Frequently Asked Questionsfaq-thumb

Campus Safety

Does the app track me?

The only time the app sees your location and sends it to the campus safety office is when you hit the SOS button. This enables the campus safety to dispatch the nearest security officer or first responder to help. If you’re in distress and are on the move (i.e. trying to get away from a threatening situation), the app tracks you and keeps sending that information to campus safety. As soon as the incident is resolved (either by you aborting the incident, or by campus safety personnel reporting it is resolved), all location tracking stops.

What happens if I swipe the SOS by accident?

It’s actually pretty tough to send an SOS or report an incident by accident. (You’d have to open the app by accident, swipe the SOS slider by accident and fail to abort the incident within the allotted timeframe. The SOS button was created as a slider for precisely this reason. However, if you do swipe the SOS by accident, you can abort it within four seconds by sliding it back. 

What happens if I’m off campus and I have an emergency?

The SOS feature will automatically dial 9-1-1 and simultaneously let campus safety know where you are. The Reporter feature will not dial 9-1-1, but will send a notification directly to your campus safety office (including the location and type of incident).

What if I’m not in distress but I want to report something else? How does that work?

Any time you want to report something to campus safety, you can open the app, choose “Reporter” at the bottom of the screen, and then choose from over a 20 different kinds of incidents – medical emergency, suspicious person, alcohol/drug/parking violations, and various other threats. The app will automatically detect your location, or you can manually enter a different location. As soon as you hit “Report” it opens an incident in the campus safety office. These reports go only to the Campus Safety Office, and not to local authorities.

What if I want to report something anonymously?

From any browser (mobile or desktop), go to the URL for the Mobile Web Reporter provided by your university  (i.e. the address will be something like http://abc.nowforce.com/reporter – substitute the “abc” for your university’s acronym), hit “skip login” and then report the incident. These reports go only to the Campus Safety Office, and not to local authorities.

Getting Started for Agencies

How can I get started?

NowForce is pleased to offer emergency response and security organizations a free trial of the NowForce platform in our secured cloud. This is a great way for you to evaluate our system, even if you are interested in an on-site installation. We also recommend a free, no-strings-attached demo from a NowForce representative.

Once I’ve opened an account, then what?

You can log in through the NowForce website. If you haven’t already done so, download the mobile application. To log in to the dispatcher, click the Login to Dispatcher button. Use the username and password that you entered when creating your new account.

The NowForce setup wizard will take a user through the process of creating a new environment.

How do I…?

Click here for a host of articles on specific features and “how-to” tutorials.

How Will it Help?

How does NowForce reduce response times?

Utilizing a patented dispatching engine, the system is capable of dispatching the closest most relevant resources, based upon a customer defined protocol for an incident. Once a call is accepted, the first responder is given turn-by-turn directions using the latest navigation apps, which include traffic and weather updates. The solution is also capable of automatically statusing a first responder on-scene when approaching the dispatched location.

How does NowForce help incident commanders and field supervisors?

NowForce helps generate a comprehensive operational picture by expanding situational awareness capabilities. With the NowForce supervisor module, the incident commander (IC) or field supervisor can see everyone in the organization on a map, from his or her cell phone or any other mobile device. During an incident, the supervisor/IC can see which responders are on scene, who’s still en route – as well as their ETAs based on current traffic conditions and who’s cleared an incident. In addition, the all geographical information, hydrants, points of interest, apparatus location and responder statuses available via the app.

How does NowForce help individual responders?

NowForce helps individual first responders in a number of ways, including:

  • Speeding up response times: The app works through any available data network (i.e. mobile carrier or wifi) and instantly displays location and other relevant incident information if the user qualified for a response. With one click, first responders indicate they are available to respond, and then they receive turn-by-turn navigation to the scene.
  • Transforming their smartphones into Mobile Data Terminals:  First responders can upload images and other critical information once they’re on scene, providing full visibility of the incident to the command center and fellow responders. The app also allows the individual responders to request additional resources via a user-friendly, intuitive mobile interface.
  • Enabling responders to maintain their privacy while off-duty but remaining available for emergencies. Within the Dispatch module, an off-duty or volunteer first responder is listed an “anonymous” (although with his/her professional qualifications). Only if the responder accepts a nearby incident does dispatch see his/her full profile.
  • Improves situational awareness: First responders can stay abreast of other responders en-route or nearby. If conditions change during the course of an incident, responders get real-time alerts sent by dispatch or other responders in the field.
  • Alerts communications center to a responder in distress: The app has an integrated distress button that, when pressed, will automatically generate a priority incident at the communications center while simultaneously alerting nearby resources. Additionally the app will dial a pre-defined emergency number and enable a dispatcher to track the user in near real time. The solution is also capable of automatically e-mailing and SMSing emergency contacts during an emergency. Depending on the organization’s protocols, this can automatically dispatch the closest responders to assist their colleague.

How does NowForce help “sync” everyone on the network?

