R u texting during crises?

Universities, governments, others adopt text messaging software for crisis communication.

Universities, governments, others adopt text messaging software for crisis communication

The University of Illinois’ emergency communication system went live in October 2007. It allows officials at the university to send tens of thousands of text, voice and e-mail messages to students, staff and faculty members instantly.

The U of I purchased its system from the suburban-Chicago-based Mutare Software. The company’s Richard Quattrocchi walked me through the system. What I discovered from his tutorial is corporate communicators can adopt this software for any number of reasons. Alerting employees at one location of an imminent natural disaster—like the California wildfires, for instance—or, worse, notifying workers of a violence incident in the workplace are two uses.

Of course, it needn’t be this severe. If an important article or bit of information was posted to the company intranet, communicators could direct employees there with text messages. And there are always fun uses of this technology—like alerting employees to an impromptu office gathering.

The possibilities are endless and, thankfully, the Mutare software is “so easy even a U.S. senator can use it,” Quattrocchi joked.

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