How Data Visualization Helps First Responders Prepare and Take Action
On the surface, emergencies seem to be completely random. You would think first responders have no choice but to be prepared, stay alert, and wait for the inevitable call about an auto accident, fire or medical emergency. In reality, when you combine historical data with real-time data about current conditions and scenarios, you can help personnel respond to incidents more effectively and even predict when those incidents will happen.
In other words, emergencies don’t have to be as random as they seem. Leaders from fire, police and EMS departments could open up their laptops and see predictions for the number of calls, types of emergencies, and estimated response times for the next 24 hours depending on weather, road conditions, local events, threats and other data. They could also receive recommendations about staffing requirements to handle the forecasted call volume. Data is visualized in charts and graphs, which are constantly updated as conditions change.
This is the value that real-time situational awareness and data visualization can bring to your emergency services.
The Role of Real-Time Situational Awareness in Emergency Response
Real-time situational awareness is the ability of first responders to understand and have visibility into their surroundings and potential emergency situations. This is achieved by integrating and analyzing data from sensors, scanners, video feeds and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices, as well as reports from personnel, to create a common operating picture. Once you understand the situation, you can control traffic signals, deploy personnel to direct traffic, and take other steps to speed emergency response.
The key is to integrate large volumes of data from a wide range of sources, automatically sift through the noise, and provide first responders with relevant, timely insights. This not only improves response times, but it can also streamline investigations after incidents. However, data needs to be in a format that allows for quick analysis, decisions and action. information overload can delay decisions, which is especially dangerous during a crisis situation.
Data visualization tools can transform analytics into insights by converting the most useful data into easy-to-understand charts, maps and graphs. Essentially, it provides a visual representation of information. After all, the human brain can distinguish and process different shapes and colors far more easily than letters and numbers. Data visualization makes it possible to not only see what’s happening right now, but also to better understand trends and recognize outliers so you can make faster, more effective decisions.
Cisco UCS: The Technology Foundation for Emergency Response
The Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) provides a solid foundation for big data and analytics. Cisco UCS integrates compute, connectivity and unified management features in a centrally managed, highly scalable system. This translates to faster deployment, predictable performance, and lower total cost of ownership.
Cisco UCS offers seven reference architectures that can be deployed in those configurations, or you can use them as templates for custom configurations. Public sector agencies are leveraging Cisco UCS as the foundation for real-time situational awareness and data visualization capabilities that aid emergency response services.