PIER Systems has launched version 6.0 of the PIER--Public Information Emergency Response--system. The intent of the PIER program is to allow public affairs staff to draft, edit, and send out a message to multiple audiences directly, without having to go through conventional mass communication channels. PIER also allows users to send out notifications such as SMS text messages, manage public inquiries and respond to media effectively.
Vanderbilt University and Medical Center (VUMC) will be upgrading its wireless connectivity on campus with the help of Sprint, a long-time provider of wireless services to the school. Sprint will expand the existing system, including additional network coverage on both the Nationwide Sprint Network and the Nextel National Network covering eight buildings.
Delaware State University in Dover will use the Honeywell Instant Alert Plus notification service to help communicate with students, faculty, and staff in an emergency. The university previously relied on e-mail, fliers, and door-to-door outreach to circulate information. With the new system, the school will be able to reach people both on and off campus via phone, cell phone, pager, e-mail, or PDA. In a statement, Honeywell said the service can send up to 175,000 30-second phone calls and 125,000 text messages in 15 minutes.
Problems with cell phone coverage aren't uncommon on college campuses. There are two main reasons: The beefy structure of historic buildings can block cellular reception within walls, and, on more remote campuses outside cities, signal coverage can be light.
The Foundation for California Community Colleges (FCCC) has awarded a statewide emergency alert notification contract to Waterfall Mobile. The contract establishes Waterfall's AlertU as an approved technology through the official non-profit foundation for the California Community College (CCC) system office. Through this partnership, individual colleges may directly implement emergency communication services, eliminating lengthy technology evaluation and RFP processes.
King's College and Arizona State University have switched to Omnilert's e2Campus for emergency notification. Omnilert also has introduced a new program called the ENS Conversion Service that allows schools to bulk upload data from their previous emergency notification system into e2Campus at no charge.
Two Pennsylvania teaching colleagues with an interest in music and technology are bringing remote experts into classrooms at almost no cost, using Skype's free videoconferencing technology.
Bio-Key International has announced the release of two new emergency alert and management solutions for the education market. MobileSRO is designed specifically for the K-12 environment, while MobileCampus caters to higher education and other campus-based organizations.
Butler University said it has deployed the Proofpoint Messaging Security Gateway-Virtual Edition as a hybrid solution with the Messaging Security Gateway appliance to address anti-spam and anti-virus protection. The school has actually used the Messaging Security Gateway hardware appliance since 2004 to defend against inbound messaging threats such as spam, viruses, and denial-of-service attacks.
The University of Kansas Medical Center has installed a new system from Alertus Technologies that notifies students, faculty, staff and visitors on campus in the case of an emergency. The primary communication tools in the new system are wall-mounted "beacons," which function as a way for the KU Medical Center Police Department to communicate with the campus in real time. The units are located in every classroom and on every floor in university buildings. If activated, the beacons display flashing red lights and sound sirens, and directions are given on the units' text boards.