How Haivision is Powering Situational Awareness and Collaboration for the Cleveland Department of Public Safety Emergency Operations Center
A division of the Cleveland, Ohio Department of Public Safety, the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) serves as a command post for both major planned and unplanned events. Activated for sporting, political, and cultural activities throughout the year, the EOC enables the city to safely host noteworthy events of local and national interest, including the annual Cleveland marathon, 2021 NFL draft, and the 2022 NBA all-star game. The EOC is also in place to assist public safety personnel with responding to incidents where a threat to public safety may be detected, such as civil disturbances and environmental emergencies.
“The capabilities of the Haivision video wall and the technology that drives it have been instrumental in helping us to accomplish our mission when an emergency response is needed,” said Fred Szabo, Emergency Manager, Cleveland Office of Emergency Management, Cleveland Department of Public Safety.“ It has proved to be a great success and an extremely useful tool that we have come to depend and rely upon. Without it, we wouldn’t be nearly as effective.”
Originally reliant on just two screens with rear projectors and access to a modest number of camera feeds, the EOC was extremely limited in its capabilities. Lacking visual and situational awareness to support the sharing and monitoring of real-time intelligence, Cleveland’s EOC required a significant update in anticipation of hosting the 2016 Republican National Convention.
With federal funding allocated to the project, the city’s Public Safety Department selected Haivision technology to power its new state-of-the-art EOC.
The Haivision video wall is an 8×2 arrangement of 16 55” high-definition monitors that act as an immersive visual canvas for almost any content, where needed. The video wall itself is designed for critical visualization and the displays are rated 24/7 with independent power supplies. Paired with the displays is Haivision video wall technology and purpose-built hardware which, when combined, deliver processing, rendering, media playback, and content management. Haivision video wall technology makes it quick and easy to position where content is displayed on the video wall. Operators can simply drag and drop content to the wall, resize, crop, move, and zoom with a just a few mouse clicks, ensuring the right people have access to the right information at the right time. With Haivision technology in place, the EOC can access and display video feeds from over 1500 city cameras in real-time.
“You might think that being at the scene of the event is important, however, from the EOC we can see everything that’s happening in real-time from multiple camera views and have access to additional intelligence which allows our response efforts to be faster and more targeted when we communicate with agents in the field,” said Fred Szabo. “It’s a highly effective way to operate.”
The video wall system is connected to three separate locations within the EOC main floor. First is the center itself which has 26 workstations manned by agency representatives, a 16-screen video wall, and four auxiliary screens. Then there’s an executive conference room that’s frequently used by the city’s mayor and his cabinet to determine policy during a major event. The Joint Information Center (JIC) is the third location connected to the video wall and is the designated area for media representatives to do their reporting during a major event.
Both the conference room and JIC feature integrated projection screens, as well as standard display technology. Most importantly, the video feeds are the same across all three locations, synchronizing everyone’s view of events as they unfold. The video wall in the EOC adds another layer of functionality by giving other partners with their own video and surveillance systems such as drone operations, and the Cleveland police helicopter downlink, the ability to plug their laptops into the system and share video surveillance feeds around the clock.
The EOC acts as a command center which, when activated, brings together all the necessary decision makers that manage events – city, state, and federal partners and agencies – to monitor and align event responses.
“We’re really happy with the Haivision solution,” commented Fred Szabo. “It functions extremely well and it’s easy for our technicians to operate and maintain.” Coordination between agencies is critical but not always easy. Depending on the event, there are representatives from as many as 20 agencies in the room from the FBI to the Coast Guard. Having all of the decision-makers in one room is essential for effective collaboration between external partners and agencies.
Haivision technology lays the foundation for a common operating picture amongst the team by allowing a range of content to be displayed. It can ingest content from specialized monitoring software such as WebEOC and Milestones, as well as social media, cable tuners, and iPhones to help with the decision-making process.
The EOC’s Emergency Manager, Fred Szabo, is proud to showcase the EOC for other agencies and emergency operation centers. “We’ve had so much experience managing events of national significance that our EOC receives a lot of visitors, including federal agencies, who are impressed with the technology and the capabilities it provides us,” said Fred Szabo. “It’s a great system.”