University of Florida: Broadcast Alerts to Digital Displays

The University of Florida has used an InformaCast system for over a year to help them employ a multi-modal approach to emergency notification. In their most recent addition, the Department of Housing and Residence Education at the school has started using InformaCast to send UF Alerts to Four Winds Interactive digital displays.

In the event of an emergency, students will see a message like the one pictured, with the UF Alert logo, an alert message, and details and instructions for how they should respond.

This is all part of UF Alert, a compilation of procedures and technology that the university uses to notify the campus community in the event of an emergency. Students are educated to recognize UF Alerts as their information authority in times of crisis.

 In addition to the new integration with digital signage, InformaCast helps UF Alerts reach staff and students via the school website, cell phones (via SMS text message), school email accounts, IP telephones and speakers, Facebook, Twitter, and RSS feeds. The school also has a toll-free UF Rumor Control hotline that students and staff can call to obtain official information.

Read about the different ways University of Florida is using InformaCast:

UF added InformaCast software to send a message through several platforms, including email, social media and the school's website, at one time.

Article Appearing in Independent Florida Aligator on January 9th, 2012

university of floridaSince fall classes ended Dec. 7, UF has used its emergency alert system on two occasions. Both times, the administration was pleased with how quickly text messages were sent to students and employees.

UF administration used the emergency system on Dec. 9 to 10 and on Dec. 20, sending a pair of messages in each incident. A message is first sent to a company that takes the message and distributes it to every wireless carrier. Then, the message is delivered to phones of students and employees registered with the emergency alert system.

Of the four messages delivered in December, the slowest reached the aggregator at 2 minutes, 1 second, said UF Emergency Management Coordinator Kenneth Allen. The fastest message reached it at 1 minute, 52 seconds.

The time represents how long it took for the last message to be sent to the aggregator, not the first one or the average time.

"Looking at it is like looking at a freight train," Allen said. "That time is how long it takes the whole train to pass by, not just the front of the train."

Allen said he is pleased with the delivery times and doesn't expect any major changes to the system. He said the university is always looking to make tweaks. However, the administration won't change its methods in light of the murder-suicide that happened at Virginia Tech last month.

UF has sent 17 messages in the last two years, all of which have been delivered faster than six minutes. The university last changed the emergency alert system in July when the school added InformaCast software, which allows UF to send a message through several platforms, including email, social media and the school's website, at one time.

Previously, an individual message had to be sent to each platform.

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InformaCast Online Demo