Emergency Text & EMail
Notification System
David Gray, VP/CIO, Mass
Bill Davis, VP/CIO/CFO, Bridgewater State College
Jeff...
Can SMS messaging help us communicate with our
community in an emergency?
• What is SMS? What are its strengths and
limita...
What is SMS?
• Short Message Service
– Works in the control channel – like call set up.
– Developed in the mid-1980s as a ...
How does it work?
• Well – from .4 messages per GSM customer in
1995 to 35 messages per customer in 2000
• Average charge ...
Where can it work?
• Almost anywhere
• Even in places where voicemail doesn’t go
through; even in places where mobile phon...
SMS has a number of characteristics that make it a valuable
tool when communicating in an emergency.
• Ubiquity – almost e...
SMS does have limitations.
• It is restricted to 160 character messages
– This leaves little room for nuance or explanatio...
What Percentage of the Community can use SMS now?
7 Key Steps to begin implementing SMS as a part of
your emergency communications strategy
7 Key Steps
• Set expectations with the CEO & CAO
• Set expectations with the CEO & CAO
– What an SMS communications system can do
– What are the shared responsibilities
• ...
• Set expectations with the CEO & CAO
• Reach consensus on critical campus decision
points
– Who will be included as messa...
• Set expectations with the CEO & CAO
• Reach consensus on critical campus decision
points
• Reach consensus on IT decisio...
• Set expectations with the CEO & CAO
• Reach consensus on critical campus decision points
• Reach consensus on IT decisio...
• Set expectations with the CEO & CAO
• Reach consensus on critical campus decision
points
• Reach consensus on IT decisio...
• Set expectations with the CEO & CAO
• Reach consensus on critical campus decision
points
• Reach consensus on IT decisio...
• Set expectations with the CEO & CAO
• Reach consensus on critical campus decision points
• Reach consensus on IT decisio...
SMS (Text) Messaging:
part of the solution for a mobile & wired community
Campus Safety in the 21st
Century
A Joint Sympos...
The Survey
• The purpose of the survey was to determine...
– how many in HE carry a mobile device
– best ways to notify ca...
• approximately 5% response rate based on estimate of
350k potential respondents
Fac/Adj
Staff/Admi
n
Students Other Total...
Visual Comparison of Responses
• suggests most constituents (90%) own a cell phone
• suggests off-campus students depend on cell phones
more
• urgent messages by voice, email and text
• non-urgent messages by email
• possible that constituents want multiple modes...
• faculty / staff: urgent messages by email, voice
• students: urgent messages by text
• all constituents: non-urgent mess...
• average of 75% of all constituents would sign up
• students are most likely regardless of institution type
• 80%+ of all populations report excellent or good service
• suggests text messaging is viable for many campuses
• impact:...
Preferred School Related Content by Constituent
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
Academic
Reminders
Athletic
Info
Campus...
• Bulletin Board
– www.uml.edu/it/helpboard
• presentation
• full results from survey
• vendor selection process document
...
Thank you.
Questions?
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  1. 1. Emergency Text & EMail Notification System David Gray, VP/CIO, Mass Bill Davis, VP/CIO/CFO, Bridgewater State College Jeff Thompson, Vice Chancellor/CIO, Mass Lowell Marc Eichen, VP/CIO, MassBay Community College Ed Roberts, Mass Lowell
  2. 2. Can SMS messaging help us communicate with our community in an emergency? • What is SMS? What are its strengths and limitations? • How many members of the community carry mobile phones & have used text messaging? • What are key steps to begin to implement SMS emergency messaging on campus?
  3. 3. What is SMS? • Short Message Service – Works in the control channel – like call set up. – Developed in the mid-1980s as a part of the GSM mobile telephone standards – Limited bandwidth – 160 characters of text – Very fast, particularly if measured from eyeball to eyeball – Can be originated from non-SMS devices and transmitted via gateway to SMS telco carriers
  4. 4. How does it work? • Well – from .4 messages per GSM customer in 1995 to 35 messages per customer in 2000 • Average charge of 11 cents per message, 90% profit margin, $80 billion annual revenue • Very popular, particularly in places where e- mail and internet access was initially more costly, e.g. Japan
  5. 5. Where can it work? • Almost anywhere • Even in places where voicemail doesn’t go through; even in places where mobile phone service is limited; even in places where there is limited internet access • SMS messages can get through
  6. 6. SMS has a number of characteristics that make it a valuable tool when communicating in an emergency. • Ubiquity – almost everyone with a cell phone can receive and read an SMS message (even members of the University and College community that have never sent a text message, can receive an emergency SMS message). • Speed – because messages are short and the technology uses bursts of data, messages can be sent quickly to very large populations of users • Coverage – even in large academic buildings or areas where voice mobile telephone service is problematic, SMS messages will be delivered • Cost - SMS messages are relatively inexpensive to send and to receive • Social Network – in a crowd or a class, not everyone needs to receive the message
  7. 7. SMS does have limitations. • It is restricted to 160 character messages – This leaves little room for nuance or explanation in an emergency event. • Not every mobile phone subscriber has enabled text messaging – although most mobile phone subscriptions include text messaging service at a nominal fee. • SMS messages are text – Members of the community with low visual acuity or language related issues (disabilities, non-English speakers) will be poorly served. • We don’t own the infrastructure
  8. 8. What Percentage of the Community can use SMS now?
