Unique emergency call solutions can send and receive secure instant messages (sent over HTTPS, rather than SMS) when a student or teacher feels threatened or uncomfortable speaking on the phone. Photo courtesy of Guardly


The campus security department of a Toronto-based university commissioned a study to determine whether unique solutions positively influence decision-making and swiftness of incident response.

The university wanted to make available a mobile solution that enabled students to quickly alert and communicate with security dispatch in any situation, anywhere on campus grounds. Typical mobile phone calls do not allow for dispatchers to track a mobile caller’s location. But, this study showed that some services such as Guardly Safe Campus, a mobile infrastructure for public safety, reduces emergency response times by an average of 44 percent per incident. The approach adds reliable blue light phone functionality to smart phones of students, staff and faculty.

In addition, dispatchers used mobile location data, caller identification, profiles and other phone features in 96 percent of incidents while secure instant messaging and photo sharing were helpful to dispatchers in about one-third of incidents.

Traditionally, emergency dispatch centers have been unable to receive text messages. This is problematic because situations can arise when an emergency caller is either under duress or cannot speak for other reasons, and may lose his or her ability to communicate effectively with campus police. Solutions such as Safe Campus provide the ability to send and receive secure instant messages (sent over HTTPS, rather than SMS), which allows callers the choice of communicating by text when they feel threatened or uncomfortable speaking on the phone. This functionality is useful in cases when a person is hiding for safety or does not want to alert an assailant that they are communicating with security. It is also a useful method to enhance accessibility to campus police for those with hearing impairments.