutes.”

Because of tragedies on college campuses and the critical value in communicating instantly with a target campus audience, college police departments routinely test notification systems and review emerging technologies. New Centurion System’s technology works by creating an independent, self-contained wireless network serving a defined geographic area. Participants carry a small, phone-like device featuring a prominent emergency alert button.  When pressed, the device simultaneously signals a first responder team and provides the location of the individual in distress. The messaging occurs almost instantaneously.

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