Leveraging a Unified Mass Notification Solution

Understand the benefits of leveraging a fully connected mass notification solution across your campus

Make no mistake, mass notification solutions are a critical necessity no matter what size your campus is. Natural disasters and violent situations can occur when you least expect, and without the right tools, campus populations can be put into dangerous situations. Clear communication is of vital importance, and the right technology can make this easier if deployed correctly. Between email, mobile phones, desktop computers, speakers and other communication devices and formats, it can be difficult understand what is the best method for reaching people. What’s worse, the more options a campus has available to send a message, the more complicated that distribution can become.

Campuses should look to solutions that work well with other tools to bring mass notification into a centralized system that can send messages in a wide variety of formats to an array of devices. Here are five benefits of implementing a unified mass notification solution on your campus.

Speed

When an emergency occurs on campus, time is of the essence. Over the past few years, there have been numerous times when a campus incident has resolved itself before people even know anything has taken place. In other instances, official campus channels can’t keep pace with social media leading to confusing and ineffective responses. In some cases, this may be due to a lack of information, poor planning, or a chain of command that involves too many steps. However, the slow spread of information from official campus channels can be due to too many channels administrators need to engage.

Leveraging a unified solution can save precious time in a crisis. A system that allows administrators to prebuild messages, connect to other systems and devices, and send messages in multiple formats, means that with a press of a button everyone on campus can be reached. This removes the headache of determining what to put in the message, and eliminates the need to leverage different systems for text and audio messages. When everything is tied together, it simplifies and speeds up the notification process.

Reach

Along with speed, reach is one of the most important factors for mass notification. Reach effectiveness is determined by how likely it is your message will reach 100 percent of your campus with an emergency message. Many campuses simply use mass SMS text messaging to send alerts, but this is not always the best approach, especially on a college campus. As is the case with most any organization, campuses have an obligation to fulfill a duty of care when an emergency occurs. Campuses can’t fulfill this duty if they aren’t using every method at their disposal to share safety information.

A unified mass notification system that can bring together disparate systems and devices, expanding the reach of a campus’s emergency messages. Being able to reach mobile devices, desktop computers, IP speakers, digital signage, desk phones and more with the same message at the same time makes it much more likely everyone becomes aware of the situation taking place. This can keep people out of harm’s way and signals that the proper people are aware of what is happening and are responding to it.

Price

It’s not hard to see that the more tools a campus needs to utilize to send messages, the higher the cost will be to acquire and maintain those tools. Using a single system can keep costs down, but it can also add additional value to existing investments. Compatibility is crucial when looking at a mass notification system that can unify communications on campus. The right system will be able to connect with the devices we’ve mentioned helping turn underutilized devices into powerful safety tools.

In addition, using a single system, means your staff have one point of contact should they experience any issues. This removes the worry of not knowing who to turn to should a problem arise. A single vendor can provide a more meaningful relationship through a dedicated support staff and comprehensive product updates. These factors help contribute to getting more out of your investment.

Testing

If you’re going to take the time to deploy different technology solutions on campus, you want to make sure they work. A unified mass notification system that ties other solutions together can help provide a better big picture view of how your system is operating than having those systems exist in isolation. Testing can take on many forms, including sending mass notifications for non-critical situations. Regular campus-wide messages sent using your unified system help determine what’s working and what isn’t, without the hassle of needing to track issues down through multiple individual systems. This also helps campus rest assured that their system works the way they intend it to when they need it most.

Recognition

When an emergency message is sent out, it’s important that the recipients recognize who the message is from. With disparate systems, this can add unneeded confusion to already hectic situations. Using a unified mass notification system helps create a single entity from which messages are sent out. This helps recipients recognize messages, and also let’s them know where to turn when they need information. The faster recipients recognize that an emergency is happening, the faster a response can be organized and people can seek safety.

A unified mass notification solution offers a wide range of benefits. Look for solutions that can help simplify processes, reach more devices, and increase the speed at which messages can be distributed.

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2019 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.

Digital Edition

  • Campus Security & Life Safety Magazine - July August 2019

    July/August 2019

    Featuring:

    • Making Security Inclusive
    • Reducing a Carbon Footprint
    • Taking a Connected Approach
    • Proactive Security for Active Shooter Situations

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