Last modified: Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Indiana University announces new communication system
IU-Notify will allow university and campus leaders to reach thousands of students in minutes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 26, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University announced it has selected the Connect-ED communication service by the NTI Group Inc. (NTI) to provide a notification system that will be capable of reaching faculty, students and staff on all eight campuses within minutes. The service, part of the broader "IU-Notify" initiative, will be implemented with limited capabilities in October, tested in phases through fall, and should be fully functional by the end of the calendar year.
The search for a system with these capabilities was part of a university-wide security review conducted after the Virginia Tech shooting incident.
"This system provides a much-needed tool to reach the entire IU community with important information on short notice," said IU President Michael A. McRobbie. "It can be used for everything from weather delays to other administrative news. It is essential that we be able to notify students immediately in emergency situations because up-to-date communication helps minimize the spread of misinformation, maintain order and provide direction."
Built exclusively for post-secondary institutions, the Connect-ED service allows communication in many modes including voice messages to home, work and cell phones; text messages to cell phones, PDAs and other devices; written messages to email accounts; and messages to teletypewriters and telecommunication devices (TTY/TDD) for the hearing impaired. During a time-sensitive situation, multimodal communication is a more comprehensive way to reach people in the environment they are in when the issue arises. Communication is sent simultaneously to all available contact points for each person.
The system has been used by schools across the country during events such as Hurricane Katrina and to help locate missing individuals. The system can be used to notify entire populations of school closures and contingency plans connected to inclement weather or other late-breaking developments. Additionally, some campuses use the service for more routine communications: for example, during the admissions process and to alert students to important financial aid or other administrative deadlines.
"We recognized the important role that immediate communication plays in keeping members of our community safe and have been looking at these services for some time. Of course, the post-event reports of the Virginia Tech incident absolutely served to verify our thinking and speed our process," said Mark Bruhn, associate vice president, information and infrastructure assurance. "As a main component of our critical incident communications plan, IU-Notify with its multimodal capabilities will allow us to keep individuals informed, whether they are in their dorms or offices, sitting in front of their computers, or on their way to class."
Bruhn added, "This system allows IU to load contact information for all students, faculty, staff and for others who may be physically on one of our campuses for an extended period, such as IU Foundation employees, volunteer faculty, visiting scholars, and contract employees. We also provide for parents who may wish to subscribe to certain types of communications."
The data will come from central student, employee and faculty databases, and from an online self-service form in IU's OneStart portal (onestart.iu.edu). The online form is scheduled for release in early October.
A strategy/policy group has been formed to address issues, policies, standards and procedures for IU-Notify.
About Indiana University
Indiana University enrolls 99,122 undergraduate and graduate students on campuses in Bloomington, Indianapolis, New Albany, South Bend, Kokomo, Fort Wayne, Richmond and Gary. It employs more than 16,000 faculty and staff.
About The NTI Group
The NTI Group Inc. (NTI), a Delaware corporation, is a privately held company that provides award-winning communication systems designed specifically for local, regional, state and federal government entities. The Connect family of services enables rapid dissemination of critical information via voice and text devices using its premier mass notification engine designed to allow users to quickly and easily record and send time-based notifications to thousands of people in minutes using just a telephone. NTI makes and distributes the Connect-ED®, Connect-CTY®, Connect-GOV®, and Connect-MIL® systems, allowing users to target specific groups and/or geographic regions within their database(s) and engage recipients in two-way communication by asking them to respond to questions via their telephone keypads.