author Alan King, Wednesday September 16, 2020

Hello AppArmor Network!

With the return to school now in full swing for many, we here at AppArmor thought it would be best to highlight some of the powerful uses of our platform. Whether you’re a company with staff heading back into the office, a higher education institution with only remote students, or a K12 school opening up for the new term, AppArmor can provide a number of benefits for your end users. The fact of the matter is, whether or not people are on premises, our software can help those same people into the new normal.

There’s no doubt that this new normal is a bit scary. Like anything new, it’s natural to be concerned; so much has changed so fast. It’s almost certain that anyone reading this has had their life altered by COVID-19. But that doesn’t mean that this change is a bad thing; on the contrary, the pandemic has brought into to focus some of the amazing and important work that you, our customers, do every day. 

So how can AppArmor help? There are three main ways:

  1. Unlimited and Detailed Mass Notifications
  2. COVID-19 Specific Features and Resources
  3. Personal Safety Tools that work globally

Let’s start with the notifications. As we mentioned in our case study published in April (and updated in June), we reached over 5 million endpoints via emergency alerts during the peak of the crisis. That is, through your use of our software, you reached your people quickly and effectively when they needed you most. What’s more, you provided people with very specific information – in some cases even specifying what particular buildings were open/closed, and other minute details – to thousands of people in an instant. Those people became informed and re-assured that their safety teams and organizational groups were taking decisive action.

Push Notifications at the start of the COVID-19 Crisis

But these notifications haven’t stopped there. Numerous organizations on our platform have been providing ongoing updates to their groups of end users. Whether that’s via an AppArmor Safety push notification, or one of the many alerting options on AppArmor Alert, organizational safety teams have been in constant communication with their stakeholders. Sometimes these messages aren’t even focused on COVID-19; for example, the folks at Florida State University have sent notifications regarding Hurricane Sally, and the team at University of California San Francisco is sending notifications regarding air quality in the Bay Area.

Recent Mass Notifications on iOS and Android relating to other important emergencies

Your people will continue to want information they can trust. Particularly in this age of misinformation and fake news, having a trusted means with which to communicate with your end users is extraordinarily valuable.

Over the summer months our development team scrambled to develop industry leading COVID-19 functionality. The crown jewel of these features is certainly our AppArmor COVID-19 Self Assessment tool. This functionality is in heavy use; at its daily peak, we’re seeing 3 self-assessments completed per second, and over 50,000 per day. The crazy part – most organizations aren’t even at full capacity yet. We expect these numbers to greatly increase over the coming months.

Self Assessments Across the Platform on September 15th 2020

The Self-Assessment Tool combines the AppArmor Content Management System, the Designer, with an intuitive COVID-19 questionnaire with all the most common questions from government authorities (e.g. your state / provincial government and the CDC or WHO). Our organizations are able to add their own questions and collect whatever data was needed to ensure their stakeholders would have a tool to declare their health status. The “Badge” bar code provided at the end of the process, makes it exceptionally easy for administrators at our partner organizations to ensure that those with symptoms were not granted access to the premises. 

Self Assessment Tool in action at CDW

It’s not just about the Self-Assessment Tool though. Institutions have also included links via their AppArmor Safety apps or via a mass notification. These resources tend to include additional relevant updates regarding COVID-19. The aggregation of other resources has also proven to be a major winning strategy

While some organizations are back to in-person programming, many are still taking small steps on the path to the new normal. Understanding that your app has the capability for COVID-19 Self-Assessment, along with a number of other forms of resource aggregation, is exceptionally important. Regardless of what kind organization you are and if you are planning on having individuals physically return to your premises, you will need these tools to help ensure the safety of your people.

The final piece here is regarding the other functionality of your AppArmor Safety app. With fewer individuals on premises, there is a tendency to believe that the other functions of your safety app are less relevant. For a number of reasons, this simply isn’t true. For one thing, our most popular features work globally; whether it’s Friend Walk, WorkAlone, or others, the user doesn’t necessarily have to be at your locations. For Friend Walk, the “walk” can be shared with anyone – even those without the app – anywhere in the world. WorkAlone can be configured to only require a third-party contact and as such can be made to work just about anywhere.

Friend Walk at Amityville ISD (K12)

On the note of configuration, organizations have been using the high configurability of the AppArmor platform to modify existing features in light of COVID-19. For instance, the folks at the University of Florida modified their “See Something, Say Something” feature to also include an option to “Report COVID Concern”. It has been an exceptionally effective tool to ensure proper physical distancing rules are being enforced at the institution. 

Whether your people are on-premises or not, AppArmor apps and notification systems provide a number of valuable functions to help keep your people informed and safe in the new normal. Check out this video by AppArmor Co-Founder, David Sinkinson, who was interviewed for GSX+ regarding how AppArmor continues to play an important role at hundreds of organizations.

If you’d like to add some new functions to your app, or have questions about new functionality, don’t hesitate to reach out us today to see how we can help.

Till next time,