The demands and expectations put on operational control centers are growing steadily; faster, more up-to-date and precise, all while saving cost. At the same time, collaboration across geographic and organizational boundaries is becoming increasingly important. This leaves control center operators to address crucial questions: How can organizations optimize cooperation with other operations centers? How can spatial databases, a pivotal aspect of highly functioning dispatch systems, be maintained and updated more efficiently?
To discuss these topics, Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure invited Florian Schenk, managing director at Convexis GmbH, to join the second event for our HxGN LOCAL Talk series, which was held at the TIME Lounge in Zurich's main station. About 15 representatives from public safety organizations discussed how the Rescuetrack platform can facilitate the work of control centers.
Dispatch the closest resource or your own?
By putting this question up for discussion, Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure’s Pascal Vieser opened the event and gave a glimpse into the wide range of aspects that influence the dispatching process - among them technical, organizational, and political facets. Now, the process of requesting an external resource requires extensive communication, as the system does not provide the dispatcher with accessibility to external resources. This is a highly relevant topic particularly prevalent in areas close to jurisdictional borders as well as during incidents that require helicopter assistance.
Rescuetrack easily resolves this problem. Florian Schenk, explained how in Germany alone all rescue helicopters and more than 7,000 ambulance vehicles are dispatched using this platform. Rescuetrack connects resources, control centers, stations and hospitals, and enables real-time information flows.
At a time when collaboration across organizational borders is becoming ever more important, Rescuetrack could serve as the central positioning server to support visualization of units, incident transfers, and even dispatching processes involving external units – a model successfully implemented by Schutz & Rettung Zürich with Southern Germany.
“A Spatial Data Update Shouldn’t Be a Specific Project Any More, But an Everyday Occurrence” - Florian Schenk
During his live demo, Florian Schenk also gave some insight underneath the surface of Rescuetrack. During everyday operations, current, faultless, and reliable spatial data are a pivotal necessity for control centers. Typically, those data sets originate from various sources and have different formats and update cycles. Consequently, data maintenance turns into a cumbersome task.
Rescuetrack’s hybrid cloud approach enables the combination of virtually all data sources, supports the harmonization of update cycles, and ensures high availability. Implemented test mechanisms safeguard quality assurance requirements. These elements work together to ensure Rescuetrack’s suitability to serve as a spatial data hub across organizational borders.
Public Safety-Optimized Search and Routing
For enhanced dispatch processes, phonetic algorithms and spelling correction are implemented to improve the search results during an emergency call. The routing feature for emergency vehicles is optimized too. Control center manager can improve the coordination of empty runs and patrol tours by not selecting the shortest route but by choosing the one most fit to improve dispatchability in a certain area. Public safety-optimized search and routing if you will.
Time Saving for the Patient’s Sake
In addition to state organizations, the EMS sector involves many private rescue services and hospitals. Florian Schenk demonstrated how Rescuetrack enables control centers to adjust the coordination of rescue missions and patient transfers based on hospital occupancy rates. This feature can save valuable time for the patient and cut down on expenses. To further streamline processes during an emergency, displays in a hospital’s emergency room can inform medical staff about a patient’s expected arrival time and medical details.
This Is How It Should Be Done
After more than an hour of lively exchange, the discussion moved to the refreshments. With Rescuetrack, Hexagon has identified the technology’s capabilities and potential to address many ideas and needs of our public safety and security partners. Rescuetrack’s deep integration with Hexagon’s computer-aided dispatch system is the first step in this journey.
Once again, HxGN LOCAL Talk served as a valuable platform for exchange and inspiration. We have another HxGN LOCAL Talk event on October 3rd. This time, we will discuss software-aided major incident command. So, check back soon.
Fabian Zwimpfer is a sales and marketing representative focused on tender management, business development initiatives, and industry events in Switzerland. Prior to joining Hexagon in 2015, Fabian was a teaching assistant at the Institute for Mechanical Systems while working on his Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering at ETH Zurich.