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IBM Helps City of Fort Worth and Tarrant County Create a Smarter Public Safety System 2011.06.02

Armonk, N.Y., USA - June 02, 2011 - IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced it is helping Texas emergency responders in Fort Worth and Tarrant County's joint emergency operations center (JEOC) better respond to calls for help and communicate instantaneously with dozens of agencies and departments across that state. New emergency response system helps improve efficiency and deliver better services to citizens.

IBM Emergency Response Center.
Fort Worth and Tarrant County are two of the fastest growing jurisdictions in Texas with about 1.8 million residents. Using social software from IBM and its business partner, UnifiedEdge, the region is rapidly creating a "smarter" and modern public safety system to serve its growing population.

Courtesy of IBM
 

Armonk, N.Y., USA - June 02, 2011

IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced it is helping Texas emergency responders in Fort Worth and Tarrant County's joint emergency operations center (JEOC) better respond to calls for help and communicate instantaneously with dozens of agencies and departments across that state.

Fort Worth and Tarrant County are two of the fastest growing jurisdictions in Texas with about 1.8 million residents.

Using social software from IBM and its business partner, UnifiedEdge, the region is rapidly creating a "smarter" and modern public safety system to serve its growing population.

Effective emergency response requires multiple government and non-government agencies working together.

Smarter Cities on a Smarter Planet.
More than half of the people on Earth live in cities, and urban populations are projected to double by mid-century. Every city is unique, but their leaders face many similar challenges - most of which call for exceptional creativity and innovation to resolve. Economic pressures are reducing available funds needed to deliver expected services. Global competition for funding, energy and talent requires municipal leaders to do more with less. Aging and inefficient infrastructures can tie up resources and create waste throughout city operations.
Courtesy of IBM
 
With the new social software, RadioConnect™ for Sametime, Fort Worth and Tarrant County's JEOC can communicate with public service agencies including police, firefighters, healthcare providers and government officials to address emergency situations and other events.

The new software helps emergency management integrate push-to-talk radio, cellular telephony, and text messaging (including text documents and file sharing), with the response center's IP telephony infrastructure to coordinate immediate response and aide regardless of the communications technology being used.

Smarter Cities on a Smarter Planet.
As centers of business, culture and life, cities are logical places to integrate many of the Smarter Planet principles and innovations: smarter education, healthcare, water and energy use, public safety, transportation and government...to name a few. By using these tested approaches, cities can manage growth and development in a sustainable way that increases prosperity for everyone.
Courtesy of IBM
 
"The City of Fort Worth and Tarrant County are using social technologies to solve real problems and emergencies," said Jeff Schick, vice president, social software, IBM.
"The ability to quickly locate issues and find expertise, especially with agencies that don't regularly interact, is vital for creating cities that are smarter, more responsive and safe."


Social Software Powers the Super Bowl and Beyond


The new social software was put to test in February 2011 when more than 40 agencies and departments helped the City of Fort Worth and Tarrant County to manage security-related tasks for the week leading up to Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Participants from the 40-plus agencies included city and county departments, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the American Red Cross and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

"Smarter Cities on a Smarter Planet: Driving sustainable growth and prosperity through the strategic use of technology" recognizes the challenges that city leaders face.
Proven solutions and new technologies for data management and resource coordination can help transform city systems to make best use of funds and talent. The demands of keeping cities viable for their inhabitants can be less daunting when the working with the right tools and innovative ideas.

Courtesy of IBM
 
The contact list of more than 290 officials and constant availability of more than 30 Radio-over-IP channels provided instant communication and awareness across all levels of government and emergency management resulting in physical security and improved public safety.

A massive winter storm, unusual for the area, had struck the Dallas-Forth Worth region the week prior to the big game.

The emergency response center responded to the crisis by calling for full activation of the new center three days earlier than scheduled.

IBM Institute for Business Value. Smarter cities for smarter growth.
Courtesy of IBM
 
With minimal training and familiarity of the recently installed software, the coordinating departments and agencies began assessing the emergency and setting priorities to tackle the issues.

Despite the weather, the new social software helped the emergency response center coordinate all of the activities surrounding the Super Bowl with minimal delay, including planning, operations, logistics, city management, and community services.

"We now work hand-in-hand with county and state public safety organizations during emergency situations and events like the Super Bowl to communicate faster and more efficiently with field personnel and public safety agencies," said Juan Ortiz, Emergency Management Coordinator for the City of Fort Worth's Office of Emergency Management.
"Our new command center is now highly organized and the residents of Texas are safer thanks to the collaboration with IBM and UnifiedEdge."

The Tarrant County Office of Emergency Management agrees.

Radio Connect for Sametime allows companies to leverage their existing Unified Communications environment to reach all users in their given communication enterprise including push-to-talk (PTT) with mobile radio users.
Courtesy of IBM
 
"We can easily gather information, find the persons or agencies most appropriate to help and respond, and quickly direct them to exactly where they are needed," according to Melissa Patterson, Emergency Management Coordinator for the Tarrant County Office of Emergency Management.

Emergency management facilities typically use hundreds of radios, which increases background noise and mis-communication due to radio interference.

RadioConnect for Sametime allows operators and employees to receive radio calls directly from desktop computers, virtually eliminating these issues.

Sametime instant messaging software allows users to communicate with an individual, group or team.

RadioConnect provides the group communication capability of IP-enabled radio directly into IBM Sametime or over a network or internet portal.

Smarter Cities on a Smarter Planet. Driving sustainable growth and prosperity through the strategic use of technology.
Courtesy of IBM
 
"The social software will help the JEOC improve response times during emergencies, while saving tens of thousands of dollars on equipment costs," said Steve White, CEO of UnifiedEdge, an Austin-based IBM Advanced Business Partner.
"It allowed the municipality to use past investments – radio equipment, PBX platforms and email systems – to further increase ROI."

RadioConnect for Sametime has been validated as part of the IBM Government Industry Framework and has been ported to the IBM collaboration solutions software stack for government-specific applications.

RadioConnect supports multiple deployment configurations, including WebSphere Portal and has built-in voice platform features such as group call and alerts.

IBM Sametime with RadioConnect will continue to be fully deployed throughout the county in the coming months.

For more information about this social software from IBM and Unified Edge, please visit

http://www.unifiededgeinc.com/radioconnect.html  


About Smarter Cities:

For more information about IBM Smarter Cities initiative, visit

www.ibm.com/smartercities  


About Social Business Software:

For more information about IBM Social Business Software, visit

www.ibm.com/social  


Contact information

Hanna L. Smigala
IBM Media Relations

(720) 342-5343
smigala@us.ibm.com  


Source: IBM

http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/34645.wss  



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