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Smarter fire vehicles mean safer communities

By Richard Zak, Director of Justice & Public Safety, Microsoft on April 26, 2018

Filed under Microsoft in Government

As a member of the fire service, I know the pressure fire departments are under to do more in less time with fewer resources. So, it’s exciting to see how our partners are developing new solutions to help save first responders time and empower them in their life saving mission. One such solution is Captium from IDEX Fire & Safety, which is designed to make fire vehicles smarter by taking advantage of the Microsoft Azure cloud platform and its intelligent IoT core capabilities.

Helping you keep your community safe

City leaders want fire service teams focused on keeping communities safe and not spending precious time and budget on equipment issues or being slowed down by unplanned downtime. They want the equipment fire fighters use to be up and running effectively so they’re empowered to successfully fight fires and save lives.

But keeping something as complicated as a fire truck maintained is no small task. There’s a reason a fire truck is referred to as a fire apparatus—it’s much more than just a truck, it’s a complex assembly of hundreds of systems.

Fire departments need a solution that goes beyond just fleet management to help them keep their mission-critical fire vehicles up and running—a solution that helps take some of the maintenance burden off of their already-stretched fire service staff.

“Maintenance is the number one priority,” says George Ehalt of Aurora, Colorado Fire Rescue. “A system that will track preventive maintenance schedules, identify mechanical issues before they become larger problems and detect trends associated with repairs. Aurora would also like a system that can notify key people that a problem has occurred, or is happening in real time so the appropriate action can be put in place sooner.”

That’s why I’m so excited about what our partner IDEX Fire & Safety is bringing to the table for fire departments. Today at the Fire Department Instructors’ Conference (FDIC), it announced Captium, the first connected vehicle platform designed specifically for first response apparatus and equipment. It enables increased apparatus uptime and effectiveness through operational insights, proactive reporting, real-time support, and extensive network compatibility. In other words, it helps make a fire apparatus smart.

Powered by Microsoft Azure and Windows 10 IoT Core, the Captium platform can extend cloud intelligence to the many edge devices on a fire apparatus. It’s a significant step beyond the typical fleet management system because it monitors the health of not just the chassis, but of the critical networked electrical controllers, multiplexing systems, and water flow components that make up the apparatus. Additionally, Captium enables superior electronics trouble shooting and support through real-time notifications, run-log recording, remote trouble shooting, and secure over-the-air device updates. 

The solution is being debuted on E-One, KME, and Ferrara fire trucks, which are produced by REV Fire, an industry-leader in world-class rescue vehicles. Committed to uptime of its vehicles and new levels of support based on intelligence inside the vehicles, REV Fire collaborated with IDEX Fire & Safety to bring Captium to market.

“This revolutionary technology platform sets the stage for unmatched customer support and unparalleled future fireground operations,” says Jay Johnson, Vice President of Sales and Product Management at REV Fire. “We are establishing the fire apparatus as the ‘IoT Hub’ for the future fireground.”

Jeff Zook, Marketing Manager for Connected Solutions at IDEX Fire & Safety, echoes this shared vision for what vehicle connectivity and intelligence can mean for the fire service. “Our fundamental thesis is to create products that increase operator safety and return the most precious commodity in a 21st-century economy back to first responders: time,” says Zook. “We firmly believe that this new proposition will drive positive changes for our customers, and having REV Fire share a similar vision made the decision to debut this new platform first on E-One, KME, and Ferrara vehicles a very easy one.”

Responding to citizens in need requires highly-trained people along with the right vehicles and equipment. IDEX and REV Fire are leading the way to make fire vehicles smarter and better able to support the mission of the fire service. By taking advantage of our cloud platform designed for government with its always-on resilience, dynamic scaling, and cutting-edge IoT capabilities, IDEX and REV Fire are making fire service vehicles smarter to help keep communities safer.

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