Some 200 classrooms at the University of Louisville are now outfitted with voice-over-internet-protocol – or VoIP – telephones. It’s an effort by the university’s emergency management department to be able to reach more people in the case of an on-campus emergency.
Director Dennis Sullivan says the VoIP phone system is routed through the internet, and is preferable in this situation to traditional phone systems.
“Just like an email or an instant message on a computer, where you can hit hundreds of computers all in a tenth of a second,” says Sullivan. “It’s the same as the voice-over-IP phones, we can send out an emergency messages and within two seconds, over ten-thousand phones have been activated and have the emergency message.”
Sullivan says the phone will have audible and visual signals relaying the message. He adds the phone messages are distributed through the internet, so the system wouldn’t work if the internet is down.
“That’s why we still use text messaging, we still use emails, we have outdoor warning sirens,” says Sullivan. “All of these are part of our system, so if we have a problem with one modality, we make sure we use more of the other multiple modalities that we have available to us.”
He says it’s a needed addition to the already existing email and text messaging systems, because many students have their cell phones off or on silent while they’re in class.
The wiring and installation of the phones cost about 150-thousand dollars.