MU fixed emergency alert system problem after test

Monday, July 29, 2013 | 3:46 p.m. CDT; updated 4:30 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 29, 2013

COLUMBIA — Last week's test of MU's emergency alert text messaging system identified thousands of people from University Hospital, MU Extension and the University of Missouri System who did not receive the messages.

The test Thursday morning showed that 2,873 people who aren't directly a part of MU were not sent the messages, said Terry Robb, a spokesman for the MU Division of Information Technology.

The problem was that the administrator who sent the text did not have the necessary "top sender" status, Robb said. 

He said he has since given the higher status to all administrators who have the authority to send emergency alerts. Right now, 14,741 people are signed up to receive them.

The test last week showed that the new program, which is run through Blackboard Connect, had a 99 percent success rate with all the messages sent.

Last week, Robb said there still is no way to guarantee all of the messages are being delivered; system operators can only guarantee that messages are being sent out. Phone companies control delivery of the messages, he said, and sometimes they treat them as spam and do not deliver messages until hours later or sometimes not at all.

Anecdotal results showed people signed up to receive text alerts were receiving them within a few minutes after they were sent.

MU got the new system because the contract with the old vendor, Cooper Notification, had expired.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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