New Phone Technologies Can Help Colleges Communicate Campuswide in Emergencies
A company called Rave Wireless sells a new type of campus communications system designed to work with cell phones.
The system has been installed at the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore, where over 90 percent of students carry cell phones, notes Ronald G. Forsythe, a vice president in charge of communications systems at the university. In comparison, fewer students check campus email or carry laptops, he says.
The university’s system relies on sending text messages to students’ cell phones if an emergency arises.
Monmouth University in New Jersey recently acquired a new cell phone system called Connect-ED that transmits voice as well as text messages to cell phones, says David J. Bopp, the university’s associate vice president for telecommunications.
One flaw in such systems, however, is that participation is voluntary. In addition, not all students keep their phones on, and text messages are often limited to 100 characters. As a result, such systems are often supplemented with dedicated emergency Web sites, phone message systems, and public address speakers.
At Butler University in Indianapolis, a recently installed Internet-based phone system allows certain faculty and staff to issue audio and text messages through special phones in case of emergencies.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from the Chronicle of Higher Education (04/27/07); Vol. 53, No. 34, P. A16; Fischman, Josh; Foster, Andrea L.