UCSD Develops High-Tech Campus Security Measures

The shootings at Virginia Tech and more recently at Northern Illinois University have understandably had other college campuses looking at their own security and notification measures.

It is a horrifying scenario for any major university, but how do you alert others on campus to stay out of harm's way?

At the University of California, San Diego, campus officials employ the services of MIR3.

In Sorrento Valley, with a click of a mouse, thousands of students and school officials can be notified via cell phone, text-message, e-mail or fax.

"All of those, with the exception of the fax, give you the ability to respond in real time. So you send out 2000 messages and quickly get back 2000 responses to understand the situation you're in," said Ken Dixon, executive vice president of MIR3.

Though UCSD has done a number of drills, the system was put to an actual test during the October wildfires.

UCSD isn't relying on just one system, though.

A campus-wide signage system is being developed that could be custom-tailored by police.

"They can see the campus, an aerial display of the campus, circle the building and issue a specific message for that building," said UCSD researcher Douglas Palmer, Ph.D.

Additionally, there is Gizmo, a device that could transmit real-time video and audio into a closed network.

Gizmo and the message boards are part of a broader plan to deal with any campus emergency.

"Reverse 911-type systems, towers that have speakers in them and cameras, as well as some of the things that are being developed by Calit here at UCSD to help us," said Phillip Van Saun of UCSD Emergency Services.

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