Published: July 05, 2016 | Comments
When an emergency occurs, public dispatch centers are focused like a laser on the caller’s needs, and everything else pales in significance. Little to no thought is given to the organization’s infrastructure except when the tools at hand do not rise to the challenge.
However, these tools can prove critical to a successful outcome and must operate in a fail-safe manner. A redundant power supply and mirrored hard disk, for example, increase reliability, provide protection from liability and ensure the agent can respond in the most rapid and powerful way possible to meet the emergency situation.
Moreover, the post-incident analysis is equally critical since improving processes by shaving seconds off the response rate can mean the difference between life and death.
Public authorities by nature pay less attention to their internal processes because they lack the market imperative to survive. And without the profit motive, their motivation to excel may sometimes fade into the background unless or until a tragedy occurs. Should this happen, however, the implications may rapidly grow as the public demands accountability.
So emergency response centers, or similar organizations tasked with public safety, such as air traffic control centers, require intensive agent training and accurate post-incident analysis. The communications recording solution must provide a tamper-proof record of what actually occurred with timestamps accurate to one-hundredth of a second.
Investigations must scrutinize agent response rates and meticulously examine organizational procedures to determine whether the agent could have acted more efficiently without jeopardizing public safety. Future trainings should be facilitated by culling best practices from agent interactions with the public and easy emailing of these examples as WAV files by supervisors.
Emergency centers must often coordinate with each other, and TETRA is an important standard enabling radio communications among otherwise disparate systems. A communications recording solution must ensure this occurs smoothly. Comprehensive tagging of TETRA call information will also facilitate efficient search and retrieval.
Moreover, the communications recording solution must offer multi-tenancy features to provide strict separation of data for each organization or distinct access rights for officials based on seniority or on a need-to-know basis. Communications security, another pressing need for command-and-control environments, can be achieved through AES encryption and https with the dispatcher. N-tier architecture improves performance and provides scalability for growing organizations, allowing recording from four to thousands of channels.
Communications recording systems must handle the proliferation of multi-channel communications, including voice and data by VoIP, trunked radio and SDS (short data services), analog and digital telephony, and chat. The overall solution should provide a hybrid recording platform to handle all of these in a single scalable system.
A centralized configuration works well for organizations with multiple locations, with either online or Networked Attached Storage (NAS) providing nearly unlimited archiving. Features such as “Last Call Repeat” let the agent re-listen to the current call from the beginning, a critical factor since the caller may often communicate in a panicked manner.
Process improvement for emergency contact centers requires a versatile communications solution to facilitate agent training, improve response rates and operate in a secure manner. Redundancy ensures fail-safe operation, and compatibility with TETRA allows coordinated action.