Fire authority deploys flexible dispatch solution

Zetron Australasia Pty Ltd

Monday, 13 July, 2015

Fire authority deploys flexible dispatch solution

Taiwan’s fire department boosts its dispatch capabilities.

Rapid economic development can be both a blessing and a curse. While it can greatly improve opportunities for those who live and work in an area, it can also result in an increase in population that has a major impact on local infrastructure and services.

Agencies responsible for protecting the health and safety of a growing community must find ways to respond to these changes or fall behind in their ability to meet their responsibilities. Such was the case recently for the Hsinchu County Fire Council (HCCFD) in Hsinchu County, Taiwan.

To keep pace with the region’s growth, the HCCFD decided to replace its outdated communications equipment with Zetron’s MAX Dispatch system. Not only is the agency the first location in Taiwan to install MAX Dispatch, but the system connected to an 18-channel NEXEDGE digital radio network is providing the HCCFD with one of the most advanced and flexible public safety communications solutions in Taiwan.

Hsinchu County and Hsinchu Science and Industrial Park (HSP) in north-western Taiwan covers roughly 1427 square kilometres and has a population of about 500,000.

In recent years, the establishment of the HSP, which straddles Hsinchu County and Hsinchu City, has had a dramatic impact on the area.

Developed in 1980 to foster scientific and technological development, the HSP is one of the world’s key semiconductor manufacturing centres.

More than 400 high-tech companies established in the park employ approximately 150,000 people. In recent years, these companies have accounted for as much as 10% of Taiwan’s gross domestic product.

The economic development the HSP has brought to the area has resulted in an average population increase of 12% annually in Hsinchu County. This has put a strain on its infrastructure and public safety agencies, including the HCCFD.

The HCCFD provides firefighting, rescue, ambulance and military support services for 13 districts. Even before the county’s recent dramatic changes, the HCCFD’s ageing analog dispatch system was falling behind in its ability to support the agency.

“The system was unable to provide the scalability, logging reporting and IP-based functionality that were becoming necessary for the HCCFD to manage operations effectively,” said Gene Wong, Zetron Australasia’s country manager in North Asia.

Selecting a system

Taipei-based Systemcom proposed a solution to the HCCFD’s problem. The company had been providing and servicing the HCCFD’s equipment for over 10 years, so it understood the agency’s past needs, current pressures and future direction. In 2010, it suggested that the agency replace its existing dispatch equipment with Zetron’s IP-based MAX Dispatch system.

At first, the customer was reluctant to make the change because it would mean transitioning to a console manufacturer it had not used in the past. But the MAX Dispatch platform offered the affordable, next-generation, IP-based features and functionality the HCCFD was seeking, as well as the requisite integration to Kenwood’s NEXEDGE radio network.

After taking into account Systemcom’s recommendation, the HCCFD decided to purchase and install a six-position MAX Dispatch console system. A condition of the project was that the system would have to be localised to Chinese.

Two-stage process

The solution for the HCCFD was implemented in two phases. The first involved installing the MAX Dispatch system and connecting it to the NEXEDGE infrastructure. This phase went smoothly; the MAX Dispatch system integrated seamlessly with the NEXEDGE.

For the second phase, MAX Dispatch was expanded to include an additional position. This phase, too, went smoothly and routinely, and the project was completed in June of 2014.

Systemcom Manager Monika Tien said that the new system’s performance and features far exceed those of the system it replaced.

“It is also delivering many useful new features, including improved file tracking and an instant-replay feature operators can use to double-check anything they may have missed during a call,” she said.

“What’s more, the system is easy to learn, which reduces the time, effort and costs required for training. The fact that the system’s user interface has been localised to Chinese is also very important to the customer.”

The project has proved to be a great success for all of the parties involved, delivering the features, functionality and flexibility necessary for the HCCFD to rise to the challenges of growth and change. Because of this, the customer already has plans to expand the system over a LAN/WAN to create a multimode solution that will allow it to use MAX Dispatch at a second command centre.

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