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VARs team up for disaster recovery

Microsoft channel partners join forces to develop the Joint Emergency Planning and Response System

Two Microsoft partners, Infusion Development, and Catalyst Capabilities International (CCI), have teamed up to bring their Joint Emergency Planning & Response System (JEPRS) solution to the Canadian marketplace with promises to provide real-time information and collaboration capabilities to its users.

The new disaster recovery software solution was just announced earlier this week in Canada by Infusion Development, an IT-related service consulting and developing company headquartered in New York, as well as by CCI, a security and crisis management consultancy firm based in Perth, Ont. As per request, the Kelowna, B.C. Fire Department was the first to have this system up and running since last fall, before its Canada-wide release.

The solution, based on servers and applications that run on Office does not have a high learning curve, said Bill Baldasti, director and practice manager at Infusion.

“From a technical perspective, [JEPRS] acts like any other application based on Microsoft technology,” Baldasti said. “From a deployment perspective, we’ve had [JEPRS] up and running live in just four days time.”

JEPRS is a solution that offers users results in real-time, uses GIS technology to enable on-screen collaboration and also allows users to automatically connect with other individuals who are involved with incident reporting.

Craig Sisson, director of public safety & justice at Microsoft, says in the past, collaboration capabilities were uncommon features with many disaster recovery software solutions.

“[This] hasn’t really been prevalent with emergency response systems,” Sisson said. “Using JEPRS, we’re enabling first responders to collaborate with one another cross agency and cross jurisdiction.”

The technology behind this solution is built upon the Microsoft product suite on the dot net framework. Using JEPRS, users can take advantage of the intuitive user interface, real-time map collaboration and real-time alerts, notifications, reporting and communications.

Chief Rene Blanleil at the Kelowna Fire Department in Ontario, outlines what the fire department was looking for in a disaster recovery management solution.

“When it came to emergency management, we wanted to recreate mapping and critical infrastructures in our operation centre. What we struggled with before was getting access to critical information in real time.”

According to Baldasti, JEPRS is a user-friendly solution since it also features a built-in five-minute-long training video for individuals who may not know how to use it.

From a financial standpoint, Sisson also says this is an accessible solution for many Canadian municipalities.

“We will continue to bring opportunities to smaller municipalities to enable their emergency management organizations to become more accessible and effective,” Sisson said.

Omar Rashid, solutions specialist of public safety and justice at Microsoft, also echoes this statement by inviting other partners to help further enhance this solution.

“We’re hopeful that other partners will eventually come onboard to join the application platform,” Rashid said. “We’re welcoming other partners the chance to provide complimentary solutions to what [JEPRS] already provides. It’s an open architecture so it’s pretty flexible.”