Critical Comms: NSW RFS chooses subscription-based video solution

RFS-LogoThe NSW RFS has implemented a virtual video collaboration system to connect staff and members across the state.

The NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) has selected the Polycom RealPresence One video collaboration solution to enable seamless, real-time communication between 900 staff across the state and thousands of 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% of the 800,000 km2 of the state’s fire and emergency services. Headquartered in Lidcombe, it has 87 offices and more than 70,000 members, including volunteers, firefighters, operational and managerial staff, located across NSW.

As an existing Polycom customer, the NSW RFS previously used traditional, hardware-based video solutions to communicate and collaborate across the state. To further enhance these solutions, the decision was made to take advantage of the flexibility and scalability of the virtualised Polycom RealPresence One solution.

Polycom RealPresence One is a comprehensive offering that combines the complete Polycom RealPresence Platform on a subscription-based model.

“We were attracted to the Polycom RealPresence One solution because of its scalability, high availability and redundancy. Given the highly critical nature of our organisation and what we do, we need to have 100% uptime, 24/7. If the system goes down, people could be stranded and lives could be at risk,” said Ashley Van Amstel, manager, IT, at the NSW RFS.

“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.”

The introduction of the virtual solution has enabled the NSW RFS to extend its video capabilities to mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, significantly increasing the organisation’s ability to offer video to its entire member base.

Further, the availability of ‘bursting packages’ enables the NSW RFS to easily scale up their number of licences as required, particularly during emergency situations when more people require video capability.

The interoperability of the solution means the NSW RFS can seamlessly interact with other emergency services who may have different unified communication solutions, such as the SES and NSW Fire.

In addition to emergency planning and response, the NSW RFS actively uses video to provide members with training. Instead of travelling to headquarters in Lidcombe, members can remain out in the field, ready to take action if needed in the event of an emergency.

January 14, 2015 12:35 am Published by

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