Safe Campus Program Deployed with “Piper”

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Written by Armando Fernandez


Thursday, March 2, Columbus State University announced the launch of its Safe Campus program. This pilot program, operated by Piper Networks, consists of a series of over 100 wireless Bluetooth beacons scattered throughout the university’s two campuses.

“CSU Safe Campus is an initiative by Columbus State University to help make trails and high traffic areas around campus both more engaging and safer,” said Lieutenant Brett Stanelle of University Police. “Let’s say a student is walking from a building back to the parking garage late at night. They notice that a street light is out and want to make sure that the proper people know about it so that they can have it fixed. Piper is a great app for that.”

“This technology is another layer that we can add onto the many things we undertake on a daily basis to help our students and employees feel safe [and] provide an easy way for officials to accurately and quickly dispatch assistance,” said Mark Lott, Interim Chief of University Police in a CSU press release.

While the app uses proximity technology to pinpoint the location where assistance is needed, according to Stanelle, users should take note that Piper is “primarily for non-emergency circumstances.”

The safety program is directed by CSU, but Piper Networks assists the initiative as a technology partner with its free app, and by providing the University with Bluetooth proximity beacons free of charge.

“CSU uses our very secure platform technology as part of their CSU Safe Campus initiative, which provides an option to connect students with CSU campus police,” said Wesley Ker-Fox, vice president of partnerships at Piper Networks. “Piper simply provides a location identifier to assist authorities. Piper does not guarantee any safety, we are simply a technology partner.”



According to John Lester, associate vice-president for university and government relations & special assistant to the president, the partnership is also a great financial opportunity. “One reason this is such a great arrangement for CSU: there is no cost to us,” said Lester. “They [Piper] are using us as sort of a testing ground for this technology.”

“The city of Columbus, GA and CSU campuses have so much to offer students, visitors and citizens,” said Piper CEO Robert Hanczor, in a press release. “Piper allows them to not only have a safer and more enhanced experience in real-time throughout the city, but the ‘History’ feature of the app means they can relive their experience at the end of the day by seeing what all they came into contact with and what they didn’t realize they missed.”

Through the Safe Campus initiative, CSU joins  Columbus’ Safe City program, which uses a similar Piper Networks public safety solution, marking Columbus as “the world’s most fully-deployed iBeacon city with over 1,250 beacons and 85+ businesses and organizations using the Piper app to share messages that include simple text notifications, Piper-only specials, photos, videos, links to websites or social media, and even Apple Passes.”