What is Interoperable Communication?

Interoperable communications is the ability for multiple agencies or organizations to send and receive messages and collaborate during an incident.

Real World Interoperable Communications Example:

Imagine this scenario, there is a large hurricane building off the coast in the Atlantic Ocean and is projected to make landfall in 48 hours. First responders, local and federal government and everyone in the path of the storm are put on warning to shelter in place or in some cases evacuate the area entirely. The agencies responsible for life safety in these situations include: local fire departments, local police, Coast Guard, state police and federal first responders to name a few. Now imagine if these organizations did not have a way to collaborate together to solve problems that occur on the ground. This would lead to duplicative work, confusion between agencies and put people in danger.

With an interoperable communication solution, such as AtHoc Connect, organizations involved can communicate with each other in a fast, secure and reliable way to ensure the safety of people and property. These organizations have the ability to both send and receive rich and time sensitive updates in a secure environment between multiple agencies in real time to ensure the safety of the public. Now the local and federal first responders can collaborate on the execution of evacuation plans. In addition, once the storm passes these same agencies will need to collaborate to ensure strike teams respond to people, and pets caught in the damaged buildings and flooding.

Interoperability Demands:

  • Department of Defense Interoperability Mandate (DoDI 6055.17)
    • Interoperability requirements of equipment, communication systems, and other EM capabilities are improved through interagency collaboration
    • EOC ensures interoperable communications that support Service Component's first-responder ... and with civil authorities
  • DHS Interoperable Communications Act HR 4289
    • Charges DHS Undersecretary for Management with developing "policies and directives to achieve and maintain interoperable communications among the components of the Department" utilizing information technology systems and radio communications systems to exchange voice, data, and video in real time, as necessary, for acts of terrorism, daily operations, planned events, and emergencies

The Impact of AtHoc Connect:

AtHoc Connect is a feature rich module that allows agencies to build and maintain a global directory of all outside agencies and organizations they need to communicate with in critical times. Every organization in the network is fully vetted by BlackBerry AtHoc to ensure authenticity and once a connection is established can be integrated into their existing BlackBerry AtHoc Crisis Communications Platform.

This enables cross agency communication on a secure and stable platform without the need to maintain a rolodex of individual contacts at other agencies. This matters because crisis happens without warning and at all hours of the day. If one contact is not reachable, that could significantly delay and sometimes derail interoperable communication. AtHoc Connect approaches this pain point by establishing a secure channel into an agency where on duty security managers will always receive critical communications and be able to collaborate across multiple organizations in a secure and simple interface.

Smart City Approach:

Crisis does not happen in a vacuum. When an incident occurs, an entire city is impacted including local and federal agencies, public and private organizations and the nearby community.
When an incident occurs such as a leak at a chemical plant or rolling blackouts organizations have a need to communicate with neighboring businesses as well as the community to share critical information such as severity of the incident and any actionable items that people need to take to ensure safety.

With organizations connected in a secure environment what was once a manual process to connect with every agency and organization is reduced down to one simple and seamless platform.
Additionally, once information is received through AtHoc Connect, safety managers and operators can now take action to alert and account for their people in the impacted area. If first responders are needed the communication channels are open to relay what type and where support is required. By having a clear understanding of where first responders are needed it allows all agencies involved in an incident to maximize their time and ensure the community is protected.

Additional Features of BlackBerry AtHoc

Alert: AtHoc provides a comprehensive crisis communication and mass notification solution that unifies all channels and devices, empowering organizations, people, and communities to communicate and collaborate during critical events.

AtHoc is certified by Department of Homeland Security for its level of security. It has flexible deployment options that safeguards your important personal information and enables enterprise-level command and control across your widely dispersed enterprise.

Collect: AtHoc Collect empowers your personnel in the field to be the "eyes and ears" of the operations center. It enables on-scene personnel to report events, work progress, along with rich geo-tagged media that are worth a thousand words.

Individuals can also feel safe knowing that they have a discreet way of alerting emergency personnel anytime anywhere. With a swipe of a button, the exact location and status will be transmitted to the appropriate personnel for a more effective response.

Account: Federal agencies have an obligation to safeguard their workforce and create a resilient security infrastructure. AtHoc Account helps federal agencies by delivering an automated, efficient, FedRAMP-authorized solution to account for people in real-time.

In addition to supporting federal agencies, AtHoc Account allows all sizes of organizations to account for 100% of their personnel during critical events. Secure, multimodal alerts from a centralized operator with rich information and response options gives management transparency around issues such as IT outages and local community incidents such as fire alarms and extreme weather.

  • Observations from New England Home Care Conference
  • DHS Interoperable Communication Act – Now Signed!
  • Secure Crisis Communications in Airports: Best Practices to Create Interoperable Networks
  • Unintentional Active Shooter Drill Goes Well in San Diego
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