Located in Alberta, Canada, Red Deer College offers more than 75 different programs, including full degrees, certificates, diplomas, and skilled trades programs. It serves 7,500 traditional students, and 13,000 continuing education students are enrolled at the college every year.
As the college grew, administrators were concerned that they didn’t have an effective way to reach students when an emergency mass notification was necessary.
Terry Oakley, Telecommunications Coordinator, and his team used InformaCast to extend the reach and efficacy of their emergency notification process through the Cisco IP phones that the college already owns.
Anticipating The Future
As Terry Oakley, Technology Coordinator at Red Deer College (RDC) in Alberta, Canada, and his team saw the college grow, he identified a potential issue.
“We realized that trying to give an emergency notice to the student body was going to be very difficult,” said Oakley. “We didn’t have all these speakers, we didn’t have an intercom system, so from there, we started to look at devices/systems that would tie into our Cisco [IP phone] investment.”
However, he soon recognized an opportunity the college had to solve this problem, use technology it already owned.
“We found that a majority of the phones we had purchased had speaker phone capability, so we thought if we could take over that speaker phone in an emergency case, broadcast a message through there…[throw] text onto the screen of the phone, [it would be] very beneficial,” said Oakley. “We found that Singlewire’s [InformaCast] had the capability of doing this…we are now a full Singlewire site; both here and in our downtown campus.
A Multi-Functional System
InformaCast provides a wide range of functionality. Not only does it allow RDC to do overhead paging, but it also has powerful emergency notification features like call alerting and recording, automatic weather notifications, integration with existing systems, and more.
This added value was a pleasant surprise for Oakley.
“I didn’t anticipate that we’d use InformaCast for more than just general broadcasting,” he said.
In addition to general broadcasting/paging, RDC is now using InformaCast to isolate each of its five fire zones.
“We can send a message just to the hallway speakers in that area if we want, instead of interrupting classrooms,” said Oakley.
InformaCast also automatically alerts RDC staff when a weather concern threatens their geographic area. This is useful since many students commute to the campus in Alberta, where inclement weather is a common occurrence.
InformaCast’s bell scheduler also helps improve administrative efficiency. Every day, when it is time to announce library closing time, InformaCast automatically sends broadcasts to the library notifying students when it’s 15 minutes and five minutes before closing time. If school closes early that day or the broadcast times need to be changed for another reason, it’s a very simple process to do that.
Ease of Use
InformaCast has a single interface for the management of all of its functions, which makes it very easy to use and helps the staff at RDC communicate efficiently.
“It’s basically a one-button system,” says Oakley. “The personnel have to pick a message and pick a location and send the message. It’s very simplified that way.”
Oakley appreciates the work and thoughtfulness that went into making InformaCast such a straightforward product to use.
“I like using it because it’s a simple product to use. You can see behind it that it is a quality product; professionally-built and well-designed. It’s not just something slapped together, and not something that you just bought off the shelf and hoped it worked.”
Every customer who has InformaCast also automatically has access to the Singlewire support team. The team consists of people with extensive technical backgrounds and knowledge of the product.
“I’ve used Singlewire support a number of times, and the experience has always been very beneficial,” says Oakley.
He appreciates how easy the support team is to work with.
“[They don’t try] to talk in Tech-nese, but instead [talk] in a way that we can understand what we need to do; how we need to proceed.”
Having a well-developed product and the dedication of the Singlewire support team “…helps build your confidence in the product that you bought,” said Oakley.
He is confident about RDC’s future with InformaCast.
“…We wanted to make sure that the product we got was going to be there in the future as much as possible,” he said. “…As we can see, you’re a true partner with Cisco, so that is very beneficial and shows that both sides are going to be around for a while.”
Visit our Colleges & Universities page for more information about how InformaCast can help enhance safety and communication on your campus.