BK: Welcome back to HxGN RADIO. My name is Brian. Thank you for joining us today. I am here with Rod Martinsen, who is with Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure. Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure’s technology is changing the way agencies respond to both planned and unplanned major events. In today’s episode, we will be discussing Intergraph’s Planning & Response platforms and its ability to help manage and help streamline public safety concerns in real time. Rod, thanks for joining me today.
RM: You’re welcome. Glad to be here.
BK: So, let’s start off. Just tell me a little bit about Intergraph Planning & Response. What is that all about?
RM: Well, Intergraph Planning & Response is a new product that we have that helps agencies manage major events—and oftentimes we’re talking those events being planned or unplanned events—but what the software does is it allows agencies to do all phases of a major event, whether it’s planning for it; so in a pre-planning phase, you get all your tasks and ideas and things that you want to do, and your organise them. We give you a tool to organise them in a better way. Then, when that event happens, then you can pull the plan off the shelf, or in our case you pull it out of the software and what we call a template, and you activate that plan. In there, in that plan, it then tells you what is it that you have to do, as well as you can add ad hoc to continue to add on to the plan to make it better. Then, to finish out the phase, you can then take what has been entered for that operation and do what they call an after-action plan, or report, saying, what did we do, how well did we do it, what do we need to improve to make it better? That’s what Intergraph Planning & Response gives us, is that complete solution to walk through that whole phase.
BK: Why is something like this necessary? I mean, walk me though some of the problems that agencies have faced. We talked about unplanned events, for example. What sort of problems can agencies be having that this would necessitate a good solution?
RM: Well, unplanned events is kind of a misnomer, if you will, because many agencies plan for events that may occur or may not occur.
BK: Okay, okay.
RM: An unplanned event that is truly something that surprises you is that Intergraph Planning & Response gives you the tool to say based on some kind of a structure, and so there’s one called Incident Command System, which gives you a structure on how to deal with large-scale events like a flood. How do I deal with a flood? It gives you a structure saying you need to start with this incident commander and build a structure of people underneath him to deal with that. So an unplanned event can take just a generic template like that and then expand out, and then you continue to add; what is it I need this person to do, what is it I need this group to do, what has occurred? I can add remarks into the plan, saying, I did this status report, and this is what came out of the status report, and we need to remember that, so when we do our after action and we evaluate we’ve done. So agencies need this not only for what they plan—so a planned event is, like in a police agency, let’s say it’s something like a child abduction; something you hope never happens, but they have to plan for it.
They have to be able to respond to it, they have to be able to react, and they have to have a very methodical way of dealing with that so that they know that they’ve covered all their bases to try to recover the child. And that’s what Planning & Response gives us, is the ability to ad hoc something, or plan and put it into the back shelf. Many people pull a folder off of the shelf and flip the dusty pages to find a plan, or it’s just right there in electronic format.
Now, the best part of an electronic format is that I can then distribute this to many users, where if I have it in a bound book with paper, then I have to photocopy it and fax it, or I have to email it. Here, it’s all inside of the plan. They can then do their part. They can then say, this is what I’ve done. I started doing some part of my tasks, then I can tell you when I’ve done it, what I’ve done, and how I did it.
BK: That’s great, it’s good to have all those contingencies in place. You hear the stories. You hear stories of this didn’t get planned properly or we’ll get to it kind of thing, and we need to plan for that, or maybe like you’re saying, there’s so many layers of planning that goes into it. What are some of the consequences that you’ve seen that can happen if not done correctly?
RM: Well, that one’s kind of a difficult one to answer. I, myself, I don’t do the major Incident Commands; I’ve had the opportunity to work with an agency that ran a pilot with Intergraph Planning & Response to see how they did this, and part of their planning was is that you try to think of all the possibilities, but, of course, there may be something that happens that doesn’t. So what Intergraph Planning & Response gives you the ability is that you can always have sub-plans of things that may happen. For example, if we plan a major event, let’s say a parade that’s going to go on in a city, and then that parade starts, and then suddenly they find a suspicious package on the parade route. What do you do? Did you plan for that? Quite likely they do. They would have a plan for that.
Now, let’s say somebody fell off of a parade float, and they had critical injuries. Now, what do you do? Again, you can do ad hoc, and you can say this is what I’m going to do today, based on information given to me; or I’ve already thought this scenario through, and I’ll activate a sub-plan and start doing that and to continue on with that I’ve already done in my planning.
