Integrated Mass Notification Helps Texas A&M Get the Message Out Quickly
Texas A&M University can issue alerts simultaneously across multiple platforms like SMS, IP connections, social media and more.
on emergency response radios. Anyone watching TV connected to the campus cable TV system or watching the campus TV station will see a message on screen as well.
A dispatcher at the campus police station can send the messages via a Web-based dashboard and send separate messages to certain groups to direct emergency response teams, for example. The school’s IT staff worked with dispatchers on training them on how to use the system.
TAMU’s primary and secondary software licenses allowed the system to exist on different servers that mirrored each other and required that the databases on each, containing all the contacts and delivery methods for the alerting system, were synched and up to date. An upgrade to a virtual networking environment with database clustering has eased that burden and now keeps that data up to date, says Marlin Crouse, TAMU’s senior lead software applications developer.
TAMU has also dedicated itself to transparency, publishing the results of every alert since 2010 and how long it takes for the messages to be sent by the various means on its Code Maroon Web site.
The university is also in the process of adding other communications methods to the mix, including voice alerts through fire alarm panel speakers, digital displays in the lobbies and other public areas, and bringing desktop pop-up messaging from 5,000 to 40,000 networked computers.
A smartphone app to enable messaging will also be available in the fall. The app will act like a text message and may be delivered even faster, Clark says. “We grew up with the system and are adding other methods as they are available.”
Despite the growing need for emergency notification at schools, advanced systems like that one at Texas A&M remains somewhat of an exception for something that may quickly become the rule.
“It’s still new,” says AtHoc’s Tran. “Universities are generally open campuses. They were never quite required to have an enterprise-class integrated alerting system. But the more they get into it [with simple solutions], the more comprehensive solutions they want.”
This article originally ran on TechDecisionsMedia.com.
- Photo Gallery: How Texas A&M’s Integrated Mass Notification System Works
- Your Emergency Notification Cheat Sheet
- Best Practices for Specifying Emergency Notification Systems in Schools
- Solutions to Your Common Emergency Notification Problems
- How to Select a Digital Signage System
- How to Get the Public to Pay Attention to Emergency Alerts
If you appreciated this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!
Leading in Turbulent Times: Effective Campus Public Safety Leadership for the 21st Century
This new webcast will discuss how campus public safety leaders can effectively incorporate Clery Act, Title IX, customer service, “helicopter” parents, emergency notification, town-gown relationships, brand management, Greek Life, student recruitment, faculty, and more into their roles and develop the necessary skills to successfully lead their departments. Register today to attend this free webcast!