Its capabilities include using SMS text messages to help schools instantly communicate with entire campus or specific groups such as a dorm, branch campus or facilities crew.
The unprecedented value of mobile phones is that today’s students carry them wherever they go. With various studies showing more than 90% of college students carrying mobile phones, schools can utilize this untapped communication tool to increase public safety. Omnilert is a cross-carrier mobile content service that enables school officials to use Short Message Service (SMS) text messaging to communicate important news, updates, and reminders on students’ mobile phones. Omnilert is available for purchase today and pricing varies by the size of the school. The new version of Omnilert can be purchased and operational in the same day. For many public schools, government funding for safety and security initiatives are available to cover the low cost of Omnilert.
“I save a lot of time with Omnilert, because it lets me communicate with everyone in the manner they prefer to be contacted,” explains Maury Chaput, Executive Director of Administrative Services for Anne Arundel Community College’s 56,000 students. “The faculty generally prefer to be contacted via email, but the students like SMS text messaging. And, almost every student I see has a cell phone these days.”
Chaput continued, “We had a power outage just before setting up Omnilert. We essentially had to verbally notify everyone in the building and people approaching the building that it was closed. Now with Omnilert, I recently sent an alert about a school closing from my BlackBerry while traveling in Florida. The campus community was notified of the closing in minutes. That’s effective.”
In a time of crisis, phone calls and e-mail can overload and jam, while text messages use very little bandwidth, making them much more reliable. For example, wired and wireless phone lines were busy for hours during the terrorist attacks on 9/11. However, SMS text messages went through just fine.
With Omnilert, school officials quickly and easily send time-sensitive messages directly to students – whether they are on or off campus. Built around a highly reliable SMS text messaging system, Omnilert sends out 18,000 messages per minute to subscriber’s cell phones, text pagers, email accounts, and school web pages.
Omnilert’s SmartCode technology allows schools to “virtually integrate” Omnilert functions into their existing school web site by simply adding a line of code into any web page for registration, access or for posting notices. This means new users do not have to go to a third party site to start the process of signing up, while the school looks more professional. The Bulletin Board feature dynamically posts content of messages instantly and automatically on school web pages, so anyone who posted the message no longer needs to contact the school webmaster to update the school web site. The new Groups functionality allows schools to create unlimited groups and assign “Group Admins” to manage them independently. Group Admins only have access to their group for sending content, so they cannot access other areas of the system as an Administrator can.