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      Published Feb 07 2017, 4:13 PM by Clare McFarlane

      The importance of communication in disaster response has been widely acknowledged. However, humanitarian organisations face a number of complex communication challenges – both within their own operations and when collaborating with other emergency response, military and public safety agencies. These challenges span all aspects of a relief effort – from planning and early warning systems to response, rescue and recovery.

      The unique needs of geographically-dispersed aid workers and office-based teams – all of whom have different responsibilities – have resulted in a wide array of communication devices and disparate networks. Meeting these varied needs and contexts while managing communications across a global operation can seem an impossible task that requires tremendous technical sophistication.

      But it’s not as impossible as you may think: aid workers can use their preferred device to communicate securely across any IP network with any other device – and do so in real time, seamlessly.  That’s what Motorola’s WAVE Work Group Communications solution is designed to achieve – easily, flexibly and without distracting users from the task at hand.

      Removing the Technical Barriers to Integrated Communication

      WAVE Work Group Communications is a software platform and suite of applications that removes the technical barriers to secure, instant communication across any IP network. It supports media and dataRemoving the Technical Barriers to Integrated Communication streams across an IP network, providing users with a consistent experience, regardless of which device they’re using, their operating platform or their location. As such, WAVE provides a reliable and common source of information that has been tested across battlefields and in the aftermath of natural disasters.

      By connecting their disparate networks to WAVE’s Push-to-Talk (PTT) platform, humanitarian agencies can communicate seamlessly between smartphones, radios, computers or landlines. WAVE unifies massively complex communication environments to transform co-operation both within the organisation and amongst external agencies.

      Let’s consider some examples of how this could benefit humanitarian operations. Field workers could alert trucks transporting aid about roads which have been destroyed, enabling them to adapt their routes and minimise delays. The location of each vehicle can be tracked using GPS, helping logistics managers to determine how long it will take for aid to reach victims and providing greater security for remote aid workers.

      Office-based personnel can communicate via their desktop computers with rescue teams who are using two-way radios at the site of a disaster, collecting vital information about the scale and extent of damage while those who are out of the office can stay in touch using their smartphones. And rescue workers can collaborate with local emergency, police and even military personnel securely via pre-configured channels.

      In this way, WAVE allows all parties to keep up to date on events spontaneously and in real time, improving the co-ordination of operations for the benefit of all concerned, while respecting organisational autonomy.

      Adaptable, Affordable and Easy to Use

      Because every team has its own unique needs, WAVE is designed to provide the flexibility to adapt to different requirements without adding complexity.

      The Dispatch Communicator provides advanced IP dispatch capabilities at a fraction of the cost of traditional hardware-based systems. It only requires an industry-standard PC to display and process unlimited channels of secure, encrypted media at the click of a mouse.

      WAVE’s Desktop Communicator is a customisable, scalable, feature-rich dispatch console that supports multiple extensions, conference calling as well as presence and location mapping capabilities.Adaptable, Affordable and Easy to Use 

      WAVE Mobile Communicator extends PTT to Android and iOS smartphone users, as well as speciality devices like Motorola’s LEX L10 Mission Critical LTE Handheld, so they can communicate with two-way radio users and other users over broadband networks.

      Already in widespread use with government, military and commercial organisations, the WAVE Mobile Communicator operates via any 3G, 4G, LTE, public Wi-Fi or private data connection. It offers humanitarian workers instant, always-on, robust push-to-talk capability with integrated mapping, group and private call functionality.



      A fundamental difference between WAVE and other communication systems is its peer-to-peer architecture. The absence of a controller or traffic manager in the middle reduces the likelihood of network latency or single point failures.

      Sharing Reliable, Accurate Information Enhances Inter-agency Co-operation

      A solution such as WAVE can greatly enhance the efficiency of complex operations such as logistics and supply chain management by improving collaboration and streamlining the capture and sharing of information, providing immediate access to data or media and connecting users at the touch of a button.

      It makes integrated communication both within an organisation and between external agencies seamless. The ability for humanitarian agencies and first responders to share reliable and accurate information systems using the devices best suited for the task at hand, regardless of which network they’re operating on can make a major difference to disaster response and to the safety of personnel.

      Equally important is the fact that this can be achieved without the technology distracting attention or becoming too cumbersome to manage.

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