BIO-key, identiMetrics and Bright Arrow working on biometric school warnings
24 January 2019 16:38 GMT

BIO-key has partnered with identiMetrics and BrightArrow Technologies to release identiMetrics RallyPoint Control, a communication and messaging software system specifically designed for school emergency evacuations.

RallyPoint is for school administrators who want to greatly enhance parent communication, timely student and staff information for emergency responders, and systematic reunification of students with parents during emergency evacuations. With more than one million students now using finger scanning identification for food service, attendance and library, school administrators and first responders were looking for a biometric solution to improve school safety plans along with parent and first responder communication.

Dr. Jay Fry, President and Chief Executive Officer of identiMetrics said, “I have spent most of my career in education, so I know firsthand the difficulties in managing all of the complex aspects of school emergencies and evacuations – where every second requires expert leadership, direction and control. RallyPoint was designed to improve safety in school districts in three key areas: 1) is notifying and calming anxious parents as early in the process as possible; 2) is providing first responders and school officials with critical information in real-time so they can do their jobs effectively; 3) is providing a safe and orderly way for parents to pick up their children at the reunification point where, as you all know, is often disorderly, chaotic and potentially dangerous.”

During an emergency evacuation, students and staff are directed to go to a safe meeting area which is known as the rally point. In order to quickly and accurately know who is at the rally point, students scan their fingers on ruggedized biometric tablets to identify them. Within seconds, each student’s parents and authorized emergency contacts are alerted with a text, email and/or a phone call indicating their child is safe and includes pickup location information.

The list of students who scan is compared in real-time to the last attendance report uploaded from the school (whether the attendance report was taken with biometrics or the old-fashioned way). A report of all students who are unaccounted for as well as a report of all students who scanned is periodically sent to emergency responders and designated school officials.

In order to ensure a fast, controlled and safe reunification process, when the parent or custodial adult comes to pick up the child, the student scans again and the parent receives an immediate text, email and/or phone call. The message is shown to the school official eliminating any concern that the child is released to the wrong person.

“BIO-key has always championed the benefits of biometric identification and it’s rewarding to be part of this school safety solution,” stated Mike DePasquale, BIO-key Chairman & CEO. “Obviously, it can be extremely distressful when a parent and child are separated during a disaster. The RallyPoint/IdenitiMetrics solution, including BIO-key’s finger matching technology, securely connects loved ones and will thereby have an immediate and positive impact in emergency situations.”

RallyPoint can be installed on special ruggedized tablets which include FirstNet capability. FirstNet is an exclusive cellular emergency network operated by AT&T that allows first responders to communicate during an emergency when regular cellular networks could be compromised. RallyPoint can also be installed on Windows tablets with regular cellular capability and even Windows laptops.”

Dr. Fry added, “RallyPoint was specifically designed to use finger scan biometrics since students will always have their fingers with them. In emergency situations where seconds count, people don’t necessarily act rationally. They’re nervous, they may be shaking. They may not have their smart phones with them and certainly the younger ones won’t. Students may not be with their classroom teachers who know their names or even understand their language. Biometrics is the only way to ensure correct identification, so the information sent to parents, first responders and school officials is fast and 100% accurate.”  

Raymond Bily, President & CEO of BrightArrow Technologies said, “We are thrilled with our collaboration with identiMetrics and BIO-key. We all understand the issues and challenges that school districts face every day, especially when it comes to school safety and security. RallyPoint is a critical communication tool for school districts to improve safety, security and communication.”

Mr. Bily continued, “Key elements to school evacuation management include knowing what students are present, who is yet to be accounted for and how to instantly report to their parents’ cell phones. BrightArrow’s Student Information System or SIS integration technology ensures these objectives are accomplished seamlessly, powered by our robust mass notification system. And with RallyPoint in place, it is just a small upgrade cost to the full BrightArrow system that delivers everything other messaging systems have and much more.”

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