INSIGHT

Proud to keep the blue light burning

For the emergency services and those who need them, speed is everything.

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Whether it’s a callout to a house fire, a new mum about to give birth or a serious road traffic accident, everyone benefits from a fast, efficient response.And that’s where we come in. Over the years we’ve gained valuable experience working with public sector organisations and have a deep understanding of the importance of inter-agency collaboration.

Ahead of the annual British APCO conference next week, here’s how we are helping local authorities and agencies work together – to the benefit of everyone.

Data transfer - in milliseconds

Our high speed network is proving invaluable to the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS), where 139 stations are working together to cut response times and share information. Covering a population of seven million throughout Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire, the Trust found its old BT N3 solution wasn’t fit for purpose, with an upgrade required to meet the demands of the region’s three 999 call centres and two data centres.

Our solution was simple – one superfast fibre network. Crucially, the Public Services Network (PSN) allows the Trust to collaborate with other services and organisations more efficiently within the PSN framework.

NWAS Data Centre Manager, Joe Richardson, said, “With the improved connection from Virgin Media Business we’re now able to collaborate and transfer our data between sites and data centres faster than ever before, in just two milliseconds. This is helping us make a difference to the service patients receive.”

“Working in partnership with Virgin Media Business, we will continue to meet future challenges for improving services, while maximising efficiencies and savings.”

 
 

One network for over 1200 sites

At the other end of the country, the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is reaping the benefits of the region’s Wide Area Network (WAN). It connects 52 fire service sites across the county, including the headquarters in Eastleigh.

With 40,000 emergency calls to the fire service in the county each year, the network means staff can access specialised systems to help them determine the fire risk before even leaving the station.

Head of Service Management at Hampshire County Council, Jane Stedman, said, “We need to make the best use of technology to reduce costs and sustain quality services. Working in partnership with Virgin Media Business, we will continue to meet future challenges for improving services, while maximising efficiencies and savings.”

Of course we’re facilitating collaboration in Hampshire too.

Head of ICT at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, Neil Moore, said, “We work with a whole host of partner agencies, including the Children’s Services at the county council, which means that security is an absolute priority for us. With the network everyone can be assured that all confidential information and data that passes across it stays secure.”

An opportunity to develop collaboration

A little further west, the Dorset, Wiltshire, and Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Services joined forces with us to speed up response times and make it easier to share resources. Their PSN compliant WAN gives 4,860 staff and 188 fire stations access to quick data transfer and digital telephone services.

Director of ICT at Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, Les Louth, said, “With budgets being squeezed the South West Fire Services had to look for ways to improve the ageing technology infrastructure, without breaking the bank. The network from Virgin Media Business contributes to and supports the opportunity to develop collaboration within the fire services. We’re supporting PSN services in areas such as common systems and applications, common standards operating procedures and data management. This is reducing the risk to the community and ensures the safety of our fire fighters.”

So as the BAPCO conference approaches, we are proud of the part we’ve played in improving collaboration between the emergency services and other agencies. We look forward to doing more and wish everyone well for the event.

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