by Jeremy Habberley, Director of Global Accounts, RapidSOS
Unsurprisingly, I’ve spent the last 18 months working from my home office with very little physical contact with colleagues, prospects, or customers but plenty of Zoom, Google Meets and communication via any one of a myriad of conference call platforms.
Then, suddenly, two live conferences came along at once, back-to-back, presenting me with the chance to meet up with people for some much-missed face to face conversations. Industry organizations, vendors, prospects, and existing customers were all going to be in attendance – what a great opportunity to discuss the RapidSOS solution and how we can connect the world to public safety.
The EENA conference in Riga was a new one for me, but BAPCO in Coventry the following week was well-trodden ground, and I was looking forward to seeing how some old faces had fared during lockdown and learning about the latest developments and trends in public safety. Some particular highlights from both EENA and BAPCO were:
Learning how new technology can help improve public safety with smart cities and the internet of things.
Hearing from Tony O’Brien, Senior Manager at Apple about their latest safety features that empower public safety
Re-engaging with our many partners, both in the UK and Europe, and discussing how we can collaborate, integrate and work together to enhance the emergency response.
It was also fantastic to hear from so many public safety professionals that additional, supplemental information during an emergency call is something they really want. I’m happy to report that both conferences were a huge success, and you could tell by looking around at the attendees that they were grateful to be sharing ideas, thoughts, and discoveries after so long.
Now that I’m back in the home office again and feeling even more energised about RapidSOS’s ability to help transform emergency response, I have some takeaways from both the EENA and BAPCO conferences to share.
Intelligence, not just data
Conference calls have their place, but nothing beats in-person conversations. We’ve been talking remotely to the UK and Europe’s emergency services over the last 18 months about the RapidSOS Platform, how it can assist with emergency response, and how it has saved lives in the U.S. where it is used by over 5,200 agencies. Any additional data sent to emergency services is fantastic, but when through our platform, you add context and insights does it truly become knowledgeable, actionable and impactful information. Similarly, a conference full of real people, with face to face conversations provides much stronger connections than those created remotely – with all that extra non verbal communication allowing you see how someone is feeling about what you’re saying you can provide really relevant, knowledgeable insights and answers.
Necessity is the mother of invention
Time and time again I heard that working practices in emergency control rooms have changed beyond recognition from those in place before Covid. While working from home for control room employees was previously rare or non-existent, suddenly there is a need to have systems and the infrastructure in place to enable complete flexibility for call handlers and dispatchers.
Having cloud based SaaS solutions, such as the RapidSOS emergency response data platform, a willingness to adopt new technology, and the confidence to challenge the status quo are fundamental ingredients in meeting the Covid challenge. Some agencies are taking this in stride. At EENA/BAPCO, Christof Chwojka of the Austrian Emergency Communication and Coordination Centre, moved to 100% remote work and he sees no reason to move back to the old model anytime soon. This is a great example of a control room adopting an open-minded attitude in leveraging new technology to help with emergency response. It would be great to see this flexibility and innovative mindset continue throughout public safety now that we’re returning to some normality.
Our Emergency Services are remarkable
Our emergency services are fantastic. Despite the huge, unprecedented challenges and staffing pressures they have faced over the past 18 months, the stories of innovation, new ways of working and invention have been amazing. The adoption of technology and solutions to ensure that, when an emergency number was called, the level of response was unaffected despite unprecedented hurdles has been incredible. At RapidSOS we want to continue to work with Public Safety to provide life-saving data that supports thousands of Emergency Communications Centers worldwide. Working together with our RapidSOS Ready Emergency Community, we are committed to solving the emergency response data challenge – to deliver the right data, at the right time, to ensure first responders have the information they need when it matters most.