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Blackboard Connect 5 Adds New Mass Notification Features
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Blackboard's mass notification system has been updated with better data integration features and automatic messaging to IP endpoints, such as voice-over-IP phones. Blackboard Connect is a multi-modal notification system that school officials can use to send messages through voice, email, text, fax, pager, Facebook, and Twitter. Since its release a year ago Blackboard Connect 5 has sent messages to 28 million people around the world, the company said in a statement.
The latest round of enhancements includes new data integration tools, such as a client-side data uploader program to streamline data integration and give users more control over the integration process; automated contact database integration between Blackboard Connect and Blackboard Engage (previously Edline); and scheduled synchronization with secure file servers for automated, routine notifications.
Blackboard is also tapping technology from Singlewire to add messaging directly to endpoints running on the Internet Protocol, such as Cisco IP phones. Eventually, that upgrade could encompass other IP endpoints, such as paging systems, digital signage, and sirens
The newest version also includes a boost to single-sign-on; enhanced geo-targeting capabilities and weather templates for automated weather alerts recorded in a human voice; and internationalization improvements, such as interface support for right-to-left alphabets such as Arabic and Hebrew.
"The rapid adoption of Blackboard Connect 5 speaks to the platform's innovative, reliable and easy-to-use technology for effective emergency notification and community outreach," said Ed Miller, president of Blackboard Connect. "We've streamlined the data integration, message creation and delivery process so that communities receive more relevant, targeted information faster than ever before. The result is communities that are more informed, engaged and secure at all times."
Blackboard Connect users include Ohio University in Athens, Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan, and the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.
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.