Don’t let adaptive blindness prevent you from seeing the shortcomings of widely-used dispatching technology and the need for a real-time operations platform.
Computer-aided dispatch (CAD) serves a valuable role in dispatching operations, but the hard truth of the matter is that it wasn’t designed to accommodate the rapid growth of technology. That means that the organizations that rely on it are limited by the constraints of the software.
“[These systems] simply didn't take into account where technology would be today and the ability to do things like consume data sensor information from mobile devices, cellphones or wearable devices, like an Apple Watch or an Android watch,” says Donno Cole, public safety expert, Axon. “All of the consumer devices that have come along in the last 10 years or so are things that software vendors simply couldn't have anticipated, and so they don't have a way to incorporate it, at least not easily and seamlessly, into the environment that the call-takers and dispatchers are using.”
Instead, dispatch centers and emergency responders are left to rely on add-ons that can expand the capabilities of existing software, but lack true integration. This means extra effort, extra steps and extra attention is required of emergency responders, and, as a result, situational awareness in the field is decreased.
Recognizing the need
After using the same technology for decades, public service answer points (PSAPs) and dispatch centers have adapted to doing their jobs alongside the limitations of this technology, rendering them, in many cases, blind to the need for solutions. This is known as adaptive blindness.
Add that to the list of priorities leaders of PSAPs and dispatch centers juggle every day, and it’s easy to see how taking time to evaluate dispatching technology often doesn’t make the cut.
“There are so many competing interests for time, budget and effort that stepping back to be in a thought-leadership role and looking at the solution holistically only comes along once in a blue moon when an agency wants to acquire new technology,” Cole says.
And in most cases, PSAPs and other dispatch centers only recognize the need for improved dispatch technology within the silo of a singular problem or when disruption stirs the need for solutions.
Answering the call
Through its Axon Dispatch and Axon Aware software, Axon solves the problem by uniting its services, devices and sensors to create a real-time operations platform that provides dispatchers with a clear, comprehensive picture of what’s happening at a scene and surrounding it.
“We bring all of these things together in a singular environment that presents an operational picture to an agency that they haven't had before,” Cole says. “With this integrated platform of sensors and devices, if the officer has to arm their TASER CEW, for example, we can know about that via Axon Signal and notify the dispatcher and other responders. We can know by looking at livestream video and audio from Axon Body 3 cameras that the officer is engaged in a stressful situation.”
But in order to adopt these much-needed solutions, dispatchers and PSAP centers must recognize the need for them. That means removing the blinders that stand in the way of evaluating their use of technology.
“I would encourage folks to take a step back, remove those blinders and see the world for what it is today,” Cole says.
Solutions in real-time
Do you see a need for a real-time operations platform? Contact Axon to learn more about how your organization can benefit from our suite of software, devices and services.