Mobile broadband and distributed computing, coupled with industry-wide standardization efforts, can transform emergency response. At the same time, ICT architecture and consulting frameworks have the potential to create truly mission-critical, multi-agency platforms that enable effective communications and information sharing.

For example, consider an organization with the mission of saving lives from fires. One of the capabilities required is to coordinate the response of all other agencies involved in providing support in an emergency. This capability is supported by a range of systems. Each of these systems could be implemented separately – however, ICT allows these systems to share resources and be integrated in a way that increases their effectiveness.

In other words, the process of developing effective ICT-based solutions starts with architecture – and construction of the architecture needs to start with the mission the agency is required to perform. In turn, every mission rests on a hierarchy of needs – from capabilities and systems to people, processes and tools. Agencies need to assess how ICT can transform each stage of this hierarchy.

Once the architecture begins to take shape, other aspects of the design can begin to be considered, so a complete picture of the solution can be formed. These include factors such as affordability and ease of implementation, which should lead agencies to embrace solutions based on open standards.

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