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Getting Ready to Launch

Earlier this year, we set to work on a long awaited refresh of our Teams and Community products. This update has been a long time coming and we’re really excited to start sharing what we’ve been working on.

Change can be a little disorientating and when it comes to operational tools for emergency responders and nobody wants to see too many changes enacted at once. For this reasons, we decided early on that the refresh would be a two-stage undertaking.

Phase One, dubbed ‘Mercury’ will be launched in May or early June and focusses on the Dashboard end of the applications. Basically anything that is part and parcel of working with contacts, lists or sending an actual notification will be updated. Work on Phase Two, or ‘Gemini’ will begin this summer and will target the administrative side of the application. Expect roll out in the fall of 2018.

While we’ve made every efforts to preserve the simplicity that has dominated our development approach to date, this refresh will bring some needed changes and expanded features. With this in mind, we’ll be sharing a number of blog posts that outline these changes and the thinking behind them. This way, everyone will have a chance to see what’s coming before the updates arrive in their accounts.

We can’t wait to show you what we’ve been up to. Thanks for the ongoing support and for the constant feedback and ideas.

– The Connect Rocket Team

Enhanced Status Monitoring

We’re pleased to announce that we now offer enhanced monitoring for Connect Rocket applications. This improved service offers the same real-time feedback on core components of our infrastructure that you’re used to but also includes the option to receive proactive notifications about outages that could impact your operations.

You can check the status of Connect Rocket at any time by visiting status.connectrocket.com. To sign up for alerts by text or email, simply select ‘Subscribe to Updates’ from this page or visit: status.connectrocket.com/subscribe and provide the requested information.

We hope you find this update valuable.

Our fear of getting it wrong stops us from getting it right

When I started working in the fire service, things weren’t exactly progressive. Most departments weren’t being headed by true leaders and even fewer people were working to change the culture and overall approach of service delivery. Where once we operated under the banner of ‘150 years of tradition unimpeded by progress’, the the emergency services is now doing incredible things and the future looks bright.

Despite all of this recent advancement, there’s still room for some polish, particularly when it comes to the integration of technology into our organizations. Over the years we’ve had the good fortune to speak with responders from across the globe and we’ve seen the emergence of a common theme. We’re too focussed on making the wrong choices around technology. This focus on making mistakes isn’t only unhealthy but it’s also out of step with the quick adoption of new and innovative solutions by those in other fields.

As an industry, we need to realize that this mentality almost always leads to friction and ultimately slows our rate of progress. New initiatives never get off the ground and momentum stalls. Not only does this thinking slow down our own organization’s rate of advancement but it contributes to less innovation throughout our industry. If we’re not pushing the boundaries, we’re not pushing others and that doesn’t serve anyone well.

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To be at the forefront of technology means we’re going to make mistakes. The key is anticipating this and being flexible enough to quickly move past whatever issue might arise. As first responders, we need to better embrace technology, we need to incorporate the latest and greatest hardware and software into mission critical roles and we need to be OK with the possibility that it won’t always unfold perfectly.

Regardless of the problem you’re working to solve, you’ll almost always be better off with a solution that ‘mostly’ works vs. the one that you’re still ‘analyzing’. So stop focussing on what might go wrong and look instead at the huge potential upside of being on the bleeding edge. Your organization will be better for it and so will the citizens you’re tasked to protect.

Fort McMurray Fire – Free Accounts

We’ve been on the front lines at many large interface fires with substantial structure loss and words can’t do justice to the level of devastation that can done in mere minutes. These types of events not only cause immediate property loss, risk life and limb but leave a mark on the landscape and on residents that can take years to recover from.

We know from experience that internal communication with various agencies and volunteers as well as communication with evacuees is critical in the days and weeks ahead. We also know that many traditional tools aren’t well suited to the task. For this reason and because it’s the neighbourly thing to do, we’re offering free Connect Rocket and Connect Rocket Community accounts to anyone in the fire affected area or in the path of this large and destructive wildfire.

There will be no charge to set-up or maintain the accounts for the duration of the incident. Account holders will pay only for usage, billed at our cost (much of which we expect can be recovered from the Provincial Government). At such time as the risk has passed and the communication burden has eased, the accounts can be decommissioned at no charge.

Our team is available to configure accounts immediately. If you’d like to explore this option for your community, please call us at 1 (888) 256-3009 for assistance.

Use Roll Call to get your response off to a strong start.

Roll Call is a great feature we delivered a couple of years ago that allows your members to respond to messages they receive from Connect Rocket. You members can respond to Roll Call via a simple text message or using their telephone keypad. That means your members don’t need an app, a username or a password to use Roll Call – they just need to be able to send a text message or punch a number on their telephone keypad. This makes using Roll Call simple, safe and fast.

As with all of our features, Roll Call has been built in a way that allows tremendous flexibility with implementation. We have customers that use Roll Call to obtain immediate insight into which of their members are responding to calls. Using Roll call in this manner allows senior personnel to deal with more pressing issues while Connect Rocket aggregates all of the responses in the early stage of an incident. When it’s convenient to check on available resources, a quick look at the Roll Call yields critical information on member availability.

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Roll Call is also used to do status checks on members on a periodic basis and can be used for polling your members. There’s no one way to use Roll Call and our customers are constantly finding new and innovative ways to improve their operations with this great feature.

If you’re not using Roll Call, connect with us and we’ll show you how your organization can benefit from this great tool.