April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech Looked into text messaging alerts last year - here's one mass SMS alert solution

One thing that has gone through my mind today (and likely yours too) is why can't an institution like Virginia Tech implement an emergency response system based on text messaging... isn't it a no-brainer given the level of of penetration of cell phones? This isn't to knock the response or second guess the response by officials, however, it is to bring awareness to the technology that does exist. This morning I featured details of one such solution - OmniAlert. OmniAlert specializes in mass communications for sending time-sensitive information to large groups of people. The web-based service requires no additional hardware or software, is extremely easy-to-use, and is completely self-administered by each client and their subscribers. Now here's a chilling news item that was reported last year on Roanoke.com http://www.roanoke.com/news/nrv/wb/wb/xp-81392 ... the story was titled Tech looks to tap into text messaging. The story details how VT was considering following the lead of other Colleges by implementing a text messaging notification system. The need for such an alert system came out of last year's evacuation of the student center at Tech due to a manhunt. Obviously one problem with mobile alerts is that cell phones are banned from use in most classrooms, however, it would be a viable use for those in transit or perhaps between classes. Moreover, the notification system provides users (students in this case) with a number of options for receiving notices, including text message, email, IM, RSS feed, email, Blackberry, pager, and many more. For more on this see http://www.lbszone.com/content/view/1842/2/ - See also http://www.omnilert.com - another such system that is in use by many institutions and provides mobile alerts is e2Campus - see http://www.e2campus.com/notification_services.htm

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