Cisco Helps Sheridan Institute Deploy Emergency Notification

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Sheridan Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning has successfully deployed an automated, comprehensive security and safety notification system, including digital screens, that is based on Cisco Unified Communications technology.

The system, called SIREN (Sheridan Incident Response and Emergency Notification) is the first of its kind in North America, and involves Sheridan’s three campuses located in Ontario’s Oakville and Brampton, and serving approximately 15,000 full-time students. SIREN is designed to ensure that, in the event of an emergency or security situation, the college is able to quickly and efficiently assess the situation, speed executive decision-making and notify the Sheridan community.

Such emergency measures are becoming more important, especially following such various incidents as bomb threats and shootings in schools and colleges in North America and Europe in recent years.

The ability to collaborate and share information quickly is key to the success of the newly implemented system. By leveraging Sheridan’s network infrastructure, the Cisco Unified Application Environment and custom applications and integration from UNIS LUMIN, Sheridan is able to effectively and efficiently share information in a number of ways.

In the event of a potential, imminent or actual emergency, the system is activated and students, faculty, staff and visitors in select locations or across all three of Sheridan’s campuses will be alerted immediately via:

– Digital signage: Located across all campuses, emergency teams can broadcast audio or text updates on more than 50 digital signs;
– Cisco Unified IP Phones: Text-to-speech messages can be sent to the phones located in each office, classroom and throughout the campuses (more than 2,500 phones);
– Text messages: Information can be sent to cell phones, PDAs and email accounts;
– Paging systems: Important information and updates can be broadcast throughout all campuses or in select zones;
– Sheridan Web site: messages can be instantly posted to the home page;
– SIREN will also automatically connect members of the Sheridan Executive Team through a conference bridge line.

When not being used for emergencies, the digital signs carry information for students and advertising for Sheridan itself.

“Sheridan is committed to helping protect and ensuring the welfare of our entire community,” says Robert Turner, president, Sheridan Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning. “Sheridan was an early adopter of unified communications technology and was one of Cisco’s first IP telephony customers in Canada. With the implementation of this new system based on innovative technology from Cisco and UNIS LUMIN, we are taking advantage of that investment to ensure we’re readily prepared should the unexpected occur.”

This technology solution positions Sheridan as an innovative leader in the adoption of Cisco Unified Communications and Cisco Unified Application Environment technologies. Cisco UAE is a rich portfolio of ready-to-use packaged applications that allows customers to integrate unified communications into other business applications, as well as build custom applications.

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