UW-W police services release emergency notification app

Brad Allen, Biz & Tech Editor

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UW-Whitewater Police Services recently launched a new emergency announcement broadcasting platform through InformaCast’s mobile app, with the intent to release information as quick as possible in the event of emergencies on campus.
“Our mass emails and speaker systems still work phenomenally, but this is another way to announce emergencies,” Police Chief Matthew Kiederlen said. “We want to have as many annunciation capabilities available as possible.”
To download the app, go to http://informacast.uww.edu and log in with your Net ID and password to register. An email will then be sent to your UW-W email address with download instructions.
“It’s very simplistic,” Kiederlen said. “You just download the app and sign in with your student ID and password, and you’re in.”
The app is available for Apple and Android devices, but not for Blackberry devices.
“The app gets messages out a little faster than the speaker system on campus,” Kiederlen said. “It doesn’t rely on text messaging systems of private companies, so it’s less likely to cause issues when getting a message out to massive amounts of people.”
Kiederlen said the app became available to UW-W students one week before Chancellor Beverly Kopper’s State of the University address.
“If there’s an emergency situation on campus, this app will send you a notification as well as any critical information that you may need to know about what is going on and how to be safe,” Kopper said at the Aug. 29 address.
“I think it’s a pretty good idea,” freshman Clara Burtard said. “The updates will come in faster through the app than through emails.”
But some have expressed concern about how effective the app will be if few students choose to download it.
“It could be a good thing, but it just has to be accepted by the student populace,’ senior Katie Bergmann said. “If everyone downloads it, then it will be useful. But if no one downloads it, then the app won’t work.”
Keiderlen encourages students and faculty to be patient with any technical issues that might arise.
“We know we’re going to have issues intermittently,” Kiederlen said.  “If anyone has questions, feel free to call us, and we’ll work them through it, we’ll do what we can. ICIT and the Help Desk are also available to help.”