5 Tips to Help Your Campus Select a Mobile Security Solution

Here are a few tips to make it easier for campuses to choose mobile technologies to enhance safety and emergency response.

With nearly every college student carrying a cell phone these days, campus security organizations are beginning to utilize a number of mobile technologies in order to enhance safety and emergency response on campus. While there are a number of personal safety apps for students, figuring out how to create a comprehensive plan that helps your response efforts – reducing response times, increasing situational awareness, etc. – can turn the project into a long, confusing process.

In selecting an appropriate mobile solution or solutions, there are a number of factors to take into account, such as student body size, campus location, software, hardware, the ability to integrate with existing security systems, and of course, cost, among other factors. This checklist, developed in conjunction with campus security professionals, was designed to help anyone grappling with the solutions available today.

As you go about selecting a mobile security solution, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Determine and prioritize the features most relevant for your campus. Do you want to provide students and staff with a way to report incidents from an app on their phones? Do you need the ability to customize incident types? Do your security officers carry smartphones, and if not, would you consider giving them phones during their shifts if it would improve response times? What kind of reporting systems do you need in place? Encryption?
  2. Integration: . Many campus security organizations already utilize systems such as computer-aided dispatch, blue light phones, and mass notification systems. Does the mobile solution offer the ability to integrate with any or all of your existing systems? How long will it take your IT team to deploy an integrated system?
  3. Clery Act compliance: Does the mobile solution include easy reporting features to help your campus comply with the Clery Act? What is on the “wish list” of your Clery Compliance officer, and are those features available within the mobile solution?
  4. Ease of use and set-up: . Whatever system you decide to deploy, it has got to be intuitive enough for thousands of students, hundreds of staff members and dozens of security/public safety officers to use without any special training. Can the system be configured for your campus by someone who does not have technical know-how, or would IT need to get involved?
  5. Cost: Can the system be scaled to include thousands of students without the price becoming unfeasible? Which features will give you the greatest benefit for the lowest cost? And what are the metrics by which you’ll evaluate the system – response times, more successful incident outcomes, or something else?

These are just a few of the considerations you’ll need to think about as you evaluate potential mobile solutions for your campus. For a more in-depth list of features and factors, download the campus security checklist.

Julie Zuckerman is the VP of Marketing for NowForce and can be reached at jzuckerman@nowforce.com.

Note: The views expressed by guest bloggers and contributors are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Campus Safety magazine.


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