REDMOND, Wash. — Jan. 26, 2010 — The Tampa, Fla., police are no strangers to maintaining public safety in large crowds, managing some 800 planned events each year. So when the city was chosen to host Super Bowl XLIII in 2009, they knew coordinating more than 25 agencies and 1,500 local personnel would require a unified command system that gave them the power to manage resources, share information and make tactical decisions in real time.
Microsoft partner E●Sponder developed a central command touch-screen interface for Microsoft Surface computers. With it, public officials can quickly locate and zoom into trouble spots, and allocate the necessary resources to manage an emergency.
Microsoft and E•SPONDER, a Microsoft Gold Certified Managed Partner, delivered exactly what Tampa officials needed with a solution based on E•SPONDER’s industry expertise and the familiar look and feel of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. In the end, the technology helped Tampa police successfully manage the big game at a fraction of the cost incurred by local authorities in previous Super Bowl host cities.
The Changing Face of Public Safety
This week, at the Microsoft Worldwide Public Safety Symposium, Assistant Chief John Bennett of the Tampa Police Department and Robert Wolf, president and CEO of E•SPONDER, will showcase how Tampa police have used E•SPONDER technology to manage thousands of events, increase day-to-day efficiency and, ultimately, help officers keep Tampa safe.
“We’ve been using E•SPONDER since 2005 to manage events and emergencies of all shapes and sizes,” said Bennett. “With E•SPONDER, we are able to implement a solution that connects local security efforts, emergency management, Homeland Security, and special event operations all in a simple, easy-to-use system. Thanks in large part to the Microsoft technology it’s built upon, E•SPONDER doesn‘t drive the department; it supports us, as good technology should.”
E•SPONDER’s solution replaces cluttered white boards and bulging three-ring binders with a collaborative online environment and central information repository designed specifically to meet the needs of first responders and public safety organizations. With E•SPONDER, organizations can track and visualize incoming information from multiple sources in real time while communicating with personnel in the field.
Public Safety at Your Fingertips
For Super Bowl XLIII, this dynamic collaborative system came to life in new ways. Working with Infusion Development, E•SPONDER and Microsoft developed a central command interface on the touch-screen Microsoft Surface interface, which gave the incident commander a visual and tactile dashboard to navigate through information, communicate with personnel and make executive decisions quickly and effectively. Because of the interoperability built into Microsoft’s technology, this integration of data, visualization and functionality took only weeks to bring to Microsoft Surface and is now available on other Windows touch-screen devices.
“The touch-screen mapping capability is ideal for high-impact situations where you don’t have time to reach for a mouse or key something in,” said Gary Christmann, commissioner of the St. Louis City Emergency Management Agency, which used E•SPONDER to manage the 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. “Being able to touch the map, zoom in with it and see information about a situation is key to making smart, rapid-response decisions.”
Familiarity in the Field
E•SPONDER’s solution offers the familiar look, feel and operation of popular Microsoft Office products – minimizing the time necessary for training and increasing efficiency in the field. If an officer can use Microsoft Word or Excel, he or she will have no problem learning how to navigate E•SPONDER. Eliminating basic training and usability hurdles allows for rapid deployment of E•SPONDER’s solution and makes it more likely that personnel will take full advantage of its offerings.
“Whether it’s on Microsoft Surface, a laptop or PDA, having our solution built on SharePoint Server technology has given us an unparalleled level of speed, flexibility and, perhaps most important, intuitiveness,” said Wolf. “When public safety is at stake, simply having a comprehensive solution isn’t good enough. People have to quickly learn how to use it and be able to apply that knowledge in the field during an emergency situation.”
Founded as Convergence Communications in 2000, E•SPONDER has helped advance event and emergency management techniques for some of the nation’s most notable cities, federal agencies and events. Organizations of all sizes have used solutions developed by E•SPONDER to collaborate and communicate during events such as the World Series, presidential debates and Super Bowls. E•SPONDER’s solution was also selected by Wisconsin Emergency Management as its statewide emergency management solution, by the Tampa Urban Area Security Initiative as its regional response portal, and by Save the Children as its worldwide crisis management platform.
Today, E•SPONDER and Microsoft are bringing their innovative approach to public safety collaboration to organizations around the world. Beginning in 2007, E•SPONDER began adapting its solution to fit the needs of emergency management and first responder organizations outside of the United States. To date, they’ve deployed their solution in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Iceland.
Looking Toward the Future of Public Safety
E•SPONDER is looking to find additional ways to support first responders and emergency management personnel in the field. Backed by Microsoft software and devices, the company is dedicated to helping move public safety into the 21st century and beyond.