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Matrox Extio Remote Graphics Units selected to drive South Africa’s first single-call Emergency Service Center Print E-mail
Friday, 21 December 2012 08:34

Residents of Cape Town, South Africa have long been accustomed to using standard telephone numbers when directly contacting ambulance, fire, police, or traffic service providers. With more and more tourists visiting the city and plans to host major international events, including the world's premier international football event, the City of Cape Town soon realized that it was unrealistic to ask visitors to remember the various emergency numbers. The solution: Cape Town’s new 1-0-7 Public Emergency Communication Center, South Africa’s first single-call Emergency Service Center. Matrox Extio F1400 units drive four-monitor emergency service operator stations at 1-0-7 Emergency.

The Cape Town Public Emergency Communication Center, or 1-0-7, receives and qualifies all incoming calls, efficiently transferring them to the nearest emergency service provider. The service provider then determines what type of response is required and dispatches the appropriate personnel, vehicle, and equipment resources to where they are needed. Currently, 1-0-7 holds 18 emergency operator stations with an additional six positions in a dedicated training center, which can be used to bolster the Communication Center in the event of a major incident.

The Challenge

With the expected influx of football players and fans descending on South Africa for the June 11th tournament kick-off, 1-0-7 identified several key areas for improvement within their service center infrastructure. Of primary concern was the design of the operator workstation. First, the physical desktop was quite busy: a Compaq PC—occupying the back corner of the desk—was plugged into a minimum of five user peripheral items, while a backup emergency phone, map book, and telephony interface boxes accessorized the remaining desk space. Clutter wasn’t only reserved for the physical desktop though, as 1-0-7 Emergency managers noticed operators were having difficulty interacting with the numerous emergency-related programs on a single monitor. Multiple applications within the limited onscreen space required re-sizing windows or tiling them over other applications—taking away valuable time from the actual emergency call.

In addition to the workstation design issues, 1-0-7 Public Emergency Communication Center managers felt they could upgrade the Emergency Center’s security standards by better protecting the Compaq PC workstations. Managers were concerned about the potential security risks of operators having full access to manipulate, modify, or even tamper with a system.

The Solution

After collaborating closely with Matrox, the City of Cape Town determined that the Matrox Extio F1400 Remote Graphics Unit (RGU) was the right tool to simultaneously address both their workstation design and security requirements. Placed securely in a naturally ventilated mesh wire cabinet in the operator desk, the Extio units at each of the 18 primary positions power four displays, a mouse, and keyboard, while the Extio units at each of the six training stations drive two displays. The Compaq PCs that used to sit at the operator desks have been replaced by new Lenovo M58p high-end workstations, which are now housed in HP 42U server rack cabinets, accessible by IT personnel only. Extio extension technology allows all workstations to be mounted in secure,HP 42U rack cabinets.

"The Matrox Extio’s feature set matched perfectly with what we wanted to accomplish here at City of Cape Town’s 1-0-7 Public Emergency Communication Center," stated Jeremiah Phillips, Head of Technical Support, 1-0-7 Emergency. "Four monitors allow the emergency communicator to have all programs visible and a mouse click away—including call-taking, mapping, call playback, agent assessment, call center management, e-mail, and office applications. The Extio also allowed us to lock down the workstations, eliminating any and all security concerns expressed by the IT and Service Center managers."

The Result

Matrox Extio technology has helped upgrade all emergency service operator workstations to a more practical multi-monitor platform. Operators can now multi-task more efficiently on the larger onscreen workspace, while managers have reported faster transfer rates from incoming call to service provider. City of Cape Town’s 1-0-7 Public Emergency Communication Center is also pleased about the increased security features afforded by the extension technology, as it provides a more secure, and more ergonomically-organized emergency center infrastructure. Above all, these improvements ensure that 1-0-7 is providing the best emergency service possible for both local and visiting football enthusiasts alike! The Matrox Extio F1400 RGU solution allows us to render a more efficient service," claims Phillips. "Now, with the daily call volume expected to rise from 3000 to 5000 calls during the football tournament time frame, we feel comfortable knowing that we’re optimally prepared to handle all of these inquiries, whether it’s to protect lives or property." [www.matrox.com]

 

Last Updated on Friday, 21 December 2012 08:39

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