All first responders in a particular department or emergency network receive digital communications through their cell phones (or other mobile devices such as tablets); fellow responders immediately see images and critical updates on incidents, whether uploaded by responders on-scene, the IC, or dispatch. Forms filled out on-scene are automatically synced to all relevant parties. Response units en route to an incident receive the critical information as well.

How Does it Work?

How does the solution communicate with individual first responders?

Individual responders from organizations with a NowForce account or trial account should download the NowForce Mobile Responder™ app to their smartphones. Whenever a new incident is entered into CAD or the NowForce Dispatcher at a communications center/PSAP, operational personnel are notified and/or dispatched through the NowForce Mobile Responder™ app.

The app is publicly available in the iOS, Android and Blackberry app markets. New incidents are only pushed out to first responders relevant to the incident, based on their current location, availability, apparatus assignment, equipment carried, qualifications or a combination of everything. First responders can acknowledge incidents, respond that they are en route, on-scene, or indicate a customizable status.

Additionally, they can respond to non-urgent messages generated by an authorized user with free text or pre-defined answers within the app.

What happens if the first responder is in danger/distress?

The NowForce app comes with an integrated distress button that immediately signals an alert (including a siren) at the communications center/PSAP if a responder is in danger. Depending on the organization’s protocols, this can automatically dispatch the closest responders to assist their colleague.

Can the system identify which first responders are responding the most?

Yes – our dashboard feature enables the administrator or supervisor to see who is responding (or not). In addition, the system tracks responder performance, which feeds into a scoring module.

Technical Questions

Can NowForce tie into a CAD system?

NowForce was designed to interface with or integrate into CAD, CRM, C4I and RMS systems. Additionally, NowForce offers a browser-based incident management and dispatching solution for agencies that do not have an existing system.

What happens with the data following an incident?

NowForce provides an extensive business intelligence (BI) platform which captures and analyzes all data per agency. Incident, unit, personnel and location reporting are standard off-the-shelf features. With NowForce BI an agency can view real-time trends (i.e. average response times per type of incident on a daily, weekly or monthly basis) and generate operational member scores based upon qualifications, availability and total number of responses. In addition, first responders can fill out incident or unit reports directly into the app on their smartphones, reducing paperwork. NowForce BI was designed to interface with existing RMS systems. All the data associated with incidents are stored and accessible through the online BI module.

Can NowForce interface with third-party location systems and feeds?

Yes, NowForce already has integration with Motorola digital radio and many AVL systems.

Is it possible to migrate information from a different reporting system into NowForce?

Yes. NowForce has a built-in API engine that can interface data from other third party systems (via WebServices, email, SMS, FTP, etc.).

What GIS capabilities does NowForce have?

NowForce has extensive GIS capabilities. Using our powerful GIS tools, an agency may customize whatever geospatial information (i.e. POIs) it would like to have accessible during any incident. This GIS data is seamlessly integrated within the entire environment. The incident commander and first responders can see in real-time the location of equipment or resources (i.e. hydrants, AEDs, etc.), points of interest such as Hazmat sites or public buildings, and station/box areas, whether they are on a tablet, PC or smartphone. Advanced, on-the-fly mapping capabilities such as geo-fencing and advanced polygon support are also available.

Do I need any additional hardware or software to run the system?

No – all you need is a cell phone with a data plan and a web browser.

What happens when cell phone service is down?

All you need for the NowForce system to work is Internet connectivity, whether that is over wifi, LAN, or a 3G/4G network doesn’t matter.

How is it hosted?

Emergency response and security organizations have the option of hosting the server on the Amazon (or AWS GovCloud) secured cloud, or as an on-site installation.

Security Questions

Are your servers hosted in a secured facility?

Emergency response and security organizations have the option of hosting the server on the Amazon (or AWS GovCloud) secured cloud, or as an on-site installation.

Does NowForce comply with CJIS?

Yes, the NowForce system has strong password support, password expiration, secured access through https, as well as other security features.

How do I know that my user information is secure?

NowForce does not disclose or share individual user data for any purpose. Unless specifically requested by the organization, NowForce does not keep historical user location data outside of incident records.

Are there different levels of security/permissions for different types of users in my organization?

Yes, the organization can define user groups, rules, and policies, depending on the user’s role in the organization. User roles can also be defined according to types of incidents, regions, and a variety of other parameters.

Pricing

How much does this cost?

NowForce is sold on a per-month, per-user basis to organizations, making it an affordable solution to organizations of all sizes. The organization selects the type or types of licenses needed. [For example, a campus security organization might need a small number of dispatchers, a dozen supervisor modules, 100 responders, and thousands of reporter/SOS apps.]

Pricing is determined by a number of factors, including:

  • Level of functionality and types of license packages required
  • Hosting (secured cloud vs. on-site)

Ask about our promotional packages for volunteer organizations.

The vast majority of emergency response organizations can start working with NowForce without additional customization. However if your organization should require significant changes to the applications or dispatcher module, an additional professional services charge may be applied.