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U Pittsburgh Turns to Verizon Business for Automated Notification Services

The University of Pittsburgh has signed on for Verizon Notification Services to communicate to the campus community. Using the services, the university can deliver customized, time-sensitive communications through a variety of means--including wireline and wireless phones, faxes, text messaging, and e-mail--to its 31,000 students and 12,000 faculty and staff across five campuses.

"The University of Pittsburgh began exploring options for text-messaging services beginning in October 2006, but the tragic events at Virginia Tech in April 2007 provided the catalyst that really kicked our deployment plans into high gear," said Jinx Walton, director of computing services and systems development. "When we assessed our options, it was clear that Verizon Business had a solid track record of success. When you really look at it, delivering messages is Verizon's core business, and we've made the right decision implementing this platform across the university."

The alert notification platform, which integrates with the school's central directory, received a tryout before testing was completed when the university received a bomb threat in October 2007. The school used the notification platform to send about 6,000 voice, e-mail, and text messages, reaching 99.8 percent of intended recipients. Three subsequent uses of the alert notification system delivered similar results.

The Pennsylvania school evaluated several other alert-notification services from different providers, including a text-only platform, before selecting the Verizon offering.

Features of the notification platform include conference bridging, near real-time performance monitoring, priority delivery, and message-receipt tracking, as well as built-in redundancy. It's capable of sending alerts to users in 125 countries in North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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