This historic time in the emergency communications industry presents unique challenges as well as opportunities. Public safety agencies and control rooms are in catch-up mode after witnessing the prevalence of advanced technology in commercial and consumer markets over many years. Emergency communications continues to be susceptible to sweeping changes in the broader communications industry. Legal and policy changes lag behind technological advances, and the prospect of modernizing is compounded by the fact that the industry is comprised of multiple public and private stakeholders that often operate independently from one another, unintentionally interrupting potential for consensus. Appropriate integration, at the control room, is inevitable. But successful rollout will require an enhanced level of collaboration. This is where ICCRA comes in.

In addition to these challenges, the burgeoning development of public safety broadband networks, for data, video and eventually voice communications between and among field responders and emergency call centers and control rooms, poses questions regarding myriad prospects of coordination, funding, resource sharing and interoperability yet to be fully explored. The control room is again the place where many of these related, yet often disparate, technologies must be integrated and formatted to run in a seamless environment.

Some of the topics the SIG will cover include:

  • Computer aided dispatch software
  • Call-taking software (911, 112, 999, 000, etc.)
  • CCTV integration software
  • Geographic information systems (GIS)
  • Recording software (logging)
  • Records management software (RMS)
  • Voice dispatch (radio dispatch)
  • Integration with next generation three-digit emergency calling systems
  • Integration with public safety broadband/LTE systems

This list is not exhaustive and we want the topics covered and the range of ways in which we tackle them to be driven by the SIG members themselves. Please come forward with your ideas for discussions, events, case studies, or other activities that help us to share thinking and practice.

Current and future challenges related to crafting, updating, and maintaining public safety communications systems are multi-faceted, with crucial factors both known and unknown. The ability to analyze the known, and ferret out the unknown, is dependent upon having a robust team of skilled professionals on hand to address the many complex issues that unfailingly arise, and to aid in paving a path to successful solutions.

The discussions within the SIG should be of interest to those looking at good practice in technology development and integration for emergency services. The SIG should be of interest to technology development professionals, product managers, ICT planners and integrators, manufacturers of consoles and other specialist control room products as well as to end users who are thinking about how best to approach a control room design project.