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Kent rises to university security challenge with SafeZone
16 May 2016

Innovative tech to boost 24/7 student and staff safety

WEST MALLING, UK, MAY 6 2016 – CriticalArc announces that the University of Kent will be the first higher education institution in the south-east UK to adopt SafeZone™, an innovative emergency response solution and free smartphone app that is transforming student and staff safety in Europe, the Middle East, North America and Australia.

The move reflects Kent’s continued commitment to offer a high-quality student experience – independently ranked by students as among the best in the UK – while supporting its international research and growth strategy as the UK’s European University. With seven European locations, the University is a global gateway to Europe, with a high percentage of European students and staff. The app will be available to all of its 20,155 students and 3,775 staff with a smartphone.

SafeZone will create a force multiplier effect to boost Kent’s capacity to deliver a rapid, robust response to incidents on any scale, from an individual request for first aid to comprehensive emergency management for a major critical event. Phased roll-out of the cloud-based service will extend from its campuses at Canterbury and Medway and centre in Tonbridge in the UK to its European centres in Brussels, Paris, Athens and Rome, as well as specified destinations worldwide.

The SafeZone solution combines distributed mobile command and control with real-time location intelligence, enabling users to summon emergency support, medical assistance and general help via a single tap on their smartphone. This automatically transmits an alert direct to the university’s safety team.

The alert gives all on-duty security personnel unparalleled situational awareness via shared incident maps and a rich range of features, enabling them to coordinate a more efficient response and rapidly deploy the most appropriate resources – including the emergency services and external agencies. With the trend towards 24/7 study and lone working, a check-in function offers users additional monitoring while working in faculty buildings alone or travelling solo late at night.

Geofenced safe zones can be easily set up anywhere worldwide to offer individuals emergency support while on overseas assignments. For large-scale threats or incidents, a mass-notification feature can facilitate instant broadcast alerts, warnings or context-specific updates to keep all relevant users informed as a situation unfolds. Multiply redundant communications via satellite, wi-fi and mobile networks ensure the highest degree of resilience, even in remote areas.

Assistant Director of Estates Management at the University of Kent, Juliet Thomas
, said: “Student safety is core to the student experience and we are proud of our reputation as an extremely safe place to study. In 2015 the University of Kent received the UK’s fifth highest score for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey (NSS) 2015 – recognition we are keen to maintain. 

After monitoring SafeZone’s development for some time, we have been consistently impressed with the benefits it can deliver plus ease of deployment and use. It will give us all the capability we need to optimise incident preparedness – something every university needs in today’s fast-changing higher education environment. It’s exciting to be working with a proven technology leader to further enhance the wellbeing of students and staff on our campuses and beyond.

Darren Chalmers-Stevens, CriticalArc Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA)added: “In a highly competitive, increasingly global higher education sector, universities must be prepared for all eventualities while taking every step to maximise safety and enhance the student experience. SafeZone can transform the management of security resources to optimise outcomes. We are delighted that the University of Kent has chosen SafeZone – and on a personal level for the team at CriticalArc’s European HQ in Kent, pleased to be partnering with our local university.

Ideally suited to university and college campuses, SafeZone eliminates language difficulties and enables the fastest possible response to incidents to ensure the best outcomes and support health and safety (HSE) compliance. The integrity of student’s personal information is protected at all times by SafeZone’s stringent privacy protocols. Driving significant efficiencies and cost savings, SafeZone helps to safeguard university reputations, strengthen competitive advantage and enable preparedness against environmental and physical threats.

For more information: https://www.kent.ac.uk/safezone/

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