Public safety agencies depend on their computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems to efficiently handle calls and deploy resources — but legacy CAD systems tend to be expensive and can be heavily dependent on IT-intensive infrastructure.

RapidDeploy, an Austin, Texas-based technology company, is taking a markedly different approach. Leveraging the power of the internet, RapidDeploy has developed what Steven Raucher, the company’s CEO, calls “Cloud-Aided Dispatch,” a feature-rich yet flexible product suite that seamlessly integrates with IP technologies and uses a patented internet of things (IoT) device to ingest information from legacy systems into the cloud.

The RapidDeploy suite of products are NG911-ready and provide real-time dispatching, live tracking and route optimization. With a new native Android application, RapidDeploy now integrates seamlessly with Samsung Galaxy smartphones and is optimized for Samsung DeX-in-vehicle computing. This combination provides a cost-effective, yet powerful mobile dispatch capability that would have been impossible to imagine just a few years ago.

Cloud-Aided Dispatch

According to Raucher, RapidDeploy allows agencies to leave the headaches (and resource drain) of legacy CAD systems in the past. Implementing a CAD system used to be a multiyear, multimillion dollar effort, and success was not assured. Many agencies have bought new CAD systems only to find that they came with high maintenance fees, intense demand on IT staff and limited capabilities imposed by the constraints of a design requiring significant on-prem infrastructure.

The best news: RapidDeploy offers a user-friendly, multiweek (not multiyear) implementation, and the rollout costs are often a fraction of what agencies have paid for on-prem CAD systems. This paradigm shift is made possible because RapidDeploy is cloud-native and uses a future-proof, open-API framework that allows close integration to third-party interfaces such as Priority Dispatch for Police, Fire & EMS.

RapidDeploy Solutions for Public Safety

RapidDeploy’s Nimbus CAD is the company’s flagship product and uses the Microsoft Azure cloud to provide a highly resilient and secure operating environment. It’s powered at the core by Esri GIS authoritative data and can quickly layer in live data feeds to provide tactical mapping and improve situational awareness. Two-way texting of messages is supported, allowing a much greater level of engagement with a 911 cellular caller. As an example, a link can be easily pushed via text to the caller and, once clicked, a live camera feed is provided from the caller to the dispatch center. The resulting video becomes part of the CAD call record and is automatically stored in the cloud. Cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) makes it possible to use real-time language translation for incoming and outgoing texts, or to leverage object recognition to categorize and describe images taken by officers in the field.

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RapidDeploy’s Edge Analytics is used primarily by 911 authorities and can ingest caller information from legacy systems by using RapidDeploy’s patented RapidDeploy Emergency Data Gateway (EDG) IoT device. Edge Analytics generates user-interactive reports that provide actionable insight by using both predictive and prescriptive analytic functions. AI supports enhanced statistical analysis and pattern matching through machine learning. Data dashboards and visualizations allow for real-time awareness of trends and performance issues in a communications center. All of this enables more informed decision making.

RapidDeploy’s Radius Mapping provides enhanced location capabilities that can result in finding and reaching callers more quickly. An incoming caller’s Automatic Location Information (ALI) and Automatic Number Identification (ANI), as well as supplemental handset-based location services, are displayed side-by-side for the call taker, providing a more accurate location and even updating the position of callers who are in motion in real time. Additional mapping-related data, such as real-time close-circuit television (CCTV), weather from DarkSky and traffic/incident data from Waze and TomTom can easily be reviewed and integrated to the call, allowing for a much greater level of situational awareness than traditional legacy, on-premise mapping systems can provide.

Supporting the Connected Officer

As noted above, RapidDeploy’s Nimbus CAD is fully compatible with Samsung Galaxy smartphones and is optimized for use with Samsung DeX, allowing agencies to replace their current in-vehicle computers with a CAD-enabled smartphone that is paired with a full-sized keyboard and touch screen display. Samsung DeX allows a single device — the smartphone — to fully support public safety operations whether in-field, in-vehicle or in the station. Personnel are no longer constrained by a computer that is bolted into a vehicle, thus providing information access regardless of assignment or proximity to a vehicle. Samsung DeX provides greater flexibility and overall capability at a lower cost than the traditional approach to in-vehicle computing.

Raucher is confident that his company’s approach to CAD will be a game changer — especially when paired with Samsung DeX. “RapidDeploy and DeX herald the future of mobility in public safety,” Raucher said. “DeX allows first responders to have a full keyboard and monitor in the vehicle and provides an improved user experience. This approach empowers the first responder. Whether in the car or in the field, they always have connectivity. It’s a fantastic leap forward.”

The new native Android application allows for creation of a CAD incident from the smartphone and leverages smartphone functions such as barcode scanning and dictated notes. The scanned items or dictated notes are appended to the relevant CAD incident record.

RapidDeploy’s partnership with Samsung will also include supporting CAD functionality on the Galaxy Watch, according to Raucher. “We believe that the connected first responder will have more freedom to operate in tactical environments via integration with IoT devices, such as the Samsung wearables,” he said.

Supporting First Responders and Updating 911 Centers

RapidDeploy understands the needs of public safety, because many of its key management personnel have hands-on first responder experience, including Raucher. The company’s ability to provide effective cloud-based mapping and analytics solutions for public safety was demonstrated recently when the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) selected RapidDeploy for a statewide enhancement of all public safety answering points, commonly known as PSAPs. In announcing the agreement, Cal OES noted that more than 80 percent of 911 calls in California are made from wireless devices, and said the project will help 911 dispatchers more accurately locate callers — even when the caller doesn’t know their location.

This initiative is part of a broader project to facilitate the state’s transition to NG911. According to Cal OES, “RapidDeploy’s cloud-native solution is easy to deploy, affordable and provides enhanced cybersecurity protections and resilience especially for large scale emergencies and uses data provided by the RapidSOS Clearinghouse.”

For more information about opportunities to leverage technology as a force multiplier, visit Samsung’s Law Enforcement solutions page. Department leaders who want to learn more about the advantages and capabilities offered by Samsung DeX should review the white paper, Bringing Mobile First to Public Safety.

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Dale Stockton

Dale Stockton is a 32-year-veteran of law enforcement, having worked in all areas of police operations and retiring as a police captain from Carlsbad, California. He taught criminal justice classes for more than 20 years and is the former Editor-in-Chief of Law Officer Magazine and Stockton is the founder of Below 100, an award-winning officer-safety initiative designed to reduce police line-of-duty deaths and has been involved in the presentation of the program across North America. Stockton is an accomplished technology practitioner and has managed major technology projects for public safety including personnel-locate devices and license plate recognition systems.

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