Need some ‘Zing!’ in your life?

Kaua’i Community College students are the first in the United States to get Zing!, an opt-in, opt-out text-messaging system for holders of cellular telephones, the Zing! creator, a Kalaheo resident, said in a press release.

The service allows members to receive important and urgent messages from a broad spectrum of message originators, including representatives of universities, retail businesses, radio stations, hotels, airlines, activity operators, civil defense agencies, and many more.

According to Richard “Rich” McSheehy, president of Lisnacolla LLC, the Kalaheo company that created Zing!, this new capability “puts knowledge in your pocket.”

Kaua’i Community College leaders began using Zing! last week to send urgent messages to their students and staff members.

Zing! allows the instructors to immediately notify students if their classes have been canceled due to a teacher’s illness or for other reasons.

College leaders can also send out important messages to members of the entire student body with Zing!

Some examples are:

  • Notifications of campus emergencies;
  • Last-minute changes to event schedules;
  • Reminders of important events such as the last day to add or drop a class.

KCC is the first college in the United States to have this advanced capability.

According to Nani Marston, vice president for marketing, “The cell phone of today is more than a phone. It’s a personal communicator, and in the United States text messaging is quickly becoming the ideal method for receiving quick information on the go.

“This amazing new capability that Zing! provides will change how we live,” she said.

Just back from a trip to Ireland, Marston said, “Text messaging has been extremely successful throughout Europe and Asia, and is now used in many areas as the primary resource for information.

“But Zing! goes beyond anything that exists in either Europe or Asia,” she explained.

“It is a very-simple-to-use software application that allows virtually anyone to be up and running within minutes, and be able to send important text messages to groups of people that really need the information now.”

One of the important uses for businesses is to send special offers to their registered customers, informing them of upcoming sales, and including discount coupons in the text message, Mc-Sheehy and Marston said.

Studies in Europe have shown that it is 100 times more effective than other forms of advertising.

Messages are sent from the Zing! Web site by simply selecting the desired group to receive the message, typing the message (up to 160 characters) into a text box, and clicking “Send.”

In just a few seconds, important messages can be delivered to thousands of cell phones.

Because Zing! is designed to easily send text messages to large groups of people, another potential use for Zing! is sending Civil Defense alerts, such as tsunami warnings and disaster-relief coordination messages, McSheehy explained.

The system has already been demonstrated to County of Kaua’i officials, and will soon be demonstrated to state officials. Zing! has also been demonstrated to officials of the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Zing! is also available for private, internal use by members of large organizations, and can be very useful when there are last-minute changes to meeting schedules, when off-duty personnel must be recalled, and when key personnel must be informed of urgent information regardless of their location.

Brian McSheehy, vice president for technology development, noted that, “Zing! messages are delivered at no charge to the recipient, except for any charges by the recipient’s cell-phone service provider. Both message senders and recipients access Zing! capabilities at the Web site, www.zingnow.com,” he said.

“Zing! is also available by syndication on a client’s Web site,” Brian McSheehy continued.

“This means that any company’s Web site can have a section where customers can sign up to receive that company’s text messages without having to go to the Zing! Web site,” he said.

Interested parties may call Richard McSheehy at 651-5475, or, for technical questions, call Brian McSheehy at 1-808-223-6470.

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