Successful emergency communications tests held

Miami tested its emergency notification system (ENS) twice this fall. Most aspects of the first test, Sept. 30, were successful, delivering the test message within minutes to the majority of students, staff and faculty. But, only a small percentage of emails from the e2Campus system were delivered, prompting a follow-up with the vendor and a repeat test.

The second test, run Nov. 11, achieved successful delivery via various methods, based on survey responses received following the test.

Representatives of the Institutional Response Team (IRT) sent test messages via the following methods:
* A variety of alerts were triggered using e2Campus including:
* Email and text message alerts
* Informacast, the voice and display-based feature for VoIP telephones and six new blue light phone towers
* The digital signage systems using Arrowcast
* Miami Cable Television System
* Miami University and police services home pages
* An all-Miami email using via Rapid Email

This test used staggered send times: The rapid e-mail alert was sent at 1:05 p.m.; the Informacast telephone and blue light phone tower alerts were sent at 1:16 p.m.; and the e2Campus texts and emails were sent at 1:32 p.m. The tests were triggered from Miami's police services center. About 19 percent of recipients responded to a survey sent to a random list of 10,000 staff, faculty and students, all local campuses.
* About 53 percent of survey responders said they had received the 1:05 p.m. email alert within five minutes.  
* Following the e2Campus alert at 1:32 p.m., 93 percent reported receiving some type of alert within three minutes.  Emails reached 96 percent of 31,110 email addresses, with most of the other 4 percent not having checked junk filters or being away from their computers.
* About 7 percent reported to have received their first alert after 1:42 p.m.  This can be attributed to many factors, including but not limited to: a phone that is not on at the time of the test, poor cell phone reception, not being near a computer or phone during the test.

Text message alerts were sent to 10,162 subscribers. The survey results showed that of those who did not receive the text alert, 91 percent reported that they had either not registered to receive text alerts or were not sure if they were registered.  This had been anticipated, so the survey provided two means to help respondents sign up for an account. 

The test alert was displayed on the Miami University home pages (Oxford and regional campuses) and the MUPD website, but not the myMiami portal. Failed existing web widgets will be removed and a new one will be created.  This will then be tested with help from the myMiami developers within IT services.

Of those who were in a campus building, 50 percent reported to have heard or seen an alert via VoIP on a campus phone.  Nearly 20 percent of people outdoors heard the verbal alerts from the six new blue light telephone towers on the Oxford campus.

Digital signs displayed the test message for 10 minutes and about 4 percent of responders reported to have seen those messages.

The university’s policy is to use the ENS in cases of immediate threat to safety or closure of a campus/cancelling classes.  Staff continually assess the process to try to improve message delivery.

If you are not registered yet to receive text or email messages through the e2Campus system, you can do so starting at If you need assistance with your e2Campus cell phone registration, contact the IT help desk, 513-529-7900 or