Chief Information Officer

VP of Technology at West Safety Services Discusses New Trends in Emergency Services

Chandy Ghosh, VP of Technology at West Safety Services [unable to find link], talked about the critical role of supporting emergency services nationwide.

Ghosh began her presentation at the 2016 CIO Leadership Forum held in Los Angeles on January 26 by stating her company’s mission: to deploy highly reliable safety networks and systems based on data management of critical information throughout the entire emergency response continuum. West Safety Services is in the business of saving lives, she said, so everyone in the company must be passionate about this mission. The culture is “all about helping each other at work.”

West supports the delivery of three million 9-1-1 emergency calls a year and delivers more than 40 million next-generation (wireless) 9-1-1 calls. It has 15 years of running IP networks in 50 states, and provides 9-1-1 voice, data, or call-handling equipment to 90% of the PSAPs (public safety answering points) nationwide.

Every U.S. county has a PSAP. West manages that full network of systems as well as the infrastructure in three data centers—creating a triple redundancy of safety, Ghosh emphasized. West routes each 9-1-1 call to the appropriate center with all necessary information. The PSAP dispatcher receives all the data about the situation as well as the services needed for response. This is the company’s oldest business (1980) and core strength, said Ghosh. West has few competitors because of the complexity of this service.

“What’s the first thing that can’t be accessed during calamities like Katrina?” asked Ghosh. “Communications—because everyone is using the same network during these crises, and first responders can’t get through.” The federal government recently sent out a Reliability Order to address this. All 9-1-1 service providers must have critical 9-1-1 redundancy and circuit diversity for ALI, voice delivery, backup power, and diverse network monitoring. The First Net program was initiated for this need. The FCC sent out the first RFP in January 2016, noted Ghosh, and the biggest primes all bid. Because West leads the way in defining the standards, all five big primes want to partner with her company, which is a huge opportunity, she noted.

“What’s the first thing that can’t be accessed during calamities like Katrina?” asked Ghosh. “Communications—because everyone is using the same network during these crises, and first responders can’t get through.”

West IT supports wireline, mobility, and government solutions. About its wireline business, Ghosh remarked. “We don’t make our money through PSAPs but through communications providers (AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, and 31 more), almost all of which outsource to us.” Mobility (wireless, VoIP, satellite) is West’s major growth market.

“We don’t make our money through PSAPs but through communications providers (AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, and 31 more), almost all of which outsource to us.”

“We offer a Cloud service called Beware that has feeders into all the social media that we have agreements with,” said Ghosh. The Beware service pulls data whenever an emergency call or text initiates, starting with the location of the incoming call or text, stated Ghosh. “Then we immediately do another dip to determine if this is a crime, drug, or gang area, so police can call for backup.”

“Think of any place and its safety considerations—national parks, ports, buildings, homes, rivers, trucks, oil rigs, smart cities,” said Ghosh. “This represents our M2M/IoT, high-growth market. All smart-cities information must be built into the First Net platform. In response, said Ghosh, West has developed Emergency Aware Services, a M2M/IoT middleware platform that provides a contextually aware safety, security, and protection capability enabled by smart devices, sensors, and IP networks.

West has developed Emergency Aware Services, a M2M/IoT middleware platform that provides a contextually aware safety, security, and protection capability enabled by smart devices, sensors, and IP networks.

“We have smart parks with weather sensors, water sensors, video cameras, beacons, and alarms connected to park infrastructure,” said Ghosh. “For railroad, we have similar products and integrated sensors. In chemical plants, we have various kinds of sensors and integrated alarms.” The potential applications for this technology are booming.

Visit Argyle Executive Forum's CLOUD TOGETHER SUMMIT - Dallas in Dallas, TX on Feb 26, 2020

right arrow icon

Next Article:
VP and CIO of California Resources Discusses Stepping Into the Shoes of the CIO