Madison software company creates safety technology for school districts

Madison software company creates safety technology for school districts

Singlewire Software in Madison creates technology to keep schools across the country safe.

Singlewire Territory Manager Todd Howard said the platform, Informacast, is an alert system that combines notifications across multiple devices, including phones, computers and public address systems.

“We can tie all that together and make sure those alerts get sent to every one of those devices, so that no matter what people are doing or where they are, they are going to hear, and in many cases see, that alert,” Howard said. “Nobody’s going to get missed with the ability to send these alerts across all of these various devices.”

Howard said many school districts across the country use the technology, as well as local school districts including the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District.

Director of Communications Perry Hibner said the district has had the technology since 2008 and used it most effectively since 2012.

“We recognize that as much as it’s important to educate kids, the No. 1 priority is making sure your students and staff are safe,” Hibner said.

He said through one button on the phone system, officials can lock down a building and do public announcement messages at one school or all 10.

“Rather than having to maybe text or call each of our individual buildings, now we can notify all the buildings at once if something is going on,” Hibner said. “A good example might be yesterday (Thursday), as a matter of fact, there was a bank robbery near Sauk Trail Elementary School. So we could, with one button, lock off that entire building.”

He said the schools all have secured entrances, and certain parts can be locked down inside.

“At a school, you want to make sure that person can’t get into the building, but if they are in the building and something happens, they can’t get anywhere else in the building, as well,” Hibner said.

Howard said the company has seen an increase in interest after the school shooting in Florida on Feb. 14.

“The simple fact is when things like this happen, people start thinking more about ‘What would we do if that happened here?'” Howard said.

He said the company frequently rolls out new features for the technology, depending on what customers want.

“The latest ones enable usage of mobile devices and the GPS signals that are available from mobile devices to track people if something bad were to happen,” Howard said.

He said the software can also be integrated with other systems to enhance safety. For the Middleton-Cross Plains School District, the system is linked with law enforcement agencies in Dane County.