Steljes talks collaborative technology with US police chiefs

Technology pioneering organisation, Steljes, has been taking its message about the use and benefits of collaboration technology within Command and Control and operational planning scenarios to police forces overseas.

Malcolm Stewart, Public Sector Business Manager for Steljes, the exclusive distributor for SMART Board™ interactive whiteboards (IWBs) in the UK, recently presented a paper on the use of SMART Board interactive whiteboard technology at the Association of Public Communications Officers Conference in Baltimore in the United States.

The paper comes just a few months after Steljes commissioned major academic research* into the use of SMART Board interactive whiteboards in policing within the UK. Conducted by AIMTech, Leeds University Business School's research group, the report examined the effectiveness of interactive technology in emergency planning, command and control and briefing scenarios in line with the National Intelligence Model (NIM).

Stewart's presentation in Baltimore took the form of a scenario that looked at the use of collaboration technology in accelerating the decision-making process within an emergency situation, providing faster build-up of a common operational picture, and reducing instances of misunderstanding between those involved in the management of an incident.

Steljes built the scenario around an incident in the Baltimore harbour area, looking at how SMART Board interactive whiteboards can help decision-makers aggregate the knowledge of their team very quickly and blend this into the process; at the same time helping decision-makers access and utilise complex data sources such as mapping software, GIS (Geographical Information Systems) and CADS (Computer Aided Dispatch System) packages, making briefings more relevant, effective and efficient.

The presentation also looked at how data conferencing systems, like Bridgit™ from SMART Technologies, can help Public Safety agencies share critical information securely throughout their command and control structure.

Steljes' Stewart was delighted with the response from audiences in the US, and felt the timing was just right: "Post-Katrina, the US market is in the process of massive reorganisation and the Command and Control structure is broadening and changing rapidly making this type of technology more relevant then ever before. We had a really positive response and I think both markets can learn a lot from one another."

Steljes is working with a number of emergency services organisations, including Essex Police and Hampshire Fire & Rescue, as well as Belfast International Airport where SMART Board interactive whiteboards have substantially improved the Airport's command facilities and created links between command centres.

The company also exhibited at the recent BAPCO conference and exhibition at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London.

* 'SMART Board interactive whiteboard Use in Policing: Intelligence briefing and Strategic Command & Control Communications', 2007

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