TROY sends SOS

Posted: Wednesday, 26 September 2007

TROY – It’s not a ship’s distress signal, but Troy University’s newest emergency alert and notification system – SOS – is up and running.

The system enables the school to send urgent news to a cell phone via text messages. Powered by TROY’s E2Campus, school officials can also send emergency information to email accounts, sent RSS, wireless PDA and to users’ “My Yahoo,” “My AOL,” or personalized iGoogle home page.

On Wednesday, the system was tested during an emergency response drill on the Troy Campus. Each of the four Alabama campuses are conducting emergency drills to test University response plans. The alert and notification system has already been successfully used during severe weather outbreaks this month.

“Once students sign up, the alerts go right to their cell phones the minute the news happens,” said Dean of Students Herbert Reeves. “It’s a real convenient system for everyone because it reaches people whether they are on or off campus. We know how students love their cell phones, so now we can reach them with important information that may up saving lives.”

The computer server, originally built in 2004 for the University’s information technology department as a computer-system monitoring server, was utilized to host TROY’s New Orleans’ campus website and that of four other colleges in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

“Today, the server operates as an event notification system,” said Greg Price, Chief Technology Officer. “The status of large, University-wide servers are detailed, along with weather reports and important announcements. SOS serves as the registration portal for the E2Campus emergency notification systems as well.”

Redundancy is built into the system, hosted on more than one system and multiple locations, because it’s a major part of disaster response and recovery plans.

“Notices will be posted to website, as well as up-to-date instructions and contact information,” Price said.

The service is available to all TROY students, faculty and staff at no charge, although Reeves said that some cell plan providers may charge a text message fee to the user.