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Telecoms Office

University Information Services


The Cambridge Notification System (CNS) is a system for broadcasting messages to a group of phones. The system requires positivie acknowledgement (i.e. the receiver must press a key to confirm they have listened to the message). If positive acknowledgement is not received, then the system can escallate the call to another phone number. After all the phones have been called, an e-mail report and a SMS text message summary can be sent notifying someone that the group was activated. The e-mail message will have a copy of the audio message attached.

If you are interested in using this service, please contact the

Groups & Contacts

The system works with groups and contacts. A group is just a list of contacts. A group may also include other groups. A group has a priority level. (1-3). Contacts also have priorities. When deciding the order to call contacts, the group & contact priority are multiplied, and the highest level priority calls are made first. Note that if another activation happens later for a group that has higher priority than yours, their calls will be placed first - even though your activation was placed first.

If a contact is in multiple groups, and those groups are linked together in one activation, then the contact will recieve just one call for that activation. However, if a contact is in seperate groups, and those groups have separate activations, then the contact will receive a separate call for each group activation.

A contact has a name (e.g. "Porters Lodge") and upto three phone numbers. Each phone number can have a description (e.g. "Desk", "Mobile"). When the system calls a contact, it tries the first number. If it receives a positive acknowledgement, it then moves onto the next contact. If if fails to receive positive acknowledgement, it tries the next number for the contact.

Activating a group

You start by dialing 30056 or 01223 330056. You will then be asked for the group number you wish to activate. You will then be asked for the PIN for the group.

You then record the message you wish to broadcast to the group. The message will then be played back to you. You can either hang-up and abort the activation, re-record the message, or accept the message and activate the group. Once you accept the message you will then hear the message "The activation has been queued", and the system will then hang-up the call. Once you hear this message, the system has stored your message, and has created the list of numbers to call.

The system currently can make a maximum of 10 concurrent outbound calls.

Receiving a notification call

You will receive a call from 30056 (or 01223 330056 if you are not on an extension or mobex phone). If you are on an internal extension, you will see a call with the name "* NOTIFICATION *".

Once you answer the call, you will first hear the prompt: "This is the Cambridge Notification System" Next, you will hear the message being sent to you. Once the message has played to you, you can either:

  • Hang up. This will count as a non-acknowledgement
  • Press "1" to acknowledge the message. The system will say "Thank you" and hang up.
  • Press "5" to replay the message. You may do this upto three times, after which the system will treat the call as failed.
  • Press "9" to reject the message.

If the system gets an engaged tone from your phone, or your phone diverts to voicemail, it will requeue the call and retry later. It will retry upto three times.

Once the contact has hung up, there is no means for them to re-listen to the activation message.

Post activation report

If you have elected to receive an e-mail report, you will get a report like:

Job: Colleges (Group XXX) (9), At: 30 Feb 2011 27:01:47.
Total Outdials=44, OK=14, Escalated=30, Retried=2, Failed=6.

Call to Christs (Desk 1) [XXXXX] failed. Reason: Not answered
Call to Churchill (Desk 1) [XXXXX] failed, number busy. Requeued to retry later. Retry 1 of 3
Call to Churchill (Desk 1) [XXXXX] failed. Reason: Message Rejected
Call to Churchill (Desk 2) [XXXXX] acknowledged.
Call to Clare (Desk 1) [XXXXX] Diverted to a Divert Ignore List number. Requeued to retry later. Retry 1 of 3
Call to Clare (Desk 1) [XXXXX] acknowledged.
Call to Corpus Christi (Desk 1) [XXXXX] acknowledged.
Call to Downing (Desk 1) [XXXXX] acknowledged.
Call to Emmanuel (Desk 1) [XXXXX] failed. Reason: Message Rejected
Call to Emmanuel (Desk 2) [XXXXX] failed. Reason: Not answered

If you have SMS Text notification, you will receive a text message with just the summary line:

Job: Colleges (Group XXX) (9), At: 30 Feb 2011 27:01:47. Total Outdials=44, OK=14, Escalated=30, Retried=2, Failed=6.