Voice System Allows for Group Messages

In response to the recent shooting at Virginia Tech that resulted in the death of 32 people, Group2call yesterday released a new edition of its group voice and message broadcasting Message Center application that includes a new "panic button" feature to allow school staff to instantly broadcast alerts to thousands of people, including staff, parents, and students, in case of an emergency.

The company is currently offering the service with a free setup for schools. Fees are established on a per-message basis.

"We recently implemented the panic button feature because of the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech," says Jill Lougher, Group2call's vice president of product development. "Schools have been using our systems for broadcast messaging, but there lacks a method of instantly initiating a broadcast to a group of a few thousand individuals at the time of need. When time is the essence, you need to get that message out fast. And the quickest way to do this is via our simple process, which now takes less than two steps to initiate the broadcast."

Using Group2call's Panic Button feature, school staff can call or send a text message to a toll-free number and then instantly broadcast an emergency message either by voice, email, or SMS text message to all of the contacts in a pre-established group. Using speech synthesis technology from AT&T Laboratories, the system can convert text messages to voice for delivery to a phone. Available voices are Crystal, Mike, and Rosa (Spanish accent).

Messages can be sent immediately or scheduled for delivery at a later time. The system also allows companies or organizations to send daily, weekly, or monthly messages, such as status reports, appointment reminders or the like.

With an incorporated voicemail system, contacts can call a number to listen to the message again as well as leave messages that are then stored in a personal voicemail box.

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