Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service and Police Utilise APD’s Hosted CORTEX SICCS System for Joint Communications Service

LONDON, 30th June 2011 – APD Communications, a global leader in mobile information, resource location/tracking and control room solutions, today announced that Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) and Wiltshire Police are using its ‘hosted’ CORTEX Software Integrated Communications Control System (SICCS) service. The joint agreement allows both organisations to counter budget cuts, share services and better support over 600,000 citizens throughout Wiltshire and Swindon.

The innovative hosted service enables Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) to share the Police telephony platform and gain access to Airwave’s full range of TETRA features for the first time, at a fraction of the cost of buying a dedicated ICCS. The Wiltshire FRS control room simply connects to the existing joint Fire/Police CORTEX system, which is partitioned so each emergency service has its own dedicated system, tailored for its specific needs. Sharing the same hosted system allows both emergency services to make significant savings. For example Wiltshire FRS can now use any CCI ports not being used by Wiltshire Police ensuring local citizens receive an improved level of service at no additional cost.

Discussing the deployment John Cox Firelink/Communications Manager at Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “The decision to deploy the joint service was a simple one. The hosted nature of the CORTEX SICCS service combined with the ability to share services will help us meet new budget cuts, secureROI quickly, while helping us improve the service we offer. The joint service will also help from a strategic level – providing senior officers within both organisations with access to a complete view of incidents that involve fire and police. In short, the deployment will ensure citizens throughout Wiltshire and Swindon receive a first class service.”

Wiltshire Police are able to make significant budget reductions by cutting the number of CCI (Command and Control Interface) ports they require from Airwave. The reduction is possible due to functionality within the hosted APD CORTEX SICCS system, which enables the inter-customer pooling and virtual reallocation of CCI ports between multiple organisations. Use of APD’s latest generation pooling technology is already saving Wiltshire Police over £100k per annum.

“Following the Government’s cancellation of the regional FiReControl room project, Wiltshire FRS looked at how best to modernise their operations to take advantage of the latest TETRA and telephony features, all within the current climate of budget cuts. The new-hosted joint CORTEX SICCS service allowsWiltshire FRS to upgrade the Devizes based control room to provide staff with a range of new services without the need for an expensive new system,” said Steve Denison, Managing Director at APD 

“The deployment will enable control room operators to conduct their duties effortlessly, while providing Wiltshire FRS with access to a full range of the latest SICCS services. In short, because CORTEX can be hosted in this way and because almost half of UK Police forces already have CORTEX systems, this collaborative approach can be easily replicated elsewhere, offering both Police and Fire and Rescue Services the perfect joint solution to ensure budget cuts do not affect the service provided to the public,” concluded Denison.  

The hosted SICCS system provides Wiltshire FRS with a range of Airwave TETRA features, previously only available to Police, such as: the ability to monitor, control and patch together multiple talk group channels, respond to emergency alarms, over-ride transmissions, receive status messages, DGNA and stun radio terminals. The product also allows operators to leverage the full range of control room telephony call handling functionality such as: ACD (Automatic Call Distribution), caller name, address and GPS location, conferencing, eavesdropping and the ability to take-over calls if required – ensuring incidents are managed as effectively as possible.

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