  9. 9. 7 Key Steps to begin implementing SMS as a part of your emergency communications strategy
  10. 10. 7 Key Steps • Set expectations with the CEO & CAO
  11. 11. • Set expectations with the CEO & CAO – What an SMS communications system can do – What are the shared responsibilities • IT • Emergency responders • Community members – How SMS fits within emergency response plans & communication technologies – Reach consensus on critical campus decision points 7 Key Steps
  12. 12. • Set expectations with the CEO & CAO • Reach consensus on critical campus decision points – Who will be included as message recipients? – Is the system mandatory or voluntary – for which groups? – How will different groups be enrolled? – How should the system be used? – Who can send messages & in what circumstances? 7 Key Steps
  13. 13. • Set expectations with the CEO & CAO • Reach consensus on critical campus decision points • Reach consensus on IT decisions – Where will the data be collected – Where will the data be stored – How is the data validated & updated 7 Key Steps
  14. 14. • Set expectations with the CEO & CAO • Reach consensus on critical campus decision points • Reach consensus on IT decisions • Begin marketing and enrolling early – Keep campus stakeholders in the loop – Be creative • Amway • Lifeboat ethics • WUMB – And be persistent • For many, the roof will leak only when it rains 7 Key Steps
  15. 15. • Set expectations with the CEO & CAO • Reach consensus on critical campus decision points • Reach consensus on IT decisions • Begin marketing and enrolling early • Small events are great marketing opportunities 7 Key Steps
  16. 16. • Set expectations with the CEO & CAO • Reach consensus on critical campus decision points • Reach consensus on IT decisions • Begin marketing and enrolling early • Small events are great marketing opportunities • Respond to user comments – approach perfection asymptotically 7 Key Steps
  17. 17. • Set expectations with the CEO & CAO • Reach consensus on critical campus decision points • Reach consensus on IT decisions • Begin marketing and enrolling early • Small events are great marketing opportunities • Respond to user comments – approach perfection asymptotically • Test it – once per student per semester – Test small at first, segment the population – Test the system end to end, telephone numbers, communication, what to do 7 Key Steps
  18. 18. SMS (Text) Messaging: part of the solution for a mobile & wired community Campus Safety in the 21st Century A Joint Symposium UMass/Boston June 15, 2007 David Gray, VP/CIO, UMass, dgray@umassp.edu Bill Davis, VP/CIO/CFO, Bridgewater State College. davis@bridgew.edu Jeff Thompson, Vice Chancellor/CIO, UMass/Lowell, jeff_thompson@uml.edu Marc Eichen, VP/CIO, MassBay Community College, meichen@massbay.edu Ed Roberts, UMass/Lowell, edward_roberts@uml.edu
  19. 19. The Survey • The purpose of the survey was to determine... – how many in HE carry a mobile device – best ways to notify campus community in case of emergency or non-emergency event. • distributed to faculty, staff and students at all public higher education institutions • delivered via Web available over a 9 day period
  20. 20. • approximately 5% response rate based on estimate of 350k potential respondents Fac/Adj Staff/Admi n Students Other Totals Community Colleges 872 1,294 2,545 69 4,780 State Colleges 338 635 1,710 17 2,700 UMass 752 1,949 6,168 70 8,939 Totals 1,962 3,878 10,423 156 16,419 Responses by Type of Institution and Constituent
  21. 21. Visual Comparison of Responses
  22. 22. • suggests most constituents (90%) own a cell phone • suggests off-campus students depend on cell phones more
  23. 23. • urgent messages by voice, email and text • non-urgent messages by email • possible that constituents want multiple modes of communication for urgent communications
  24. 24. • faculty / staff: urgent messages by email, voice • students: urgent messages by text • all constituents: non-urgent messages by email
  25. 25. • average of 75% of all constituents would sign up • students are most likely regardless of institution type
  26. 26. • 80%+ of all populations report excellent or good service • suggests text messaging is viable for many campuses • impact: campuses need to understand/document limitations
  27. 27. Preferred School Related Content by Constituent 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% Academic Reminders Athletic Info Campus Events Course-Specific Info Fin Aid Info & Reminders Housing Info & Reminders Student Life Info Faculty / Adjuncts Staff / Admin Student (residential) Student (commuters) • residential students want housing info & reminders • commuters want a variety of info to stay connected to campus • considerations for expanding service to include non-urgent msgs
  28. 28. • Bulletin Board – www.uml.edu/it/helpboard • presentation • full results from survey • vendor selection process document • other documents • Contact – Jeff_Thompson@uml.edu – Edward_Roberts@uml.edu
  29. 29. Thank you. Questions?

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