Jon Wells



By Jon Wells

Every “first,” first responder in the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) knows that informed response helps save lives. The evolving reality of Next Generation 911 (NG911) intends to deliver on that promise.

Public expectations and reality are not necessarily aligned. Macro trends in public safety—supplemental data, big data, M2M, cloud computing—place additional pressure on PSAPs already facing budgetary challenges and mounting requirements for agency efficiency, responder safety, and the struggle to save more lives and protect more property.

It’s a complex world spliced with staggering amounts of information that must be received and managed by agencies with fewer resources. How can PSAPs meet the demand?

Integrated Command and Control (ICC) is a new approach that can deliver solutions for a superior NG911 paradigm, eliminating swivel chair management or stovepipe applications, providing the most effective means for public safety agencies to manage the 911 Continuum.

What is Integrated Command and Control?

ICC is a practical solution that embeds call handling directly and completely into the CAD user interface, providing a unified workflow for the PSAP. Radio communications may also be embedded into the same user interface.

From a workflow perspective, agencies realize a unified position with a single sign-on. Imagine that—a single login! Agencies share data and a common user interface, allowing integrated control logic across the applications.

When NG911 event handling and CAD are unified, individual agencies can customize business rules according to their specific standard operating procedures, tightly integrating and shaping event attributes with dispatching rules.

Users may choose to control their workflow using function keys, the mouse, and even the command line leading to increased efficiency and accuracy. Dispatchers can more fully focus on the caller with these optimized resources.

ICC provides simultaneous handling of voice calls and text as well as all future forms of request. Multimedia inputs are stored as part of associated incident record and available to everyone on the Integrated Command and Control system.

A clear pathway to true ICC

In order to achieve an Integrated Command and Control solution, the core applications of call handling and CAD must be unified. True ICC occurs when the CAD user interface provides all functionality natively in an embedded fashion. This unified workflow provides the richest user experience in not only managing the incident, but in collecting and presenting supplemental and big data, from calltaker to dispatcher to responder’s mobile data terminal or directly to a handheld device.

West Safety Services is part of this vision, collaborating with industry leading CAD providers. West’s Call Control Interface (CCI) integrates components from multiple vendors. Market experience shows that most solution providers have one core competency (sometimes two).

Additional PSAP benefits

Serving the 911 continuum as an i3-compliant PSAP, ICC provides greater security and superior change management functionality. Unified reporting captures every detail of an event from the moment the call arrived to the time the incident was closed. ICC reduces the total cost of ownership; there is less capital equipment to purchase as compared to separated systems and fewer contracts to procure and manage.

The transition to NG911 is a challenging journey, and we are well on our way! PSAPs are realizing the benefits of IP-based systems for GIS and supplemental and big data.

Integrated Command and Control is a reality today and can help save more lives, protect more property, and help ensure a safer outcome for everyone involved in an emergency response.