Purdue to test the limits of text messaging

September 18, 2007

Purdue University will conduct what is believed to be the first large-scale, real-world test of using text messaging to issue emergency alerts.

The test, which will begin on Monday, Sept. 24, will involve more than 7,200 volunteers who will accept the test messages and respond so that researchers can track the actual time it takes to deliver messages to a mass audience.

Following recent highly publicized events, universities have been challenged to find ways to quickly communicate with students in crisis situations. But the limits of current technology are not well understood, and high-volume testing of technologies like text messaging has not been previously conducted.

Scott Ksander, Purdue’s executive director of information technology networks and security, says there are many variables that can delay the delivery of messages, including cell tower proximity, signal strength and system traffic volume.

"When we need to send an emergency message, time is the most critical factor. We have seen reports of messaging rates as low as 200 to 300 per minute in some environments, while we have some vendors making unbelievable claims of thousands per second,” Ksander says. “We need to measure the environment available at Purdue, do a good engineering analysis on the systems, and understand technical and process changes we need to make to ensure that delivery time are at an acceptable level for mass emergency notification."

Ksander says the results of the study will be shared with other universities and emergency planners after the results are calculated.

If the testing is successful, Purdue may add text messaging capabilities to an existing integrated emergency notification system.

Source: Purdue University

Explore further: Message for women and dogs: keeping ovaries is linked to longevity

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Volumetric 3-D printing builds on need for speed

December 11, 2017

While additive manufacturing (AM), commonly known as 3-D printing, is enabling engineers and scientists to build parts in configurations and designs never before possible, the impact of the technology has been limited by ...

Tech titans ramp up tools to win over children

December 10, 2017

From smartphone messaging tailored for tikes to computers for classrooms, technology titans are weaving their way into childhoods to form lifelong bonds, raising hackles of advocacy groups.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.