University of South Australia Finds Value in Tech to Safeguard Students

CriticalArc today reports that the University of South Australia (UniSA) has improved on-campus safety and security for 34,000 students and staff with the successful implementation of its innovative SafeZone™ distributed command and control solution.

UniSA selected SafeZone to enhance safety while reducing costs across six disparate campuses, from inner-city urban environments to outback locations dispersed across 800kms. By providing unparalleled situational awareness, SafeZone is enabling UniSA to manage everyday security operations and incidents response procedures faster and much more efficiently.

An intuitive SafeZone app enables UniSA students and staff to summon assistance for an emergency, first aid or general help via a simple tap on their phone to raise an alert that automatically pinpoints their exact location. Security staff and coordinators on all campuses carry the SafeZone responders’ app on
an iPhone to ensure a fast, well-coordinated response, most appropriate action and best outcome.

The cloud-based SafeZone system shares situational awareness across the whole security team in the field, giving responders access to live operational intelligence and complete incident visibility as an event unfolds, enabling more agile decision-making.

UniSA chose SafeZone in response to a range of security challenges much like those facing higher education providers worldwide. These included expanding facilities, the rise of flexible 24/7 on-campus learning and to improve round-the clock lone student protection. As on many campuses, there was a concern that incidents might go unreported, particularly among overseas students due to unfamiliar surroundings, cultural reticence and language barriers. UniSA also wanted a better mass notification system plus the ability to monitor performance against KPIs and build a continuous service improvement culture.

Dominic Marafioti, Campus Facilities Manager, UniSA said: “UniSA’s 34,000 students and staff feel reassured by having immediate access to a help point in their pocket and the knowledge that our security team has control room functionality on their belts.”

“Prior to implementation, we conducted an extensive stakeholder consultation with more than 70 staff members and students, where 97% of users said that they found the app easy to use. We were especially impressed with the wide range of features available and how easy SafeZone was to set up. Within six weeks of approval, it was up and running across our six campus communities.”

Superseding slow, unreliable and costly SMS, SafeZone’s mass notification is fast and efficient, allowing UniSA security coordinators to send alerts to all staff and students. Tailored instructions can be sent to response teams or messages targeted to specific groups such as wardens or people at a particular location. Outdated manual check-in processes have been replaced, making it easier to optimise security cover for out-of-hours users and lone workers. It is also enabling more accurate, cost-effective reporting, regulatory compliance and continuous service improvement.

He concluded: “With no need for expensive help points, centralised control room or SMS messaging, we are providing improved 24/7 protection across our campuses while making significant capital cost savings. As part of our commitment to staff and student wellbeing, SafeZone is ensuring that UniSA remains an extremely safe place to work and study.”

Glenn Farrant, CEO, CriticalArc, added, “The adoption of SafeZone at UniSA is a clear demonstration of the university’s commitment to ensuring a safe and secure learning environment for students and staff. Fast and cost effective to implement, SafeZone is ideally suited to campuses and multi-site facilities enabling the fastest possible response to incidents to ensure the best outcomes. Working closely with our customers, we’re helping a range of organisations realise significant efficiencies and cost savings across their security operations, while protecting company reputations by ensuring a preparedness against environmental and physical threats.”

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