South Australia-headquartered MGM Wireless has helped more than 175 Queensland Government schools contact parents during Cyclone Debbie.
MGM chief executive and co-founder Mark Fortunatow told CRN that its app, School Star, helped inform 32,000 parents in less than a minute on the morning of 30 March.
A category four cyclone has hit several Queensland cities since Tuesday 28 March. The severity of the cyclone forced schools and business to close, while the Queensland government warned citizens to stay home.
Fortunatow said a spike in the use of the system was noticed in the morning of 30 March, when schools were contacting parents to inform of the closure.
The service desk received several calls on the day requesting help getting the messages out.
"Schools were in panic. They called asking for tips on the best way to write and send the message," Fortunatow said.
He explained that the system offers pre-set templates for various situations, including emergency ones.
The system for messaging helps schools save money using a secure messaging system, according to the CEO. If a parent does not have the app on their mobile device the system switches automatically and sends a SMS instead of an app alert.
"I am not aware of any message provider that have that ability," Fortunatow said.
Fortunatow said the widely available messaging systems, such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, are not suitable for emergency situations as schools would have to know which platform each parent used and be able to reach each one of them.
In November 2016, MGM Wireless was selected by the Queensland Department of Education as a standing offer arrangement supplier to all Queensland State, independent and catholic schools for the provision of MGM's absence management and parent notification solutions.
A government policy required every one of the State's schools to provide parents with same-day notification on any unexplained student absence starting from the day one of the 2017 school year.
MGM along with Queensland-based ID Attend, Victoria-based Compass and Daymap, were the successful tenderers to supply school messaging communication solutions to the State’s 1736 schools.
MGM Wireless provides systems to schools to improve student attendance and general communication, and supports 1400 schools across Australia and New Zealand. The company claims to have invented the first SMS-based automated communication solution for schools back in 2002. MGM listed with the Australian Securities Exchange in July 2001.