When Every Second Counts, Count on VMware

Nov 13, 2014

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by Geoffrey Murase, Solutions Marketing, End-User Computing

I recently visited Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue (TVFR) near Portland, Oregon to film a video case study documenting the innovative ways they’re using VMware desktop virtualization technology.  They had initially used desktop virtualization to simplify management of desktops in their office but they quickly found other use cases, as well.

The IT team at TVFR found that the device of choice for their fire chiefs are iPads which were being used primarily for email and web browsing. However, when it came to accessing the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system which delivers information about emergency incidents, it was a Windows application which had to be run on a Windows computer. Fire Chief Michael Kinkade would often have to go to a fire truck or other apparatus to access the Windows laptop that was mounted on the dashboard in order to lookup the status of incidents. This was not only inconvenient, but also added precious time to his response to emergency situations.

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Since adopting VMware desktop virtualization technology, he now accesses the CAD application at any location using his iPad or mobile phone to more quickly assign the right resources to emergency incidents. In addition to mobility, Fire Chief Kinkade and his team experience other benefits as well:

  • Cost savings: The old way of accessing information required that a Windows laptop be mounted on each emergency vehicle ranging from different size fire trucks, to boats, to helicopters, at a cost of six to eight thousand dollars per apparatus. Now, with mobile access to virtual desktops, each first responder has an iPad that they can just carry with them on the vehicle assigned to an emergency incident.
  • High availability: Fire Chief Kinkade also explained that with the old system, if his team was responding to an emergency situation and the laptop mounted on the apparatus failed (e.g., blue screen of death), by the time the laptop rebooted, they would be on scene already.  With iPads and virtual desktops, it’s a much shorter reboot time in order to get back up and running if a problem occurs.

Another important use case for TVFR is delivery of real-time information to public affairs officers. These public affairs officers are responsible for disseminating information to the public, the press, and government leaders. They are often on the scene of an incident and have to remotely access data and applications quickly in order to give out accurate real-time information (e.g., the status of a car accident that can affect a commute). Using a virtual desktop helps them get the right information more quickly in a more organized manner.

We thank TVFR for their hospitality during our video shoot and hope that sharing their story will encourage other first responder organizations to explore using technology to better serve and protect their citizens.

See the video case study here.

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