From central command stations to in-field mobile devices, everyone has access to the same streamlined, visualized data
Public safety success stories all have one thing in common – the ability for trained personnel to have access to the right information at the right time. Seamless, streamlined communication is critical when lives are on the line. But all too often, data is kept locked in silos.
Alastar, a part of Advanced Technology International’s non profit organization based out of South Carolina, is changing that dynamic with its online situational awareness software designed to “improve the mission effectiveness of public safety agencies.” Alastar is supporting planning through its Incident Action Planning / Incident Command System capabilities and operational response activities for cities across the nation from South Carolina to West Valley City, Utah. This technology is also supporting non-emergency events including sporting events college football games, professional golf tournaments, etc), concerts and festivals for customers across the country in places such as Scranton, Pennsylvania and Kalamazoo, Michigan.
There are two main features that make the Alastar platform so unique. First, it can integrate any data deemed necessary in times of crisis as provided by the agency. Response personnel have instant access to a full range of data from traffic camera feeds to GIS mapping tools to in-field real-time reports to weather feeds to social media. Alastar feeds customer-provided data into its intuitive, easy-to-navigate interface that can be customized based on the user’s preference.
The other unique feature is that the software provides role-based permissioning so personnel from various agencies at various levels can have the information they need without the risk of over or under sharing. Teams format the federal, state, county and municipal levels can all log into a centralized information platform, enabling everyone to easily and instantly access shared information while also allowing personnel to focus on just the information relevant for their jobs.
Alastar’s philosophy is that the customer is always in control and so the customer has the authority to set all preferences and permissions. This allows agencies to negotiate and plan well in advance about who needs to access what information during a critical event. During times of emergency, the platform can easily flip from planning mode to critical response mode and provide access through easy-to-sign up protocols and deliver real-time data in the field. From central command stations to in-field mobile devices, everyone has access to the same streamlined, visualized data. Alerts via sms, email or the Alastar interface can also be set for automated alerts.
If it seems like this platform was designed by public safety and emergency management agencies, it was. Over the last decade, Alastar has been working and collaborating with its customers to develop technology tools specific to their unique needs. For example, Alastar was utilized as the planning and operational tool as part of the U.S. Coast Guard’s efforts to share intelligence across multi-state partners as part of Operation Shrimp and Grits in 2019 and more recently in August 2022. Efforts were streamlined across 62 law enforcement and fire vessels, 18 auxiliary vessels, two fixed-wing law enforcement aircraft, two auxiliary fixed-wing aircraft, five helicopters, four Civil Support Teams, an aircraft-mounted Mobile Detection System as well as a Transportation Security Administration surface inspection team.
Hundreds of personnel at all levels across multiple agencies have used Alastar to respond effectively and efficiently to planned and unplanned events. The result is reduced frustration, increased productivity and the opportunity to save more lives.
By Chelsea Collier, Editor At Large, Smart Cities Connect Media & Research