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Proposed ASEAN disaster response centre in Singapore could benefit from UCC tools

Zafirah Salim | May 26, 2014
Videoconferencing solutions enable government agency representatives and citizens to communicate and be informed, especially during times of emergency.

Real-time video conferencing and immersive telepresence between those in the field and other responders, plus decision-makers, helps everyone involved better understand an emergency situation as it is happening. When both time and accurate information are of the essence, video collaboration can be a key tool for the effective handling of any crisis, be it a typhoon, earthquake or terrorist attack. Emergency responders who can see for themselves what is happening — even if they aren’t physically present — are better armed with knowledge than those who are reporting from other sources. They can achieve situational awareness, which allows them to better plan an effective response.

4.    Recovery and Reconstruction Stage
After an emergency, initial care and early triage can be helped by accurate communication from those in the field — which can be made easier when all involved can collaborate in real time via video. In addition, valuable evidence can be collected and preserved through video, which can help determine the cause of a crisis, methods for its possible prevention and ways to improve future response. Officials armed with information can better coordinate an ongoing response to any disaster or public security situation, whether it is transporting victims to available medical service providers, arranging for the rebuilding of damaged infrastructure or coordinating the re-establishment of public works.

To date, which other countries have adopted Polycom’s videoconferencing solutions to assist with disaster relief efforts?

Our solutions have been adopted by several organisations in various countries. The Oklahoma National Guard in the United States of America is one such organisation that uses VC solutions for their training as well as helicopter assisted search missions, where a video feed is relayed from helicopters to officers on the ground and in the mission control centre.

Taiwan also uses Polycom’s solutions extensively to help with disaster readiness in Kaohsiung. Mayor Chen Chu, of Kaohsiung uses the Polycom network to assess preparations for Typhoon season across 38 districts in the city.

Another example would be Jeollanam-do province in Korea, which comprises of 2,000 islands. With so many dispersed teams, responding to emergency situations can be a daunting task. Back in 2007, Jeollanam-do implemented Polycom video solutions to assist with administrative purposes and high level conferences. However, the province soon discovered the need for greater collaboration between dispersed colleagues, when responding to emergency situations. With the video network in place, public officials were able to initiate a rapid response in an emergency wherever they may be located, which has helped to accelerate decision making and enhance overall workflow.

What pitfalls would Singapore and the rest of ASEAN likely face whilst setting up a disaster relief coordination centre; and how can they be overcome?


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