This week I’m at Disaster City, a 52-acre mock community at Texas A&M, for the Winter Institute 2014 Disaster Response exercise. The exercise, which is being hosted by General Dynamics C4 Systems and the EDGE Innovation Network, is giving U.S. government and first responders an opportunity to test their ability to communicate, collaborate and share information, while responding to multiple, simulated disaster scenarios. Among the capabilities they’ll be testing is the ability to share lifesaving data, including real-time video, to bring interoperability to the next level.
As a Texas A&M University ITEC Lab partner NICE is providing the Video Management capabilities for the event through its NiceVision solution which can manage video assets from a variety of sources, including fixed, mobile and tactical video.
During the set up for the exercise, I was fascinated to see how first responders use a lot of creative methods and platforms to capture video in a disaster, including robots, unmanned aerial vehicles, dogs and Aerostat (essentially a balloon or dirigible). Seeing the video projected on a video wall at the command post and pushed to the first responders, it also became very clear how such real-time capabilities not only improve situational awareness and interoperability, but can potentially save lives as well.