BK: Sure. I’ve seen some examples recently, even with some of our cities in Colorado, where these things consistently happen, and you go, wow, I kind of didn’t see that. Well, actually they did. They’d planned for it, and they had the contingencies in place, just like you’re talking about, so there’s definitely a huge value in this. I appreciate this. Very cool. Does Intergraph Planning & Response support different levels of command?
RM: Yes. In fact, the software is quite dynamic in that it has a role-based system built into it, permissions to do certain things. For example, is that one of the great parts or features of Intergraph Planning & Response is that we do have a map that can give you a situation awareness or, as they call it, a common operating picture, so the picture’s worth a thousand words. I can put this up on a monitor, and I can show you want’s going on, and so when I have something like the map, then I can give a person the ability to manipulate the map, but the next person next to it may not have that responsibility, so then they don’t have that role.
I can have a commander that says, “I need to have control of everything,” or he’s in control of a certain part and some sub-commanders, then they take control underneath him. All of it’s role based. All of it you can give the command, and you can divide it out. It’s not wide open, anyone can do anything, because you want to maintain the structure that you build on this, or a command structure, so that everything is done according to plan.
RM: It’s kind of a plan is done according to plan.
BK: I know. It makes sense though.
RM: It all comes down to saying, did I do things that will stand up under scrutiny whether that means I go to a court case or whether it’s an internal review or whether it’s some other kind of jurisdictional review. Did I do it right?
RM: Did I follow what we said we were going to do?
BK: Good, good. Yeah, that’s very important, of course, because you never know what somebody may ask at some point, so that’s excellent. What are some examples of how customers are utilising this in different ways?
RM: From the ones that I’ve experienced and the ones that we’ve talked about with over the last year is that there’s a lot of planning that goes on in it. I’m in the public-safety sector—so police, fire and EMS—and I’m from Calgary, where they had a major flood in 2013. They didn’t have Intergraph Planning & Response at that time, and it could have helped because it’s multi-agency, as well as it has the jurisdiction and it has the command and control, so that I could have brought all the agencies together, they each could have had their part of what they were going to do with the flood, and then each one of them could then say, I’ve accomplished this and this. The other agencies would then know. So, part of what we want to get them and say, how are you using this, is that multi-agency is very important. It’s always been a very big part of the Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure; our product set has been very multi-agency to help people bring things together.
BK: That’s great. All right. So what advice can you share as we wrap up? What advice do you have for agencies that are you looking for a solution like this to aid them in handling their next event properly?
RM: I had an experience a while ago where we had a guy—he worked for a police agency—he came to us and he said, everything that your Intergraph Planning & Response can do, I can do on a whiteboard. You kind of go, okay, that’s an interesting thought. A lot of people, when I walk into an emergency operation centre, is that they do have a whiteboard sitting there, and on the white board they have a command structure, and then they have a whiteboard with a map with magnetic units representing cars and trucks that they move around on the map. I said, you can do that on whiteboard, but the advantage of Intergraph Planning & Response, the planning and response, is that when you do it inside of our system, it’s time stamped and it’s audited. So when you come to do the after-action report, I can show you when the units moved in, when the units were positioned, what they were doing at that position and at what time. If you have that on a whiteboard, you can’t really do that.
So what I tell agencies, evaluate what’s important as you look at dealing with major events. What is it you’re trying to gain from it? Is it just good, get it over with; or is it learn from the experience, make it better, make your planning better, become a better agency at dealing with whatever you have to deal with.
BK: Very, very good. You’re going to get those objections. People are always going to try to say they can do it better. Anything else you’d like to share about this? This was great. I appreciate this.
RM: No. Like I said, I could talk forever.
BK: I love it. Well, thank you for putting this together. This is a great, great solution that you have, and thank you for spending time with us today. Appreciate it. Thanks for the information, Rod.
RM: Very happy to do that. Thank you.
BK: Absolutely. You can learn more information about Intergraph Planning & Response and its capabilities, all of that; please go to hexagonsafetyinfrastructure.com. And be sure to tune in for more episodes on hxgnradio.com. Or you can visit iTunes, SoundCloud, or Stitcher Radio; we’re there as well. Thanks for listening, and have a wonderful day.