Emergency Management, much like business, has an Improvement cycle: plan, train, exercise, after-action, plan… With the achieved success, the question was, how do we make This thing better?
Here are the issues that we identified:
This is our current setup. We have an analog softphone which Presents some challenges to UC integration. The city is Looking at VoIP technologies. You can see the monaural headset on the desk. Why not use both ears. We could use balance on the radio channels to move one to the left ear and a different one to the right ear.
ICS 101 – The incident command system is the operations bible For emergency services. This is a very basic structure of an ICS System. Everyone that fills a seat in the JEOC will be in one of These roles. The question is, how can we leverage IBM Social Business to Help us keep track of that. IBM Connections will be the answer for us as all personnel will Be tagged with “positions” they are rated to fill. Let us show you More.
UnifiedEdge is going to develop a customized log-in page. The demographic information entered in this page will dump to Connections. Once the information is filled out, the next time One logs in, they will see the pre-filled information and be able To change it if needed. You’ll also see the employee / non-employee boxes which will Help determine internal vs. external users. And finally the position will drive everything in this system. The Position will eventually drive the buddy list you see, the radio Channels you get, and eventually the phone numbers you are Assigned.
Here’s a screenshot of Connections and the profile tags that can Be entered. Not only will it be positions, but other skills, training Classes taken and languages spoken to name a few. The Connections app for Blackberry is shown on the right.
Here you can see standard screenshots of Sametime with Unified Telephony and even the radio app for blackberry. Imagine walking into an activation into our JEOC. Without Looking at a chart, or asking someone, one can sit down and Start working right away, and if they need to know who is in One of the other positions, they can look up that information on Connections. Not only that, but once they look someone up, then they can Click to chat, click to call, click to video, click to instant meeting, The possibilities are endless!
This is the new mockup of our new full screen client from UnifiedEdge. Instead of flipping tabs, you can see that we have Sametime, RadioConnect out to the side, Connections, And then video chat an SUT. It isn’t final, but panels will be collapsible or have sliders. Maybe spaces will even be assignable to different plug-ins!
This is the current build as it sits at Fort Worth. We have a network called JEOC that is connected to the main City network, but they are firewalled off at either end. We can only access Sametime / RadioConnect from the JEOC Or staff offices. Connecting away from the office is possible, But it’s not optimal as we have to VPN in and connections can Sometimes be lacking.
This build is now in process. The three servers are in and being Worked on. Each component: Sametime, RadioConnect, and Connections will each have their own server. They will all be Accessible through the JEOC. They will also be exposed to the internet in several ways. First, we will be able to utilize mobile apps such as iOS and Blackberry. Sametime and Connections for iPad and WAVE for Blackberry give us that option. Additionally, we’ll be able to log into a web interface from Anywhere we can get to the internet from a browser. Beyond that, we’ll have the capability to connect with FD / PD or other departments if needed. This could also be accomplished Outside the city with a media server or partnering with another Network.
This is the WAVE dispatch communicator console. Essentially We’re showing you that you can dispatch from this system as Well. You can also patch channels. Imagine patching IP channels to Radio channels!!
This is the Sametime App for iPad. It’s important to mention at This point that Fort Worth has 7-8 duty officers that have “duty” a week at a time. They are a 24/7 contact that week for anything That happens in the city. Whether it be responding to a fire, or A suspicious package or even severe / winter weather, the duty Officer has to be connected via chat and radio at a moment’s Notice. This network and system will allow Fort Worth to greatly Expand on that capability.
This is just an example of Sametime Instant Meeting with Video Teleconferencing.
Our challenges with this next phase are the following: We want to keep things as simple as possible. It’s a challenge With all of the systems involved. Everything has to go through IT, to get the right ports open, to Keep the system secure, to make it work across multiple Networks, etc… Managing accounts internally and externally is a challenge That is difficult to solve, however we believe we have some Options on how to accomplish that. What happens if when the city goes VoIP, they implement a Cisco System, or Lync, etc. The good news is that we haven’t done Anything that wouldn’t be able to integrate with whatever the City does.