UC, First Responders and the Public Good

Unified communications is usually thought of in the context of business. The goals, generally, are to facilitate more productive and content-rich meetings, find and include folks who are in transit or otherwise indisposed and reduce travel expenditures.

By Carl Weinschenk | Posted Dec 8, 2009
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Unified communications is usually thought of in the context of business. The goals, generally, are to facilitate more productive and content-rich meetings, find and include folks who are in transit or otherwise indisposed and reduce travel expenditures.

UC, however, can bring great things to first responders and other emergency personnel, especially when core UC elements are buttressed with strong mobility functions. Presence and the bridging of multiple platforms and devices fit perfectly with what emergency folks' mandate.

Though it does not make as much news as business-oriented UC, there is activity in this sector. Yesterday, Agito Networks and Rivada Networks unveiled the Interoperable Communications Extension (ICE24). The press release does an adequate job of describing how the product, ICE24, enables the establishment of a rich communications platform at an emergency scene based on VoIP technologies.

Last week, Nortel Government Solutions, a company wholly owned by Nortel, agreed to resell the AudioMate360 IP gateway from VoiceInterop, which is owned by Cleartronic. NGS, according to the release, specializes in providing IT and telecommunications platforms to the government. VoiceInterop's AudioMate360 series devices transform all communications into Internet protocol. When integrated, the AudioMate360 and the Nortel AS 5300 telecommunications switch will form the WAVE Interoperability Solution.

The use of UC as the next stage of telemedicine -- an element of which is first responder activity – is described in this case study. Cisco platforms are used to provide medical services to the northern sector of Ontario. The story points out that this is quite a task: The population of the region -- which doesn't include the big cities near the U.S. border -- is less than 1.5 million people, but covers an area about the size of Texas and California combined.

The level of success UC will achieve inevitably is tied to how well it serves businesses. It's nice to know, however, that it also plays an important and growing role in safeguarding the public.

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