Zetron IP dispatch system reduces screen clutter
Zetron this week will introduce an end-to-end IP telecommunications console system dubbed Max Dispatch at IWCE 2011 in Las Vegas. The trade show portion of the exposition begins on March 9.
One of the key features of the Max Dispatch system is a streamlined user interface that reduces the clutter that appears on the dispatchers screen at any given time. Only the most pertinent information related to a specific incident, job function or task appears on the screen; additional info is sent to the background, but is accessible at the click of a mouse.
“The goal is to streamline the processes and steps that they need to go through in order to do their jobs,” said Jill Hostetter, a Zetron product manager. “We want to present only the information needed to do that job, but allow them easy access to additional information when it is needed or desired. We’re trying to eliminate information overload.”
Typically, dispatchers have “every single radio channel and circuit” displayed on their screens, according to Hostetter, but they might only need to focus on one or two of those for their particular job function. “So, Instead of forcing them to stare at a sea of function buttons, we’re presenting them with only the information they need for their primary job, but letting access those secondary features that are in the background.”
Such a capability will become even more important when 911 emergency centers migrate to next-generation broadband systems that potentially could bury call-takers and dispatchers under an avalanche of additional information that currently is not available to them.
“As more and more data become available to the dispatchers, they will need to know what to do with that. Just to throw it on the screen in front of them doesn’t help them do their jobs,” Hostetter said. “In fact, it actually could hinder them in being able to respond quickly to an incident.”
System administrators are able to lock down the system in order to control what appears on the telecommunicators’ screens. But it also can be unlocked to give call-takers and dispatchers flexibility to move or resize screen elements to their preferences.
“The dispatcher also would have the ability to add or remove channels [when in unlock mode] if they need quick access to something, perhaps if they need to watch someone’s channel when they’re taking a break,” Hostetter said.
In engineering the system, Zetron integrated certain key functions, such as patch and transmit, with the channel button.
“Everything travels right with that channel button,” said Laura Myhre, a Zetron marketing manager. “We received input that people didn’t want to go three, four, or five clicks deep on a screen to get where they needed to go — they wanted to do everything in one or two clicks, and they didn’t want to search all over the screen for what they needed to find. This saves them time and reduces errors.”
Zetron’s IT-EZ application makes things easier for system administrators by enabling auto-configuration of IP parameters within the local network, which reduces IT labor and system conflicts. Also, a built-in “health monitor” tracks system performance.
“We didn’t stop with trying to do things better for the dispatchers,” Hostetter said. “We also tried to make things better for the people who have to maintain these products, so they can see things easier and know where the problems are in the system quicker. That results in less down time and makes it easier to maintain and service the system.”