Campus Security Concerns Addressed by Revolutionary New Emergency Notification System

Campus Security Concerns Addressed by Revolutionary New Emergency Notification System

APRIL 14, 2009

Developed in Cooperation with Carnegie Mellon University, Metis Secure Overcomes Critical Shortfalls Found in other ENS

PITTSBURGH (April 14, 2009)–Metis Secure Solutions today launched a ground-breaking location-based emergency notification system (ENS) for college and university campuses.

Developed in cooperation with the Environmental Health and Safety officials, students and faculty at Carnegie Mellon University, Metis Secure addresses critical shortcomings found in other ENS systems.

“Student safety is the number one priority for all universities,” says Madelyn Miller, CMU’s Director of Environmental Health and Safety and current president of the Campus Safety Health Environment Management Association (CSHEMA).

“Until now, there have been gaps in what existing systems can accomplish.” Miller explains. “At CMU, we knew there had to be a better way. We were excited at the opportunity to work with Metis Secure to create a faster, more reliable ENS alternative that specifically addressed our needs.”

After 2 years of research and testing, Miller is pleased with the results. “We are installing Metis Secure’s system this summer in the Mellon Institute – our most challenging environment, and hope to extend it campus wide.”
Critical Shortfalls in Existing ENS Approaches

College and university campus security officials face complex communications challenges when it comes to notifying the campus population of emergencies.

“Communications networks such as cell phone, Ethernet and WiFi are often compromised in times of crisis. Unfortunately, slowdowns and failures of these systems affect existing emergency notification platforms when they are needed most. Metis Secure has focused on addressing the vulnerabilities of existing emergency notification systems,” says Mark Kurtzrock, President and CEO of Metis Secure Solutions.
Metis Secure’s Unmatched Advantages

Metis Secure has a proprietary integrated hardware/software platform that applies leading edge technology to solve practical real-world problems in emergency notification. It is not only an alerting system, but a unique two-way “call for help” communications network. A simple button press notifies campus security that help is needed at that location.

The actual wall-mounted units placed at strategic locations within buildings across campus receive and relay information. The entire network is managed by a central system supervisor. Because it incorporates a self-healing, wireless mesh network, Metis Secure remains operational in any environment. Metis Secure offers a combination of speed, information management and location targeting unmatched by other systems.

“Metis Secure provides rapid, reliable communications between students, faculty, college administrators and others,” Kurtzrock explains. “It is the first system on the market that can reliably deliver the right message to the right place in less than 10 seconds.”

In scenarios ranging from a campus-wide emergency to a chemical spill or a prowler in a dormitory, Metis Secure provides improved security capabilities on several levels.

Reliable Communications Channels—Proprietary use of two independent wireless data paths (a mesh network and a FM digital sub-carrier) allows Metis Secure’s notification network to operate under conditions that can cripple other ENS—from power and cell phone network failure to communication “dead zones” within buildings.

High-Impact Public Interface—Students, faculty and others receive warnings and detailed voice and text instructions. They can also send information via wall-mounted units that facilitate rapid information flow, including a two-way “call for help”. Full use of text, lights and sirens and voice provide an information-rich redundancy and reach that ensure maximum protection.

The “call for help” is also delivered as a text message to selected personnel via their cell phones or PDA. This allows security personnel on patrol to see that a specific room has requested help and the nearest officer can respond.

Superior Information Management—An easy-to-use graphical interface allows a central supervisor to manage warnings, information and messages quickly and effectively whether communicating to one or multiple locations. The system can be operated by a dispatcher in the security office and accessed by authorized users remotely, as needed.
Product Test at Carnegie Mellon University Leads to First Installation

The Metis Secure emergency notification platform is the result of a 2-year testing and research collaboration with the Environmental Health and Safety Department, students and faculty at Carnegie Mellon University. Two research studies identified gaps in existing systems. Based on this input, Metis engineers focused on the technological challenges of location targeting, lightening fast message speed, and “call for help” communications.

Testing took place at CMU’s Mellon Institute, which features hundreds of research labs in the kind of old-world construction that creates extensive cell phone dead zones. Successful testing and a live drill in January 2009 convinced CMU officials to become Metis Secure’s first customer. The system will be installed throughout Mellon Institute in summer 2009.

“After 6 months of testing, we have confidence in Metis Secure, even in our most extreme environment,” says CMU’s Miller. “No other ENS on the market can match it.”
Initial Product Launch of Metis Secure Solutions

Metis Secure Solutions is a new Pittsburgh-based company formed to harness frontline expertise in communications technology and data management to develop products providing a superior emergency notification platform.

While the company’s initial focus has been on ENS for colleges and universities, the Metis Secure platform also can serve the needs of businesses, chemical plants, malls, senior care assisted living, public buildings and more.

Metis Secure Solutions was launched in 2008 as a spin out company of Sima Products Corporation with investment from Innovation Works, a catalyst for advancing knowledge-based companies by providing business assistance and is the largest seed-stage investor in southwestern Pennsylvania. This followed an initial investment for research and prototyping in 2007 from the Technology Collaborative, a technology-based economic development organization focused on starting, attracting and growing technology companies.

Press Release (PDF)

See Desktop Alert’s Metis Secure emergency notification system in action