Hexagon unveils HxGN OnCall portfolio capable of working in the cloud, serving Tier 2 and Tier 3 911 centers
Hexagon this week launched its HxGN OnCall portfolio, an integrated suite of offerings that is designed to help 911 centers accept and process multimedia, enable cloud-based deployments, and make the company’s solutions accessible to Tier 2 and Tier 3 call centers, according to a Hexagon official.
Kalyn Sims, chief technology officer (CTO) of Hexagon’s safety and infrastructure division, said that Hexagon’s traditional Intergraph Computer-Aided Dispatch (I/CAD) product is a strictly on-premise solution that included key proprietary features and typically was only practical for the largest 911 centers. The OnCall platform is able to work in a next-generation-911 (NG911) environment, and it is much more integrated and flexible than I/CAD, allowing Hexagon to expand its market for potential customers, she said.
“We built OnCall to be much more modular, so we could give much more flexibility in pricing, so that our customers could just license what they need and add on optional modules for special functions, whereas, with our previous products, it really was an all-or-nothing type of approach,” Sims said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “This way, we can focus on all tiers of the market, as opposed to just Tiers 0 and 1, because we have a lot more flexibility in letting them kind of pick a la carte what they need.
“It’s also much simpler to administer and configure. This brings a lot of benefits, because our customers can apply product updates as they’re rolled out, and it’s not going to be impacting the customization of workflows or specific things that an agency needs. They’ll be able to apply the updates as they’re rolled out, and they’re not going to have any costs or disruptions of having to rework their customization.”
HxGN OnCall’s portfolio consists of four product suites that can be deployed together or independently: Dispatch, Analytics, Records and Planning & Response, according to a company press release.
“Hexagon is shaping the future of public safety by empowering agencies to be more agile and responsive,” Hexagon President and CEO Ola Rollen said in a prepared statement. “HxGN OnCall is putting data to work to deliver connectivity, collaboration, and intelligence for safe, resilient cities and nations.”
Featuring an “intuitive” browser-based user interface that can be accessed in fixed or mobile environments, OnCall is available in three primary models: as an on-premise solution, operating in a cloud environment run by the customer or operating in a cloud environment managed by Hexagon—an option that increasingly is being requested, particularly by Tier 2 call centers, Sims said.
“I know that when I started on this OnCall designing probably four years ago, I heard over and over again, ‘Public safety is not going to want to put their data in the cloud,” Sims said. “I was like, ‘No, it’s coming, and we’re going to need to be able to do it.’ And guess what? It is here, and we’re getting a lot of requests from customers and interest in moving to the cloud, and I’m seeing it in RFPs.
“Now, what we’ve done is we’ve created the ability to let each one of our customers determine how they want to go on the cloud-adoption journey. It they want to start on-premise, that’s absolutely no problem. When they’re ready to go to the cloud, they won’t have to start over again, because—with all three of those options—they all use the same code base. We don’t have one version for on-prem, and one version for managed service. It’s all the same code base.”
In addition to these three primary models, Hexagon also can support a hybrid approach for customers using the OnCall platform, Sims said.
“Maybe an agency doesn’t want to put their CAD in the cloud, but—with Big Data analytics and wanting to take advantage of the compute power and the storage of the cloud—if they want to have their analytics in the cloud, that’s not a problem,” she said. “We can do a hybrid. We can have their CAD and records on-prem and pop their analytics up in the cloud.”
OnCall is designed to ensure that existing I/CAD customers can have a smooth migration via a software upgrade to the new platform—at whatever pace the customer chooses, according to Sims.
“We know I/CAD will be around for a long time,” Sims said. “We’re certainly not abandoning it—it’s very important to us, it’s important to our customers. That’s why we call the latest version of I/CAD our gateway to innovation, because we have made many of the OnCall capabilities available to the I/CAD users.”
OnCall includes support for multiple map providers, so customers will not incur extra costs associated with transforming map products from third-party vendors like ESRI to Hexagon’s proprietary mapping format, Sims said. In addition, OnCall platform can allow call centers to lower costs by subscribing only to the features they want—and avoid paying for capabilities that are not needed, she said.
Upgrading to the OnCall portfolio means that customers can expect more software upgrades and that implementing them will be easier and less expensive, according to Sims.
“Because we’re on a newer technology stack, we’re able to increase the frequency of releases,” she said. “Before, our customers would see a new release of I/CAD every 12 to 18 months, which is a long time in today’s world of technology—we’re used to getting updates on our smartphone every other day.
“We’re able to do much more frequent releases, so they’re going to get new enhancements constantly.”
Looking ahead, Hexagon plans to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning techniques into the OnCall workflows to help aid the decision-making process for call-center personnel and first responders, Sims said. The company also plans to have the OnCall portfolio contribute to a larger safer-city vision, she said.
Hexagon hopes to have both of these initiatives available in the market during the first part of next year, according to Sims.