In emergency, university students can send video to dispatchers

Campus safety got a boost this week at the University of Maryland with the introduction of a new smart-phone app that allows instantaneous communication with campus police, Government Technology reports.

In a move that the university is touting as the first of its kind in the world, the M-Urgency app for Android smart phones allows students, faculty and staff members on the school's College Park campus to send emergency dispatchers real-time audio and video. The app, which operates on the school's wireless network, will also make use of the Android's built-in Global Positioning System to pinpoint the user's location.

As GCN reported in February, the app will also allow dispatchers to view first responders' locations and capabilities and assign them to incidents accordingly.

Maryland computer science Professor Ashok Agrawala, whose team developed the app along with the university's Department of Public Safety, said the app would work elsewhere, too.

"The technology, the way it is developed, can be deployed by anybody anywhere," Agrawala said in a release from the university.

Students were able to begin downloading the app Sept. 13. Although limited to Android phones for now, M-Urgency will later be expanded to iPhones and BlackBerrys.

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