Mobile phones have become as ubiquitous as sand is in beaches. A recent report by Reuters cites that there are almost as many cellphones as there are people on this earth. That basically means every single person on the planet owns a mobile phone.
Due to the widespread use of mobile phones, it is now easy to reach anyone anytime, anywhere. In educational institutions such as high schools, colleges and universities, SMS is being tapped to communicate with academic and non-academic personnel, students, and even parents. SMS alerts have proven to be an effective means of communicating essential and time-sensitive information such as weather alerts, terrorism alerts, fire drills, and downtime of IT systems, among others.
Apart from the obvious reason that almost everyone owns a mobile phone now, there are other reasons why SMS alerts are suited for use in academic institutions:
1. Speed of message delivery.
SMS alerts can be transmitted electronically within seconds. Not only is a SMS alert sent within seconds, it is also likely to be read within minutes after the message has reached the inbox of the intended recipient. These inherent traits of SMS message alerts make it a more suitable option for communicating in schools, where students are too busy to take a phone call and where teaching personnel don’t have the time to check their email inboxes.
2. More people prefer receiving SMS than phone calls.
In the United States, more people appreciate receiving messages through text than phone calls. A study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project showed that nearly one-thirds of American adults prefer receiving text messages to phone calls.
Not surprisingly, most of the people who like text messages than phone calls are young. The same study noted that adults between the ages of 18 and 24 years exchange an average of 110 messages in a typical day.
The attitude of young people towards texting all the more make SMS alerts the ideal platform for communicating with them. Students are more likely to receive and read text messages and thus they can be alerted of an upcoming storm or weather disturbance in their areas. They can also be informed of other developments relevant to them such as traffic advisory, Internet downtime, and changes in class schedules, among others.
3. It’s easier to assimilate information from reading.
Another reason why SMS alerts are the preferred communication tool in campuses is that our minds can assimilate information faster and easier from reading than listening. This is particularly true during emergencies, wherein voice messages may be hard to hear in noisy or crowded environments. Moreover, text messages can be read by recipients such as teachers even whey cannot talk on the phone, like while eating or in a meeting with their colleagues.
The fact that text messages are short—less than 160 characters most of the time—further makes it easier to digest for busy recipients.
4. Delivery can be confirmed.
Lastly, SMS alerts confirmation receipts can be received by senders so they’ll know that the recipients were able to read their messages. Some SMS alert software can even re-send messages if these have yet to be read by the recipients. This feature gives users the peace of mind knowing that their messages will be eventually read by their colleagues.
Teachers and students are too busy with their lessons that they don’t have time at all to open emails. Thus the use of SMS alerts is really more suited for them. With a SMS alert system, everyone can be in the loop especially during critical situations.