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Over 1,800 Institutions Move to Advanced Blackboard Connect 5 Mass Notification Platform

New Features Also Added to Latest Release, Now Used by Nearly One-Third of Blackboard's Notification Clients

Sep 5, 2012

WASHINGTON, Sept. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- One year after its release, more than 1,800 education, government and business organizations – almost one-third of Blackboard Inc.'s mass notification clients – have upgraded to the advanced Blackboard Connect 5 platform, the company announced today. Together, Blackboard Connect clients engage more than 28 million people around the world, with the Connect 5 platform reaching nearly 10 million members of that population.

Blackboard also released a number of new product updates and integrations for the platform, further demonstrating the company's commitment to innovations that increase community engagement and safety.  

Blackboard Connect is a multi-modal notification system that officials use to quickly send important messages to an entire population or targeted groups of people through voice, email and text (SMS) messages, as well as posts to Facebook and Twitter. The new product updates announced today include:

  • Enhanced geo-targeting capabilities and weather templates for automated weather alerts recorded in a human voice to keep communities aware of the most up to date, relevant conditions.
  • Streamlined, single sign-on access for all Blackboard Connect and Blackboard Engage (formerly Edline) users that allow for faster message distribution and automated contact database integration between the two platforms.
  • Single sign-on for enterprise authentication in the Blackboard Connect user environment using Security Assessment Markup Language (SAML), as well as recipient authentication for the Connect Access Portal, for increased security.
  • New data integration tools that save time and resources, including a client-side data uploader program that streamlines data integration and puts more control in the hands of users, and SFTP support for automated, routine notifications like attendance messages.
  • Direct message delivery to Internet Protocol (IP) endpoints, including VoIP phones, desktop alert software and digital signage, to quickly reach communities when it matters most. The first in a series of modalities is voice and text alerts to Cisco IP phone installations for institutions that use Singlewire as a system integrator.

"The rapid adoption of Blackboard Connect 5 speaks to the platform's innovative, reliable and easy-to-use technology for effective emergency notification and community outreach," said Ed Miller, president of Blackboard Connect. "We've streamlined the data integration, message creation and delivery process so that communities receive more relevant, targeted information faster than ever before. The result is communities that are more informed, engaged and secure at all times."

Additional Blackboard Connect enhancements include new reports, a dedicated shortcode for non-emergency text messages and new internationalization enhancements, including dedicated shortcodes for Canada and Mexico, as well as interface support for right-to-left alphabets like Arabic and Hebrew.

Blackboard Connect delivered more than one billion messages in 2011, and has achieved significant levels of reliability over the past three years, with 99.99 percent uptime. The company also scores high with client service, with 95 percent customer satisfaction or higher in third party surveys over the same period.

For more information about the Blackboard Connect platform, visit http://www.blackboard.com/connect5.

About Blackboard Inc.
Blackboard Inc. is a global leader in enterprise technology and innovative solutions that improve the experience of millions of students and learners around the world every day. Blackboard's solutions allow thousands of higher education, K-12, professional, corporate, and government organizations to extend teaching and learning online, facilitate campus commerce and security, and communicate more effectively with their communities. Founded in 1997, Blackboard is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects for Blackboard represent the Company's views as of the date of this press release. Actual results may differ materially as a result of various important factors. The Company anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause the Company's views to change. However, while the Company may elect to update these statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so.

SOURCE Blackboard Inc.