Here’s How Interoperability Improves Situational Awareness and Life Safety

This blog post explores how the technology trend of interoperability improves emergency alerting, response management and life safety.

So far we’ve looked at convergence and mobility as part of our blog series on technology trends and life safety. Today, we examine interoperability. 

In any given facility at any given time, multiple life safety and security systems are at work. However, they usually operate independent of one another, in silos, and unmonitored systems generally only provide local alerting in the form of buzzers, lamps or annunciation panels. A fire alarm goes off when smoke is detected, but it doesn’t tell you where the fire is or where the nearest exits are located so the safest evacuation route can be determined. But today’s smarter networks and devices, plus the right software to tie all of them together, makes it easier and more cost-effective than ever to create a safety and security bubble over a single facility, wide-area campus or entire enterprise. 

With expertise in computer-telephony integration and robust middleware, disparate alarm and communication systems work in concert to ensure that key personnel, select groups or entire populations receive specific information about an unfolding situation and how to respond — or avoid it. Therefore, existing alarm and communication systems don’t have to be ripped out and replaced. Legacy technology investments can be unified and sometimes expanded to ensure critical information reaches on- and off-site responders or other audiences based on predefined protocols, or modes and actions (e.g., if this, then that).

Interoperability takes a facility from reactionary and piecemeal to strategic and holistic in terms of emergency alerting and response management.

Inefficient, stand-alone alarms are converted into detailed alerts delivered to the right people on the right devices so they can address an unfolding situation in the right way. Any life safety or security alarm also can be video-enhanced, adding another level of specificity to alerts. Video paging through security camera integration enables live video to be pushed to desktops and mobile devices. Video will be a game-changer for both awareness and analytics – think about the possibility of using facial recognition to determine whether someone is supposed to be in a certain area or not, and whether they’re recognized as a staff member, legitimate visitor or intruder. 

The world’s communication infrastructure has moved from rudimentary to super charged.

Communication has evolved from radios, handsets and pagers to smartphones and tablets; this evolution creates a proliferation of screens for sharing information to keep people safe. Being able to read, hear and see what’s happening in and around an organization enables the right things to be done in response. Then response times and protocols can be analyzed to identify problems and improve safety compliance. 

Gas explosion, armed intruder, tornado, terrorist attack – these types of events prove the need for right-now awareness. Of course, no one wants to believe that an incident with mass losses will happen, but what if it did? Knowing the environment and what could be dangerous in and around it can reduce impacts and enable faster response. Automated situational awareness as a result of alarm and communication system interoperability/integration creates time to prevent and/or respond to any number of potential safety threats.This blog post explores how the technology trend of interoperability improves emergency alerting, response management and life safety.

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest