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U Illinois Overhauls Emergency Notification System

The University of Illinois reported it's replacing its legacy mass notification system with a new system from Rave Mobile Safety that incorporates phone, text, e-mail, social networking, digital signage, and browser-based popups. It's being tested this summer and is expected to be in place some time in the fall.

Rave Mobile Safety is a provider of a range of telecommunications-based security systems, including its flagship Rave Alert mass notification system. It also offers Rave Guardian and EyeWitness, both of which U Illinois will be deploying as well. Rave Guardian provides enhanced profile information for first responders when emergencies are called in, including a picture of the user, mobile number, GPS location, and other personal details. It also includes a function that acts as a " digital alternative to a campus walking escort," according to the university. "A user will be able to set the estimated time needed to walk to a destination. If that time expires and the user has not canceled the timer, a Public Safety telecommunicator will call to ensure that the user is safe."

EyeWitness is a reporting tool that allows members of the campus community to report crimes using via text.

"It is imperative for the campus populace to receive emergency messages as quickly as possible," said U Illinois Police Lt. Todd Short in a statement posted on the university's news site. "Given today's technology, it is equally imperative for the campus to use multiple mechanisms to ensure the greatest number of users receive the message in a timely manner. The new system will be able to send emergency messages more quickly than the previous system and will distribute these messages in more formats. This will allow the campus community to receive critical information so they can take appropriate personal protective measures in the event of an emergency."

The university reported that the system will cost $62,500 per year. According to a report in the News-Gazette, U Illinois' contract with Rave will last two years with an option for three two-year extensions at the same annual cost.

"The safety of the campus community is our No. 1 priority," Short said. "Even in times of economic crisis, we would rather spend the extra dollars to have a product that can help save someone's life."

Rave's campus safety systems are in use by more than 300 colleges and universities in the United States, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .

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