author Alan King, Thursday February 22, 2018

At AppArmor we pride ourselves on how closely we work with our customers. Whether that means having exceptional customer service or developing new features, we always view our relationship with our institutions as a partnership.

It was in that spirit that CAPA Global Programs approached us for a new feature - CheckIn. CAPA partners with universities and colleges across the globe to provide students with exchange opportunities. While students are abroad, CAPA (along with the host institutions) have a responsibility to account for their safety; as such they needed a way to have a mass two-way communication option between users and their centralized office in Boston.

With locations in Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Dublin, Florence, London, Shanghai, and Sydney, both we and CAPA knew that this was no easy feat. We knew that the purpose of the feature was to make it possible to have users in a specific geographical area “CheckIn” with organizational administrators upon request.

CheckIn works by requesting some basic information from the end user, including their name, email address and phone number. The institution can decide which additional fields are needed (place of residence, exchange location, allergies etc). Then in a crisis, the team members at the institution can initiate a “CheckIn” to the entire list or a subset of the user base. Most commonly a subset is targeted to reflect the nature of the crisis (for instance, a terrorist attack in England would trigger a "CheckIn" to users in England). Team members will:

  1. Select the users they wish to send the “CheckIn” request to via the online dashboard Users page.
  2. Compose and send the message
  3. The “CheckIn” request is sent to their targeted users, requesting their status of either “OK” or “Not OK”. The user’s location and additional details are also sent to the dashboard.
  4. In the dashboard the institution can view all the users they requested the “CheckIn” from including their current status and location. There they can take appropriate action for the “Not OK” users or users who did not respond, including sending a second push to reach just the non-responsive users.

Here’s a quick video which shows the basics of CheckIn.

While this feature was built with students abroad in-mind, it can also be used domestically to simply better target your user base with a mass notification or to keep tabs on specific sub groups.

CheckIn is a premium feature on the AppArmor platform, meaning it comes at an additional cost. However, significant discounts apply for the next few weeks as we begin to deploy it to a few institutions. Reach out to your AppArmor team member now for more information!