New app to keep students safe

Students, staff and visitors to the University of Birmingham can now receive emergency information quickly and accurately with the launch of a new security app.

Callmy is a mass notification app available on all smartphones, which stays dormant once installed but automatically notifies users via a text, voice or picture message in the event of an emergency.

Chris Hoad, the University’s Head of Security and Emergency Planning, said: ‘Callmy will allow us to securely communicate, en masse, with the University community, staff and students. It will only be used to relay important security messages, not general campus information or updates.

‘In the past, during emergency exercises, we’ve encountered the problem of addressing how we get mass messaging out very quickly.

‘In 2012, for example, when we had a campus-wide power outage we used Twitter to good effect, but the problem with social media is that it is not secure and it can also get overlooked because you have to actively check into it. Callmy will automatically send the information to the user.’

The app is completely free to download and users remain anonymous as no personal details are required and no information is stored. In addition, it is suitable for users with visual impairment as it can send voice messages as well as text messages.

Callmy can also use geopositioning to provide a picture of where users of the app are, on or off campus, giving University security staff an idea of people’s locations in an emergency.

Chris added: ‘The University has invested in this for the benefit of our community, and its sole purpose is to enhance the safety and security of everyone on and off campus. We will also continue to use our existing channels to ensure that emergency communications are received by as many people as possible.’

Students can download Callmy from their app store, following the group ‘UBsafe’. More information on the app can be found at https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/Callmy