NENA 2019 - Cloud Aided Dispatch has Arrived

By Reinhard Ekl

NENA 2019 was an important conference not just for RapidDeploy, but for the entire public safety industry. In this blog post, RapidDeploy’s COO Reinhard Ekl shares his reflections on the last few days in Orlando, FL.

The National NENA conference is always my favorite show of the year. It’s when 9-1-1 industry thought leaders come together and discuss trends, issues, and innovation in public safety communications. All industry vendors show off their newest technology which sets the tone for the rest of the year. Most importantly, it’s a time to meet old friends, customers, and partners – and to make new ones.

This year’s show was quite revealing in terms of where this industry is moving. While poor Steve Raucher was laughed out of the room by the vendor establishment just two years ago for showing a fully cloud-based CAD, there is no doubt that the “Cloud” has arrived in 9-1-1. There were numerous educational sessions that highlighted the transformative capabilities of cloud technology, and even the large legacy vendors are now announcing that they are (or will be) working on developing cloud solutions. Some might think that this poses a threat to RapidDeploy, but it’s quite the opposite: it validates our approach and gives our customers the confidence that they are making the right technology choices for the future.

There’s a Cloud floating above NENA

There’s a Cloud floating above NENA

The other theme that I observed is that there is a stronger push for transformative innovation in the industry. While last year was focused on a singular issue (location accuracy), this year we’re seeing a much broader range of topics being discussed. Whether it’s integrating social media and other additional data into the communication center, or the changing role of the Telecommunicator in a data-centric world, it is abundantly clear that we’re living in exciting times. What’s even more exciting is that our customers and partners are at the forefront of leading change and thinking ahead!

Budge Currier (Cal OES), Jim Lake (Charleston County), Kirk Arthur (Microsoft), Brian Fontes (NENA) and other innovators discussing the future of 9-1-1

Budge Currier (Cal OES), Jim Lake (Charleston County), Kirk Arthur (Microsoft), Brian Fontes (NENA) and other innovators discussing the future of 9-1-1

This year’s NENA was also the beachhead of RapidDeploy’s transformation to focus on the US market. While Steve flew in by himself from South Africa two years ago and occupied the very last tabletop at the end of the vendor hall, this year there is no doubt that RapidDeploy is here to stay. Our carefully assembled US team that consists of known industry leaders and innovators showed up in full force and had the booth to match it. We weren’t just able to demo our products but could also show case studies of how our solutions have been successfully deployed at scale here in the US. 

The proud RapidDeploy US team with Steve Raucher, CEO of RapidDeploy

The proud RapidDeploy US team with Steve Raucher, CEO of RapidDeploy

Finally, NENA 2019 was also a great opportunity to display the strength of the partner ecosystem we are building. Representatives from Samsung were in our booth, showcasing the new DeX integration with RapidDeploy. Being right next to the booth of our partners from AT&T, we were able to give the industry a chance to connect the dots in terms of how our solutions create a bridge between NG911 and FirstNet. We were very fortunate that representatives of our partners from Microsoft, AT&T, Samsung, Priority Dispatch, Esri and RapidSOS were kind enough to give brief presentations on the important work we do together in our presentation theater in the booth.

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Above: Our partners showcase their solution and participation in the RapidDeploy ecosystem.

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Lacey McDaniel