Ho Ho Ho: Alert Santa on the go

    Inventor Brendan Cunningham

    CHILDREN’S best friend is more alert than ever.

    Normally we would try to keep the bold Santa Claus under wraps until well into December.

    But today we have no choice but to sing his praises as he delivers to our young and to local schools.

    Thanks to an enterprising Kilkenny-based firm, schools across our city and county will save thousands of Euros every year with a new alerts system.

    Developed locally, the system offers a far more affordable ‘text a parent’ solution that eliminates costly Short Message Service (SMS) text message credits.

    SchoolAlerts.ie delivers alerts using well-known apps for free. 

    Santa Claus arrives early

    Founder and tech expert, Brendan Cunningham, our very own Santa, based at Burrell’s Hall , College Road, said www.SchoolAlerts.ie will eliminate the need for Kilkenny’s 93 schools, 77 primary and 16 secondary, catering for 19,000-plus pupils, to rely solely on messaging systems that cost up to 7 cents per individual text.

    “Instead we send alerts to parents as push notifications using well-known smartphone apps such as Viber, Facebook Messenger and Telegram that parents are already familiar with.

    “These apps are often already installed on a parent’s phone, so there is no set up. It’s ideal for parents with children in several schools and one account can effectively become the

    one-stop-shop for all school communications.

    “Because push notifications do not cost us, they do not cost the school either. Instead of charging for individual alerts like SMS companies would, we charge a smaller, annual flat fee for our service and schools.

    “Schools operate the system like they would any messaging board and can send each messages for free during the school year.

    “Several schools we’ve engaged with were spending an average of €1,000 a year on texts. Our flat fee of €299 a year is inclusive of VAT.

    “A shocking 87% of schools we surveyed see the cost of SMS texts as prohibitive and in many cases, schools said they cannot afford to send all the messages that they would like,” Brendan, who has worked with Kilkenny County Council said.

     Schools that want to register can visit the Signup Page and enter their Roll Number.   

    Alerts can then be sent to the entire school, to individual classes or to individual parents in the event of an unexplained absence or other episode.

    The school owns the database of parent contact information and the entire system is General Data Protection (GDPR) compliant.  

    All parents need to do once their school has signed up is to register their ‘phone number on the service website so the SchoolAlerts.ie team can independently verify that they are part of a school contact list.

    “If somebody tries to register with a mobile that we do not recognise from a school list, then they will not be allowed to sign up.”