Discover how our cloud-based solutions are helping under-pressure emergency services to manage demand and protect their investments in control room solutions.
Public sector cuts since the financial crash of 2008 have placed a real strain on emergency services. The Fire Brigades Union has lost 20 per cent of its funding and there are 10,000 fewer firefighter jobs since 2010, while the police in England and Wales has 18,000 fewer officers now compared with in 2010.
As a consequence of reducing budgets, IT teams in these sectors have been forced to retain legacy technology in a bid to reduce costs, often keeping old systems functioning and integrating mixed estates.
Impact to the control room
These bigger challenges to the emergency services inevitably impact on the operations of their critical control rooms. For example, police control rooms have felt the effects of forces’ budgets dropping by as much as 20 per cent in the five years between 2010 and 2015*, despite the evolving threat of cyber attacks and an increase in 101 calls.
Finding a solution
In response to these challenges - that is, restrained budgets and increasing demand - the emergency services have started working smarter by taking advantage of the latest technology, enabling effective and efficient service delivery. At the forefront of innovation, we've created a cloud-based control room solution that is flexible, scalable and, most importantly, doesn't require large capital investments - which is one example of how we can enable more effective and efficient working practices in the bluelight sector.
A journey of critical innovation
Here at APD, we develop critical control room and location technologies that enable emergency services to communicate more efficiently in 999 situations. Over 57 per cent of UK police forces already use our control room technology and ten forces use our cloud technology.
Two years ago, we began a journey in reducing proprietary hardware in favour of open-standards software, and in 2016 we launched the world’s first hosted control room solution in Sweden. This innovation was crucial in preparing for the new Emergency Services Network (ESN); a 4G mobile network that the emergency services will use to replace the costly Terrestrial Trunked Analogue Radio (TETRA). Since then, we've gone on to develop our fully hosted control room solution, a cloud-based data and communications platform that offers benefits including cost savings, greater flexibility and improved security.
A flexible solution
Based on a subscription model, the hosted control room is a flexible solution with a monthly licence for each user in the control room. Charged per user, per month with no additional costs for upgrades or support, the hosted control room allows organisations to economise their on-premise equipment and only pay for what they need.
Mike Isherwood, our Managing Director, said: “Technology is a big enabler when it comes to doing more with less. With fewer people, the emergency services have to look for look for efficiencies in how they operate. Technology can provide those efficiencies, but it has to be cost effective. Cloud computing is at the heart of this, providing organisations with a much smaller and manageable infrastructure footprint, as well as affording them the flexibility to only pay for what they use.”
“Centralising technology in the cloud means access to the latest technology and features, easily flexing up and down with demand, and managing the way you work from a secure online portal. This is instantly more cost effective and efficient for both the supplier and the customer.”
Security and reliability
The benefits of cloud-based services are not only financial. With hosted control solutions, the headache that comes with upgrades are a thing of the past. Managed in the cloud, upgrades are seamlessly rolled out to the control room without any downtime.
"Delivering a cloud-based service enables us to gather new requirements quickly and deliver them promptly to all the organisations that offer emergency services, without the need for costly site visits or upgrades", says Mike.
There’s also unrivalled security and reliability thanks to UK Cloud, a dedicated cloud-provider to the UK Public Sector that ensure APD’s solutions are optimised for OFFICIAL and fully aligned to the 13 NCSC Cloud Security Principles.
Mike explained: “The cloud is an important asset to the emergency services. As well as its low cost, it is more secure and scalable, easier to manage, and they can take advantage of the latest technology quickly.”
A new approach to collaboration
“Public safety organisations are now becoming much more comfortable using cloud-based technologies, which I think will free things up considerably. In terms of the feedback we get, the most important thing for them - alongside security - is that the servers are in-country and that they own the data. There has to be a host of disaster recovery plans in place as well.
“Ultimately, what we’d like to see is a national platform allowing different organisations to share information between each other according to local agendas. For instance, a police force in Yorkshire could receive a message saying that the Metropolitan Police Service would like to access a particular record, which they could then accept or deny. They all need different applications and technologies, but that doesn’t mean they can’t share a national platform.”
“As a UK-based development company, we will continue to gather new requirements from our customers. We are working closely with the Home Office to produce the latest technology too, and we are looking for joint development partners within the emergency services so we can continue to develop world-leading technology."
Find out more
To learn more about how you can leverage the latest technology to unlock a flexible, secure and cost efficient solution for your control room, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arrange a demo
To see our technology in action, get in touch to arrange a demo. We'll also be sharing more about our latest hosted control room solution at the annual BAPCO show on 20 - 21 March 2018 - if you'd like to book a meeting, you can get in touch at email@example.com.