The Record - Issue 21: Summer 2021

142 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om I NT E R V I EW I n June, autonomous solutions provider Hexagon launched its cloud-native, software- as-a-service collaborative workspace, HxGN Connect, as a way to bring together govern- ment agencies, industry organisations and other diverse entities to share information and coor- dinate actions when dealing with everyday inci- dents and major events. The use cases for a solution like this are mas- sive, particularly for public sector organisations. “When an incident occurs, it’s not just one agency that responds, andmany organisations still depend onpickingup the phone to coordinate actions,” says Kalyn Sims, chief technology officer of safety and infrastructure at Hexagon’s Safety, Infrastructure & Geospatial division. “HxGN Connect enables all organisations across a city or region to view a com- mon operating picture of what’s happening. But it goes well beyond viewing a common operating picture on a map. Organisations can collaborate and take coordinated action as well.” HxGN Connect displays data from multiple systems and sensors, including computer-aided dispatch systems, traffic management systems, asset management systems, weather systems, CCTV cameras and a variety of smart city sen- sors. This rich and diverse set of data enables users to collectively monitor real-time informa- tion to support critical decision-making. This includes the ability to track road closures, view utility outages and monitor sensor alerts. “Our platform enables multiple organisations, both public and private, to all view the same situation through a common lens. This could include city government, utilities providers, police departments, departments of transporta- tion, departments of public works, community organisations and others,” says Sims. “This is a huge step. It provides a way to collaborate across organisations to manage incidents, get in front of impending issues, such as a flood, and even plan and monitor large events, such as a festival.” Because of the challenge of bringing tradi- tional, disparate operations of individual organi- sations together, Sims said she believes there is a real need and desire for a solution like this. “I can remember sitting down with a number of neighbouring police departments almost two dec- ades ago to brainstorm on how they could share data to support their crime analysis initiatives,” she says. “There is no doubt they wanted to col- laborate, but they were let down by the technology challenges. By the time they could get their data out of their individual systems and into another centralised one, it was too late to be useful. “There is no hesitation to work together by public sector organisations, but achieving cross- agency system integration is a challenge. That’s where we come in.” While developing the platform, Hexagon worked with multiple collaboration partners and existing customers to inform the design process with relevant use cases, workflows and feedback. “It’s been invaluable to engage our customers in the design and development process,” says BY E L LY YAT E S - ROB E R T S Hexagon’s Kalyn Sims discusses the firm’s recently launched collaborative workspace and how it delivers new levels of coordination between organisations across a city or region. Crisis collaboration “Achieving cross-agency system integration is a challenge. That’s where we come in”