The Village of Norridge successfully launched the Blackboard Connect service in October of 2006. The Village uses the notification service to contact residents and businesses about important information in our community, such as a road closures, utility problems, weather and emergency situations. The system has the ability to reach thousands of people in a matter of minutes.
Listed below are some Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the Blackboard Connect service?
The Blackboard Connect service allows authorized official leaders to create and rapidly disseminate time sensitive messages to every telephone number stored in the notification database. With the Blackboard Connect service, authorized users can send thousands of messages in minutes. Only authorized officials are allowed access to the system.
How does the service work?
Authorized officials compose and record a voice and text message. That message is then delivered to individual telephones, cell phones, and text-receiving devices in the notification database.
What types of messages will be sent using the service?
Any message regarding the safety or welfare of our community would be disseminated using the Blackboard Connect service. Examples include severe weather warnings and updates, hazardous traffic or road conditions inside the Village or affecting local routes, and any other situation that could impact the safety, property, or welfare of our citizens.
Does the Blackboard Connect service replace other systems that have been used to provide time sensitive information to residents?
This system is a significant enhancement to existing means of communication and is supplemental to, not a replacement for, the systems we have used in the past. The call in emergency information line (708-583-5775), which is activated during an emergency situation, will still be available. Also, TV, radio, and our village web site will continue to broadcast important announcements.
Is my telephone number included in the notification database?
It is our intention and hope that every residence and commercial facility in our community be included in the notification database. For businesses, we only store one main phone number. For residences, we may have more than one number that belongs to you in the database. You may request to have a secondary number be entered into our database for priority calling.
May I use a cell phone as my notification database listing?
Yes, we can accept cell phone numbers in the database and encourage you to request that your cell phone number be included.
What precautions are being taken to protect personal information?
Blackboard Connect takes security and privacy concerns very seriously and does not sell, trade, lease or loan any data about our clients to any third party. From a technical perspective, we utilize multiple physical and virtual layers of firewalls to maintain data security. Blackboard Connect only utilizes secure transmissions with its customers. No confidential information is ever transmitted between Blackboard Connect and its customers using e-mail or FTP, but rather always utilizes either a VPN tunnel or SSL. Data is hosted in state-of-the-art facilities which require photo identification, thumb-print recognition, keyed access, and are manned 24/7 with full-security personnel. All data is encrypted prior to being placed on tape for offsite storage. Blackboard Connect also retains an external, independent security firm to perform annual security audits.
Will there be a way to positively identify incoming calls that are made by the Village using the system?
The caller ID number for calls generated by the Blackboard Connect service will be 708-453-0800. and will display “Village of Norridge" on the caller ID display. In addition, every message will begin with the same standard announcement: “Hello, this is the Village of Norridge calling .” The message content will follow this standard introduction.
Will the Blackboard Connect service work if I have a call screening system on my phone?
There are several varieties of call screening devices that use differing protocols for screening. In general, the system has been found to work with these devices; but some may require some type of pre-programming to allow the Village’s telephone number to pass through. We may conduct periodic test to assure that messages are being delivered to numbers in the notification database.
If I have provided more than one phone number, when will they be called?
Should an emergency situation arise that requires us to contact you at multiple phone numbers, we can activate the system to place a simultaneous call to all of your numbers. In most cases, we will be sending calls only to one phone number.
My primary phone or my second listing is a cell phone with a non-local area code. Will the Blackboard Connect service call numbers outside the area?
Yes. The area code does not impact whether or not a call is made.
How does the Blackboard Connect system respond to busy signals or no answer situations?
For busy signals, the call will be repeated several times in an attempt to reach you. The same is true for "no answer" and "call-waiting". If a message recorder answers the phone, the message will be left on the answering device. If, after several attempts the call does not successfully go through, the system will stop attempting to call.
I was not able to listen to the entire call. Is there a way to repeat the message?
Yes, at the end of the message playback, simply press the star (*) key on your telephone to have it repeated in its entirety.
I answer the phone but the “Hello” message repeats. It then hangs up,calls back, and the same thing happens again. How can I hear the entire message?
Repeating or looping of messages happens when the system detects excessive noise in the background. Loud radio/television volumes, people talking, or busy traffic noise, can cause this. When you receive the next call, say “hello” once and turn down the volume of your radio/television or press the mute button on your telephone to allow full message delivery.
How does the Village acquire phone numbers?
The Blackboard Connect system provides a comprehensive list of phone numbers collected from over 200 providers. However, if the phone number is unlisted, it will not be included in our system. Therefore, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to contact us with their information. Call 708-583-5783 or click the Blackboard Connect Icon on our home page.
Can I “opt out” from the Blackboard Connect calls?
Call recipients can opt-out; however, we strongly suggest that you do not do so. The Blackboard Connect service is used to send information that is time sensitive and relevant to our residents. Any resident that opts out, will not be able to be contacted by the system.
How can the Blackboard Connect service reach thousands in minutes?
The NTI Group, Inc’s (NTI) mass notification engine supports the Blackboard Connect system. NTI maintains access to tens of thousands of phone lines originating from multiple locations throughout the United States to ensure that its clients' communications are delivered quickly and efficiently. Moreover, NTI employs sophisticated call throttling logic to identify the proper schematics needed to deliver calls based upon whatever congestion the local telecommunications providers are experiencing at the moment calls are being attempted. This is a crucial point of differentiation versus both auto-dialers and other ASP/Software as a Service competitors who lack experience delivering time-based mass notifications.
Please accept the Village’s invitation to participate in the Blackboard Connect service because if your number is unlisted, we will not be able to contact you in an emergency situation. Participation is 100% free and completely voluntary. Rest assured that your personal information will not be shared with anyone. If you would like to register please click here.
If you have any questions, please contact us at 708-453-0800, extension 5751.