Instead of touching a single radio button to access a channel, for example, dispatchers had to click through to alternate screens, which introduced the potential for errors and consumed valuable seconds during emergency response situations. Consistent audio quality was lacking—with frequent highs, lows and distortions across monitored channels — which required a considerable amount of the staff’s time to reset levels and mute some channels simply to maintain clear, deviation-free voice communication. Firefighters would receive tones, but not the critical accompanying voice communications. And because the dispatch platform itself was built around an older operating system, LaValley’s design and maintenance team was spending far too much time searching online sites for compatible PCs and spare parts to keep the system functioning.
“From an engineering and service standpoint, Avtec is a leader,” he continued. “They listened to what we needed to achieve and thoughtfully reviewed it, then came back with a solution that would meet our requirements. They even made adjustments to accommodate how we use the system—no one does that anymore. It was a very collaborative effort with our team, Avtec and Burlington Communications, which we found refreshing.”
Now that the Avtec Scout system is fully deployed, LaValley said his technicians see the dispatch consoles as an exceptional solution that is extremely flexible. As for the users: “I talk to our dispatchers quite often and they love the new Scout system. They no longer assume that if something is wrong, the console must be the problem,” he stated.
Looking ahead, LaValley sees Avtec’s Scout platform as one that can move in lockstep with the state’s long-term plans to continue evolving and adding functionality for all Vermont Communications System (VCOMM) users, including the VSP. “Now, if I lose a dispatch center because of a disaster, I can put up a command post and dispatch with a laptop from any location with network connectivity. Our plan is to continue to expand our deployment of Avtec’s technology so that all public safety agency and dispatch system users have interoperability and survivability throughout Vermont. And with ScoutCare™, we will also have 24/7/365 post-warranty tech support as well as an evergreen product because of the continual software updates. We see our relationship with Avtec as a true partnership.”