As usual the first day was structured primarily around presentations from Airbus Defence and Space and others. In addition, there were breakout sessions with Airbus DS staff demonstrating the core SAFEcommand products on a wide variety of hardware. Furthermore, there were demonstrations from our partners TomTom and Moditech, as well as stands for our sponsors such as Panasonic, Dell and Getac where delegates could interact with them and find out about their latest developments. Below is a list of this year’s key Day 1 sessions with a brief summary of what was covered:
1. Year in Review/Plans for the Future – Jonathan Waugh
Jonathan confirmed what we completed this year versus what we said we would do at the 2015 User Forum. We feel as though we achieved our main development goals, with our full suite of next-generation products available to all customers. The one target we didn’t quite achieve was getting a large percentage of you migrated to the new software. That remains an important goal for 2017. Jonathan also announced our key development targets for next year; you can find those in the section below in this newsletter.
2. Client Services Team - Paul Trewhitt and Ben Raffell
Paul talked about ways we are looking to enhance the service we offer and how we are continually reviewing the service we provide to improve as part of your maintenance agreements. Initiatives currently being investigated include 24/7 support and the extra functionality being implemented on the ScPortal, which Ben talked through in more detail.
3. ESN – Motorola
Motorola attended this year and their informative presentation provided an update on the current state of the ESN project, and gave a high-level technical perspective on the main changes and what Fire Services need to be thinking about in advance of the switchover.
4. Product Workshops
Introduced last year, the product workshops are fast becoming the highlight of the event. This year we had more demo kit than ever at a User Forum enabling us to showcase all of our SAFEcommand software and even an Incident Command prototype! Large screens were positioned to allow delegates better visibility of Airbus DS demonstrations of software running on tablets and laptops, and the variety of stands from our event sponsors meant delegates were able to see their latest products and services on offer. While this is a popular section of the event, we appreciate it can still be improved further and we will be taking on board your feedback regarding this session for next year’s event.
5. ScGuide & Mobile Data Evolution – Dave Dixon
In this session Dave described our new product ScGuide, which provides a mobilising solution for an Android enabled TomTom Bridge device (see more on ScGuide in the section below). This presentation also covered how we have developed ScResponse and ScGuide, so that they are very closely linked; therefore, implementing functionality into one is easier once it’s been implemented in another (Modular Application Framework). Dave also discussed possibilities in the near future such as taking advantage of new device features (camera, audio and other sensors) and the potential greater network performance provided by ESN.
6. Gateway Reporting – Thomas Brooks
This was a short session aimed at priming interested parties for a round table discussion on the second day of the event to determine what value could be added to the data passing through the Gateway. It was about generating ideas and requirements from the delegates on what else they want the Gateway to do for them.
7. Guided Stop Messaging – Surrey Fire
Kevin Noble from Surrey Fire and Rescue was kind enough to volunteer to talk about the way they are implementing STOP messages using our Guided Messaging functionality, allow Surrey Fire to move away from voice transmissions. Kevin described the challenges they faced and the benefits of moving to this method, including collection of data for IRS. This session generated a lot of discussion between delegates at the event.
Slides from these presentations are available on ScPortal.
Day 2 enabled smaller groups to focus on specific work streams. We had presentations from Steve Lewis, Kent Fire Services & Greg Edwards, Bucks Fire for the users of our Hydrant Management software, whilst at the same time in a different room; we discussed our own plans relating to ESN compatibility and answered your questions relating to that project from our perspective. Other sessions included installation workshops, discussions on a ScCapture Inspection workflow and separate roadmap sessions for key work streams, where we asked delegates to let us know what they want to see from the products over the next few years.
One of the key benefits of this event is the opportunity to see so many users in the same place for a couple of days, and as usual much of the positive feedback we received mentioned client networking opportunities and the ability to discuss challenges and opportunities with others from around the country in the same industry.
Thanks again to everyone who attended and contributed to the event, and we hope to see you next year for our 20th Annual User Forum.