Ask the Expert: Crisis Communications

What is RTLS technology?

Your mobile phone, which is usually near you, is becoming a critical tool for today’s campuses in keeping students safe. Technology now exists that can send alerts in the event of an incident directly to your phone that’s connected to the WiFi, which means students and teachers can stay connected to what’s going on in the event of an emergency.

Mobile devices that are connected on a school’s WiFi are using real-time location system (RTLS) technology, like when you “check-in” somewhere on Facebook. RTLS can track the movement of these devices (and therefore the person in possession of a device) within a facility. When an emergency occurs, this technology can act as a two-way communication tool; first, by letting a mobile user know there’s an incident in progress and giving directions, such as “stay where you are,” and second, by allowing the mobile user to let the school know they’re safe and accounted for during the same incident.

We’re seeing that schools today — whether higher education or K–12 — require a robust security posture for students, faculty, staff and visitors. Parents and law enforcement are demanding an advanced level of protection in the event of a threat. Installing this kind of technology is cost-effective since it doesn’t require anything more than a WiFi signal to operate. The software can be uploaded to a security official’s or administrator’s computer or mobile device to allow operability and active monitoring, and a school can provide standard operating procedures for instructors directly on a device to help streamline the process during an emergency. The platform can also be used as a communication tool for routine messages within a facility, such as a closure or delay due to weather, helping operations run more smoothly.

This article originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of College Planning & Management.

About the Author

Jana Rankin is the co-founder and CEO of VuTeur, the market's first emergency management and asset protection solution built on real-time location system (RTLS) technology. She can be reached at jrankin@vuteur.com.

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