How many calls have been sent through the Connect-ED® service?
NTI is currently sending 20 to 25 million time-sensitive calls per month solely on behalf of government entities and schools via its Connect family of services, which include:
- Connect-ED® for Higher Education
- Connect-ED® for K-12 schools and school districts
- Connect-CTY® for municipalities
- Connect-GOV® for state and federal agencies
What is NTI?
The NTI Group Inc. (NTI) is a privately held company located in Sherman Oaks, Calif., that provides comprehensive communication services designed specifically for local, regional, state, and federal government entities that enable rapid dissemination of critical information via voice and text devices. NTI owns and distributes the Connect-ED®, Connect-CTY®, Connect-GOV®, and Connect-MIL® family of notification services for use by colleges, schools, municipalities, government agencies, and military institutions.
How many campuses are using the service?
More than 150 campuses are using Connect-ED to send messages to one million students, faculty and staff. Calvin College and Albion College are in the process of implementing Connect-ED. Other campuses currently using the Connect-ED for Higher Education service include Georgia Tech, Princeton, Tulane, University of Notre Dame, Caltech, Williams College, University of Iowa, University of Hawaii, University of Oklahoma, Baylor University, and Wesleyan.
What is multi-modal communication? Are text messages alone sufficient?
With Connect-ED, campus officials can reach their community members in their own voice simultaneously on landlines, cell phones and via e-mail and via text messages at cell phones, PDAs/other text-receiving devices, e-mail accounts, and TTY/TDD receiving devices for the hearing impaired.
For each participant, the Connect-ED service allows storing of up to six phone numbers, two email addresses and mobile number representing your text messaging service. The more contact information provided, the better the chance participants will receive emergency messages regardless of where they are at the time.
How has the Connect-ED system been used?
The Connect-ED system has been used to communicate vital information when a critical situation has taken place. Some campuses use the service for more routine communication, including communicating during the admissions process and to alert students to important financial aid and/or payment deadlines. At Alma College, our current plan is to use Connect-ED solely for emergency notification in the event of a critical situation.
What if an emergency occurs and the College can’t access the Internet to send a message?
In case of an evacuation or power loss, College administrators have the capability to send a time-sensitive notification to all their contacts or to a pre-determined emergency response team using just a telephone. NTI maintains client care representatives to assist users 24/7/365 should alternative means be necessary such as encountered throughout Hurricane Katrina.
Does the Connect-ED service require any additional equipment?
No. The only thing needed is an Internet connection, a browser that meets or exceeds Internet Explorer 5.5 or Netscape 7.0, and a telephone. Colleges don’t have to buy or maintain any special equipment, have special phone lines installed, or install any software applications or plug-ins. NTI provides training to the College staff members who are administering the system, which typically takes less than 30 minutes, a detailed step-by-step user guide for reference, and uses industry-standard file types to interface with school data systems so they will be able to get up-and-running immediately.
How does the Connect-ED system get access to student, faculty and staff contact information?
NTI provides an encrypted, online process to securely import a college’s existing data into that college’s account in a secure and reliable manner. The college maintains all data and has full ownership over that data. NTI also provides a system that allows colleges to schedule automatic updates as frequently as they like, and/or they can add, remove, and delete individual contacts at their convenience.
Additionally, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to ensure that their contact information is up-to-date so that the College can contact them should an issue occur. Our current plan is to update contact information changes to our database with NTI each night.
What if my contact information changes?
Students, faculty and staff may update their contact information at any time. Phone numbers and email address can change, and when they do it is important to update the contact information so that you will be contacted in the event of a campus emergency. You can update your contact information by logging into Inside Alma and clicking on the "Update your emergency contact information" link located at the lower left corner on the main Inside Alma page.
May I opt out of the Connect-ED notification system?
Faculty and staff cannot opt out. All office phones and College email addresses for Alma College faculty and staff will be loaded into the Connect-ED system. Faculty and staff have the option of supplementing those contacts with additional contact information. Students have the option to opt out, but they are discouraged to do so because of the importance of being able to receive emergency notification messages. However, students may opt out by clicking on the appropriate boxes on the Emergency Contact Information Channel, located in the College Portal.
Does NTI share the College’s information with anyone?
No. NTI does not sell, lease, share, or rent personally identifiable information (names, addresses, phone numbers, etc.) to any companies or persons outside of NTI or NTI service providers.
How long has NTI provided this service?
NTI’s first client sent its first Connect-ED for K-12 communication in early 2001. Since then, NTI has delivered hundreds of millions of messages on behalf of schools and public officials.
How can the Connect-ED service reach thousands in minutes?
The NTI Group Inc.’s (NTI) mass notification engine supports the Connect-ED system. NTI maintains access to tens of thousands of phone lines originating from multiple locations throughout the United States to ensure that its clients’ communications are delivered quickly and efficiently. Moreover, NTI employs sophisticated call throttling logic to deliver calls based upon whatever congestion the local telecommunications providers are experiencing at the moment calls are being attempted.