According to our sister publication Campus Safety magazine’s latest survey, emergency notification and alert systems continue to be a popular technology purchase for schools, universities and hospitals. That said, this year’s results indicate some potential shifts in the nature of the upgrades, who has the authority to issue alerts, community outreach programs and more.
In the survey, more than 1,000 protection professionals from healthcare and education provided their input on every- thing from planned purchases, policies, technology challenges, funding and other topics.
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Respondents are Interested in New Emergency Notification Systems
Just over half (51 percent) of all of this year’s respondents plan on purchasing or are considering the purchase of emergency notification solutions in the next year.
When broken down by sector, however, there are some differences. K-12 schools and districts appear to have the greatest interest, with 58 percent saying they plan on or are considering purchases. That’s an eight percent increase compared to 2014. Higher ed buying interest is about the same, while hospitals have experienced a nine percent drop, from 58 percent in 2014 to 49 percent today.
Overall, the most popular emergency notification methods currently deployed on educational and healthcare campuses are emails, text alerts, intercoms and web- site announcements.
Additionally, text alert systems and mobile apps are now the most popular purchases. The use of mobile apps has more than doubled in K-12 schools and districts (from 11 percent in 2014 to 30 per- cent now), while it’s jumped in higher ed by 14 points and hospitals by 11 points.
Text alert usage has increased by 12 percent in schools and seven percent in colleges and universities. Hospitals have increased their use of call boxes by eight percent.
Results Point to Incremental Emergency Alert Upgrades
It should be noted that every single category covered in this year’s survey experienced a decrease in buying interest.
What this means is difficult to determine, especially because some of the decreases were quite small. It might be an indication that hospitals, schools and universities are more satisfied with the emergency notification systems they currently have in place and might be making more incremental upgrades than before.
The most significant decreases in purchasing interest for the K-12 sector included bull horns (an eight percent drop compared to 2014); CMAS, call boxes and emails (all three experienced a nine percent drop); and phone trees and website announcements (a six percent drop for each).
Five percent fewer hospitals are using digital signage compared to three years ago, while 10 percent fewer are using emails. Six percent fewer institutions of higher learning are using phone trees/telephony.
There has been mixed progress when it comes to integration. Slightly more respondents now say their emergency notification systems are integrated than three years ago, with hospitals and colleges having the most significant jump (six percent and five percent respectively).
Unfortunately, K-12 schools have gone backwards somewhat with six percent fewer saying they are work- ing on integration and three percent more saying their systems are not integrated.