University of Pittsburgh Turns to Verizon Business for Automated Notification Services

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. - The University of Pittsburgh faced a daunting challenge - being able to quickly and reliably communicate information to tens of thousands of students, faculty, staff and parents.  Verizon Notification Services are now providing the answer to that challenge, enabling the entire university community to stay informed about incidents that potentially threaten campus safety.

Using the advanced services, the university can deliver customized, time-sensitive communications through a variety of means - including wireline and wireless phones, faxes, text messaging and e-mail - to its 31,000 students and 12,000 faculty and staff across five campuses.

"The University of Pittsburgh began exploring options for text-messaging services beginning in October 2006, but the tragic events at Virginia Tech in April 2007 provided the catalyst that really kicked our deployment plans into high gear," said Jinx Walton, director of computing services and systems development, University of Pittsburgh.  "When we assessed our options, it was clear that Verizon Business had a solid track record of success.  When you really look at it, delivering messages is Verizon's core business, and we've made the right decision implementing this platform across the university."

(Note:  An audio podcast discussing the University of Pittsburgh's deployment of Verizon Notification Services is available here.]

Verizon Business and the University of Pittsburgh worked closely to deploy the alert notification platform, including integration with the school's central directory.  The system got a real-world tryout before testing was even completed.  In October 2007, the university received a bomb threat and was able to use the notification platform to successfully send nearly 6,000 voice, e-mail and text messages, reaching 99.8 percent of intended recipients.  The three subsequent uses of the alert notification system delivered similar results.

The school evaluated several other alert-notification services, including a text-only platform, from different providers before selecting Verizon Business' offering.

The fully automated and centralized Verizon Notification Services offer conference bridging, near real-time performance monitoring, priority delivery and message-receipt tracking, as well as built-in redundancy - benefits that traditional, premises-based systems cannot provide. 

Available to large-business and government customers based in the U.S., Verizon Notification Services are capable of sending alerts to users in more than 125 countries in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

"Verizon Notification Services are a powerful tool that institutions of all types can use to keep people connected," said Blair Crump, Verizon Business group president for worldwide sales.  "The University of Pittsburgh's deployment of this platform highlights the flexibility, reliability and ease of use the system offers as part of a comprehensive business continuity and emergency preparedness plan."

Verizon Business offers a comprehensive suite of business continuity solutions.  Professional consulting services, designed to assess and address critical recovery challenges, include business-impact analyses, network assessments, gap analyses and recovery strategy development, as well as plan development and implementation.  The portfolio also includes continuity planning software, virtual file-sharing, storage replication and restoration services, and a full complement of managed networking and information technology services designed to help enhance enterprise resilience.

About University of Pittsburgh
The University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), founded in 1787 as Pittsburgh Academy, is the oldest continuously chartered institution of higher education located west of the Alleghenies. Pitt is a state-related research university, offering a full range of degree programs.  Pitt, with 33,000 students and 15,000 faculty and staff spread across five campuses, is highly ranked in several departments, including Philosophy, Engineering, and Medicine.  The Pitt Jazz Ensemble, founded in 1969, is one of the nation's best collegiate jazz groups.  The Pitt campus has several historic buildings, including the 42 story Cathedral of Learning, the tallest educational building in the Western Hemisphere. In sports, the 'Pitt Panthers' play in the Big East Conference and in NCAA Division I.  For more information, visit www.pitt.edu.

About Verizon Business
Verizon Business, a unit of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), operates the world's most connected public IP network and uses its industry-leading global-network capabilities to offer large-business and government customers an unmatched combination of security, reliability and speed.  The company integrates advanced IP communications and information technology (IT) products and services to deliver leading enterprise solutions including managed services, security, mobility, collaboration and professional services.  These solutions power innovation and enable the company's customers to do business better. For more information, visit www.verizonbusiness.com.