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Carnegie Mellon Shifts Emergency Messaging to e2Campus
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Starting this summer, Carnegie Mellon University is shifting to a new emergency notification service. The selection was made by a team consisting of people from computing services, internal public information, campus police, student affairs, facilities management, and environmental health and safety. The campus brands its emergency service, which will be changing from Send Word Now to Omnilert's e2Campus, as "CMU-Alert."
Web-based E2Campus provides the functions for allowing campuses to alert subscribers in emergency events. A new feature in the latest edition provides an SMS "inbox," to allow users to have text conversations with emergency personnel. The company claims on its Web site that its service can send messages to "tens of thousands of people within minutes."
In a statement, the institution said it had sought specific features for the replacement, including support for international numbers, an easier interface, more flexible user management, an application programming interface for integrating the software with campus portals, and good customer service.
"In dealing with e2Campus, the staff was very knowledgeable and helpful," said Director of Environmental Health and Safety Madelyn Miller. "We like the product user interface too, the way things are set up and easy to launch. The Scenario Manager is right on our dashboard, so it's very easy to launch something that is immediately dangerous to life and health. We had a requirement for international numbers and e2Campus supported that. Our IT person said the e2Campus API was very easy to work with."
She added, "With some vendors, they'll tell you they can do anything, like they can hook you up with Facebook, Twitter, and alert beacons, but e2Campus has already done it and proved it works reliably. They really do what they say they'll do, and that impresses me."
The university previously had adopted Send Word Now in fall 2011.
Other e2Campus customers in higher education include the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, South Carolina's Greenville Technical College, and the University of Arizona.
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.