Throughout these past few years, we’ve had some pretty amazing conversations with first responders, dispatchers and field supervisors focused on understanding the outcomes they were working towards as well as the challenges that stand in the way of achieving them.
Across the board, we heard the same desired outcomes: faster response times, better use of limited resources, and safer first responders. I think we all can agree those are admirable goals.
With this, we also uncovered the following persistent challenges:
systems that are simply not intuitive, expensive to maintain and generally inflexible
delayed awareness of what is actually happening in the field
too many complex and fragmented ways of communicating even basic critical information to field teams
Now let’s dive deeper to learn a bit more about the context.
Today’s CAD applications are built on platforms architected decades ago. While they are highly customizable, they also often burdened with cumbersome workflows, difficult integrations and really expensive updates. Simply put, they make getting critical work done more challenging than necessary. This negatively impacts response times, employee onboarding and the efficient use of limited resources.
Most knowledge of where units are and what they are experiencing is limited to simple AVL tracking and radio updates. While these provide a cursory level of understanding of what is happening in the field, they also provide only a very small piece of the much bigger picture.
What if you need to know where officers are when they leave their vehicles? What about when you radio for an update from a unit but get no response back? Without the necessary visibility into what is happening in the moment, you are unable to respond appropriately, risk deploying an inappropriate level of limited resources and compromise the safety of officers.
Lastly, simply the act of communicating critical information to the right parties can often entail far too much effort. To fully communicate and collaborate, images, videos, text and voice are all essential. To provide this, many agencies use a disconnected web of applications to complete even simple workflows. Perhaps a CAD messaging application is used initially, but then a switch to a completely different mobile application is needed followed by a radio update – simply to understand basic information that should be far easier to collect and act upon.
So, what’s the answer?
What today’s CAD systems lack is the ability to truly act in real-time. What’s needed is a real-time operations platform.
What comprises a real-time operations platform?
Foundational to a real-time operations platform is the ability to manage units and events efficiently and effectively. This requires modern user experiences to make getting work done as intuitively as possible. It also needs to be effortless to connect to other critical systems and ensure that the newest capabilities and updates are readily available to users through cloud-based technologies.
Second is the seamless integration of real-time data fueled by sensors in the field. Produced by the connected officer, vehicle and environment, they provide instant updates as to the location of units and what is truly happening in the moment.
Lastly, it would provide a unified way to communicate across on any device, anywhere. This would ensure that users can best connect and collaborate, whether the situation calls for the sharing of images, videos, text or voice.
In summary, CAD has been a trusted partner of public safety for decades, but it simply is unable to meet the demands of the modern agency.
It’s now time to operate in real-time.