January 22, 2007
Sprint First to Offer Schools a Mobile Solution for Severe Weather Alerts Powered by the WeatherBug Network
Broward County Public Schools Implement Sprint GPS Technology and WeatherBug Protect Solution to Keep Athletes, Coaches and Students Safe on the Field
OVERLAND PARK, Kan.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 22, 2007--Broward County Public Schools, located in South Florida, is the first school district in the nation to implement a real-time, location-based wireless weather alert system that will notify the faculty and staff of severe weather conditions that threaten the safety of athletes, coaches, students and spectators. The system utilizes Sprint (NYSE:S) GPS-enabled handsets on the Nextel National Network equipped with a weather alert application from WeatherBug(R), a leading provider of live, local weather information services. WeatherBug Protect is the first alert system to integrate live streaming weather information from the 8,000 WeatherBug Tracking Stations located throughout the country primarily in neighborhoods atop schools.
"The safety of the students and the staff is top priority. Multiple districts across the U.S. have suffered the loss of student life due to weather-related incidents during outdoor student activities," said Jerry Graziose, director of safety, Broward County Public Schools. "This unique application offers an important layer of safety for students, faculty and the general public attending outdoor sporting events and other activities."
Based on predefined parameters, any school within range of a severe weather threat will receive alerts from the WeatherBug Protect system. Custom alerts such as heat index, lightning detection warnings, wind gusts, as well as all the standard severe weather alerts issued from the National Weather Service (NWS), are sent to the GPS enabled Nextel phones. During an outdoor activity, faculty and staff carrying Nextel handsets can then relay critical advance notification of severe weather-related events and move athletes, students and spectators to safety.
"WeatherBug Protect provides a secure, easy-to-use service, helping to safeguard people during critical and time-sensitive events," said Chris Brozenick, vice president and general manager of mobile, WeatherBug. "The location-based technology and the automated process ensure that relevant notifications reach the right people in the right place at the right time."
Broward County Public Schools has distributed approximately 800 Nextel GPS handsets outfitted with WeatherBug Protect. In addition, the Motorola-built handsets are ideal for outdoor use and meet military standards for dust, shock, vibration and rain resistance.
"The school faculty and staff have in-hand enhanced location-based mobile devices also equipped with the industry-leading Nextel Walkie-Talkie service as a back up cellular network feature," Craig Carroll, national director of education for Sprint. "Sprint is proud to know that this joint effort with Broward County Public Schools and WeatherBug has the potential to improve student safety through increased awareness and response to weather conditions for everything from athletic activities to band practices to field trips."
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two robust wireless networks serving more than 51 million customers at the end of third quarter 2006; industry-leading mobile data services; instant national and international walkie-talkie capabilities; and an award-winning and global Tier 1 Internet backbone. For more information, visit www.sprint.com.
WeatherBug (weatherbug.com) ensures that individuals, schools, businesses and government agencies receive the most precise live weather information, the most relevant weather reports, and the earliest weather warnings to safeguard property, lives and to plan with confidence. With 8,000 WeatherBug Tracking Stations and over 1,000 cameras primarily based at neighborhood schools and public safety facilities across the U.S., WeatherBug maintains the largest exclusive weather network in the world. The live, local weather conditions are delivered to millions of consumers via the Internet and mobile devices, more than 100 state and local government agencies, including the National Weather Service, and to broadcast television stations, schools, and businesses. WeatherBug's data is unique as it is the only live, neighborhood weather available anywhere. WeatherBug is a brand of AWS Convergence Technologies, Inc. (www.aws.com)
CONTACT: Sprint Nextel
Sukhi Sahni, 703-592-7779
Nanci Schwartz, 352-326-1326
Mara Radis, 301-250-4017
Broward County Public Schools
Andrew Feirstein, 754-321-2300
SOURCE: Sprint Nextel