American U Implements Wireless Campus Security Calling
- By Dian Schaffhauser
In an effort to bolster student safety, American University in Washington, DC is implementing a service from Rave Wireless that allows students to use their cell phones to call campus security instead of tracking down the closest blue-light emergency phone.
As part of the RaveGuardian service, by pressing a certain key on the phone, a student at the university can activate loud alarms in the public safety office and display his or her location on the campus on security monitors along with a photograph of the owner of the phone and his or her physical description.
Students decide how much identifying information to give staff when they sign up for the university's Campus Connect Service. All of that private information is kept on Rave servers off the campus.
The same service also allows students who have signed up to call for a virtual police escort at night. A student calls in and sets a timer. If he or she doesn't call back to deactivate the service at the end of the time limit, campus police are notified and given the student's location. Students can also leave a voice message detailing their route, to help police track them down should trouble arise.
The location-aware services are only available to students using Sprint phones with data plans.
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.