EMERGENCY SERVICE UPGRADES WITH POLYCOM
The New South Wales Rural Fire Service has selected Polycom’s RealPresence One video collaboration solution to enable seamless, real-time communication between 900 staff across the state and more than 70,000 volunteer members.
The subscription-based video solution provides uninterrupted communication in life-critical situations, enabling the NSW RFS to make faster decisions in planning and emergency situations and drive increased preparedness around disaster recovery. The deployment has also brought significant reductions in travel time and cost, helping the volunteer organisation save tens of thousands of dollars in transport allowances and accommodation.
The NSW RFS is the world’s largest volunteer fire service, responsible for 95 per cent of the 800,000 square kilometres of the state’s fire and emergency services. It has 87 offices and its members include volunteers, fire fighters, operational and managerial staff. The service previously used traditional, hardware-based video solutions to communicate and collaborate, but recently chose to upgrade to the subscription-based RealPresence One for its scalability, availability and redundancy.
“Given the highly critical nature of our organisation and what we do, we need to have 100 per cent uptime, 24/7,” says NSW RFS IT manager Ashley Van Amstel. “If the system goes down, people could be stranded and lives could be at risk.
“The virtual nature of the solution increases agility and resilience, providing us with better disaster recovery and easier backups for business continuity in the instance something was to go wrong. This provides us with the assurance that we will always have real-time visual communications between our teams, no matter what emergency situation that we face.”
With more staff and volunteers able to access video solutions, travel time is significantly reduced both in emergency planning and response, and in member training, Van Amstel says. The Polycom solution also means the service can extend its video capabilities to mobile devices, allowing emergency workers to connect more easily across the expansive region, and licences can be scaled up as required, particularly during emergencies.
“Polycom RealPresence One enables us to enjoy the full benefits of the solution on an annual subscription fee. This means we can upgrade our package based on demand, reducing total cost of ownership, which is always important for volunteer organisations like ours,” says Van Amstel.
The interoperability of Polycom’s solution further allows the RFS to interact with other emergency services, which may have different unified communication solutions, such as the State Emergency Service (SES) and NSW Fire, ensuring coordinated efforts across the state.
Polycom Australia & New Zealand vice president Paul Newell says the company Is seeing more emergency departments use the power of video across the region. “Virtualised solutions are highly attractive to such organisations due to the ability to provide 100 per cent uptime as well as flexibility in scale,” he says. “We are pleased to see the NSW RFS utilising the full capabilities our solutions have to offer, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the NSW RFS in the coming years.”
Source: media release
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