Emergency crisis response service
Cisco (www.cisco.com) and IBM (www.ibm.com) recently collaborated on an emergency response service that mixes consultancy services with rugged voice and data communications systems designed to restore enterprise and government network systems during crises.
“We’re not connecting systems; we’re connecting people,” said Bob Browning, senior manager of tactical operations at Cisco Systems. “So what we determine — on a case-by-case basis — is what a person or an organization needs to accelerate the velocity of the recovery.”
Once the individual needs are determined, a technical team creates a remote communication package that includes both hardware and software tailored to those needs. Each platform consists of commercial, off-the-shelf hardware and software from IBM, Cisco and other vendors.
One offering is a compact tactical communications kit — a suitcase-sized kit designed for rapid deployment. The kit comes armed with a broadband global area network (BGAN) satellite terminal for establishing a broadband regional area network. For large-scale disasters, a team deploys to the scene via helicopter or in a four-wheel drive vehicle to set up the BGAN or a medium-scale network, and then contacts a centralized tactical operations center where IBM staffers determine what is in the supply chain and what additional resources are needed to restore communications.
Public safety can use the system to connect radios for interoperability as well, Browning said. The companies offer a command network emergency response vehicle, which is a six-wheel truck that delivers a large-scale network to deliver communications and information-based services. It includes a system that connects VHF and UHF radios — as well as cell phones, IP phones and PCs — to create a virtual talk group.
“Command and control then can communicate what needs to be done on the ground,” he said.