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Midwest College Deploys Low-Cost RTLS for Emergencies

The RF Technologies security system consists of pendants affixed to desks and podiums so that instructors can discreetly send a Wi-Fi-based alert to campus police.
By Claire Swedberg

The CIO says that during this summer's annual instructor briefing, held before the start of classes, the school's leadership described the technology that had been installed during the summer break. He recalls that the instructors burst into applause.

Security or police officers can access an app on either an iOS or Android device, in order to view the location of an alert while traversing the campus. However, the school is not currently using that app.

The HelpAlert software can provide analytic data indicating the kinds of emergency calls that have been made, how long responses take, and where or when calls are most often placed.

RTF has offered the school-based Help Alert Pendant solution since 2011, says Mark Gallant, the company's senior director of marketing and product management. The majority of implementations use a combination of both mobile and fixed pendants, so as to provide the broadest safety coverage possible. "Fixed pendants can be a cost-effective and very easy-to-deploy panic-button solution, as they use existing Wi-Fi and no cabling or wires are needed," he states. "Just place the pendant and set its location on the system map—done."

With the mobile version, pendants are assigned to individuals, who carry them while on campus. The technology identifies a particular pendant's location based on the Wi-Fi node that receives its alert transmission.

"Since launch [of the product in 2011], we continue to expand the solution-set with new features that are requested by schools, as well as hospitals," Gallant says. "Our new location-based video capability, released earlier this year, is one recent example." The video capability is a function within the software that enables security departments using the technology to view footage from the camera nearest to the area where the alert was triggered. The Midwest college is considering using this capability as well, but that would require the installation of additional cameras in the hallways outside of classrooms.

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