What devices can I use with Emerge?
Emerge can be used on Apple iOS, Android and Windows 8.1 devices (currently tablets and computers only). Please note that Emerge will run on any Apple device running Apple iOS 4.0 or higher. At the current time, Emerge is not compatible with Blackberry devices.
I have an unsupported device, where do I stand?
Emerge may still run on your device and you are welcome to try it. If your school has a very small SIMS database you might be fine. However if you run into problems then unfortunately you will have to consider an upgraded device or trial Emerge on one of our loan devices that we can send to you.
Is Emerge secure?
Emerge is completely secure and only works with registered devices where the data is encrypted for the device and the user. Emerge uses two-factor authentication to tie the users to specific devices and requires a username, password and passcode in order to work. If the device is lost or stolen, the device can be wiped remotely. In fact, if the device has not been synchronised for a set number of days (default is 5 days), all Emerge data will be automatically deleted from the device, even in offline mode.
Our school wireless network is firewalled from our SIMS server, how do I install Emerge?
You will need to do one of two things:
a) Install the Emerge Web Service on a computer that is accessible, you will need a working SIMS Workstation client on that computer
b) Make exceptions on your firewall to allow access to the SIMS server via http. You might want to or need to set static IP addresses on any devices that connect.
I need to use a proxy to access the Internet but the proxy will block access to the Emerge Web Service. Can Emerge cope with this?
Yes. When you connect to the Emerge Web Service and have a proxy configured on the device then Emerge will try via the proxy initially. If this is unsuccessful then Emerge will try without the proxy and if that is successful it will remember to try without the proxy first in future. This detection process can cause the initial connection to the Emerge Web Service to take up to 20 seconds.
How does Emerge talk to SIMS?
The Emerge client app talks to SIMS via the Emerge Web Service that is installed on your SIMS server (or elsewhere if you require). The Emerge Web Service uses a single SIMS user to connect to SIMS via another Groupcall product called Xporter. That single SIMS user carries all Emerge traffic using Staff Codes to differentiate data for different users.
The Emerge Web Service applies two layers of authentication (device and user) before allowing data to be transmitted. Transmitted data is encrypted so that it can only be decoded by the device it is being sent to.
Please note: Behaviour and Achievement write-back is now available for SIMS schools on Apple iOS devices only.
What is the Emerge Management Console?
In order to control how Emerge is managed and deployed, we created an intuitive management console. This allows the school administrator using Emerge to create and manage both devices and users, including the ability to choose what the user can see by selecting one of the available profiles, Admin, Teacher, Teacher (no messaging), Supply and Inactive – you can see further information on the profiles available in the latest updates – Multiple Profiles section.
What are the server specifications for the Groupcall software?
We do not have any set specifications for this (it can run on 32 and 64 bit) same as SIMS specification.
What are the software pre-requisites for the Groupcall server?
The software pre-requisites for the Groupcall server are .NET Framework 3.5 and MMC V3.0.
We want to install the Groupcall software on a separate server to SIMS. Is this possible?
Yes, but you need to have the SIMS client installed on the server to work
How does Groupcall authenticate with SIMS? Do we need a separate account for the software to log in to SIMS?
It uses a DATA extract tool (Xporter). This uses SIMS report files to pull out the data. Accounts to use the devices are set up separately.
Can we run the Groupcall services with domain accounts and not local system accounts?
Yes you can.
What protocols does the Groupcall software need to be running on the network?
Connects over standard TCP/IP.
If used outside of the network via the internet how do the devices connect to the Groupcall server?
The device connects via the Microsoft Azure Service Bus in the cloud. The encrypted messages between the Emerge devices and Emerge server are queued in the cloud and picked up like secure answer phone messages, but a lot quicker. Also, using the Microsoft Azure Service Bus we are able to securely read information from the MIS and write back attendance in real time using 3G or through any Wi-Fi connection – all without breaching any security protocols by opening other network ports. Please note: it is the decision of the school using Emerge as to whether they allow staff to access information outside the school’s Wi-Fi system – this is controlled by the Emerge Management Console.
If the Groupcall/SIMS data is held offsite for remote device access where is this data stored and how secure is it?
It is not held off-site. All data is read direct from what Xporter pulls from the database directly to the device.
What if any Firewall ports need to be opened up?
80 and 443 by default can be changed to other port numbers if needed.
Can we lock down the Groupcall server so it only works internally?
Yes by default the system is setup as internal use only, it has to be requested to have a service bus url put in to use via 3G.
If you have any further questions that are not shown in this section, please contact us on: 020 8506 6100.