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Blackboard Announces Next-Generation Mass Notification Service

New Features Help Users Send Urgent Alerts and Outreach Messages Faster and Easier

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --

Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) today announced Blackboard Connect(TM) 5, the newest release of its industry-leading mass notification system. Built on Blackboard's proven messaging infrastructure, Blackboard Connect 5 is a set of multi-modal notification services featuring several innovations that allow community leaders to reach their audiences more quickly and effectively, helping to keep them safer and better informed.

"In our increasingly fragmented and mobile information environment, trusted communications are critical to keeping communities safe and aware," said Ed Miller, President of Blackboard Connect. "Blackboard Connect 5 helps leaders communicate what their recipients need to know by making it easier to send messages in the preferred modes and languages of their audiences. Today's schools, campuses and communities depend on voice calls, text messages, social networks and other media for sharing critical information, and this release makes that easier than ever before."

The new release offers additional services that help users create and send messages faster, and send notifications that are more targeted and relevant to their audience, including:

  • An enhanced Web interface with a streamlined, one-page message workflow that helps users create complex, multimodal messages in a minimal amount of clicks. Scenario templates, automated language preference recognition, and real-time delivery reports all serve to put more power in the hands of users.
  • A smartphone application, which allows clients to create, schedule and send messages from an iPhone®, iPad® or iPod touch® when they're away from their desktop computer.
  • The Connect Access Portal, which gives notification recipients the power to customize their messaging experience, access previously received messages, and subscribe to content feeds. Along with the release's enhanced geo-mapping tools, the portal makes it easier than ever for leaders to send targeted and more relevant messages to their communities.
  • The Blackboard Connect platform APIs, which offer a mechanism for clients and third parties to integrate with the Blackboard Connect service. The APIs provide access to the core messaging and contact management functions through industry-standard Web services that make writing applications and extensions for the Blackboard Connect system easy and scalable.

Prince William County Public Schools, the second-largest K-12 district in Virginia with more than 80,000 students, recently chose to make the switch to the Blackboard Connect service.

"We evaluated a number of systems, and Blackboard Connect consistently came out on top," said Ken Blackstone, Director of Communications Services at Prince William County Public Schools. "We are impressed with the new interface, and we are especially enthusiastic about the power of the community portal to communicate more effectively with parents and the community at large. We're excited to get this new version up and running in time for the coming school year."

Blackboard has helped thousands of schools, universities and local governments send billions of critical messages. The new release shares the same proven infrastructure that clients have always relied upon, including:

  • Experience - more than 2 billion messages sent to date; averaging 41 million messages delivered per month
  • Capacity - ability to send more than 6.8 million messages per hour
  • Satisfaction - 96 percent of clients are satisfied overall with our mass notification system

Pricing & Availability: Blackboard Connect 5, the Access Portal and APIs will be available this summer for both new and existing clients. Pricing remains unchanged from prior versions. The Blackboard Connect for iPhone application is available immediately for download at the iTunes® App Store at no charge.

For more information about Blackboard mass notification solutions, visit blackboard.com/connect.

About Blackboard Inc.

Blackboard Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBB) 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 and other statements containing the words "believes," "anticipates," "plans," "expects," "will," and similar expressions, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including the factors discussed in the "Risk Factors" section of our Form 10-K filed on February 18, 2011 and Form 10-Q filed on May 9, 2011 with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of July 11, 2011. 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 forward-looking statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the Company's views as of any date subsequent to July 11, 2011.

SOURCE Blackboard Inc.