Brandeis University Implements InformaCast – Case Study

Brandeis University Implements InformaCast as a part of a Campus-wide Emergency Management Notification System.

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Brandeis University, a leading university outside of Boston with a total student enrollment of approximately 6,000 and about 1,000 faculty members.

In the wake of the tragedy at Virginia Tech in April 2007, universities across the country were confronted with the need for an improved method of all-campus communication. Brandeis University didn’t waste any time.Their Crisis Communications Team immediately began to seek out the best solution for their campus.

John Turner, Brandeis’ Director of Networks and Systems remembers that parents were asking a lot of questions: “What are you doing for communication? How are you going to let us know? How are you going to let our son or daughter know in case of a crisis? What other mechanisms do you have?”

As additional analysis of the Virginia Tech occurrence became available, reports and assessments pointed to the critical nature of a public address, or PA, system. Brandeis had recently deployed approximately 5,000 Cisco IP phones across the campus. Dormitory rooms, for example, had been equipped with one phone per resident, providing an ideal foundation for PA messaging. For this reason, says Turner, “We pretty much looked at InformaCast from day one.” The Crisis Communications Team realized that with nearly all the major components already in place, they could effectively implement InformaCast with minimal cost and no system disruption.

“The surprise in implementation of the system,” notes Turner, “was the ease of doing it. It was: download the software, get a license key, get a server, point it at our CallManager infrastructure, and we were done. We were up and running in, really, I would say less than
four hours.”

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