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Polycom Visual Communication Helps Agencies Plan for and Swiftly Respond to Emergencies


Webinar to highlight how face-to-face interaction enables agencies to assess rapidly changing situations and make informed decisions in real time

OKLAHOMA CITY, SHAWNEE MISSION, Kan., and PLEASANTON, Calif. - In times of disaster or emergency, timely and effective communication often determines the success of first responders and ongoing recovery efforts. The crucial role visual communication increasingly plays in those efforts will be highlighted in a special webinar hosted Tuesday by Polycom (Nasdaq: PLCM), the global leader in telepresence, video and voice communication solutions, along with SKC Communications, a provider of communication and collaboration solutions, and representatives from the Oklahoma Army National Guard.

From hurricanes and floods to pandemics and terrorist attacks, an ever-expanding list of emergencies has prompted organizations to turn to visual communication technologies like telepresence and video conferencing to craft effective response plans and enable real-time decision making. Government and military agencies, health care organizations, and even corporations are relying on Polycom visual communication solutions to assess critical needs and make faster decisions through real-time interactions between central command and field personnel.

Polycom’s visual communication solutions enable organizations to:

* Achieve substantial cost savings with distributed training programs that enable responders to quickly hone knowledge and skills essential to improving readiness and emergency response capabilities.
* Create engaged partnerships that improve information sharing and coordination across public-sector agencies, the private sector and non-government organizations prior to and during crisis situations.
* Rapidly and accurately assess situations and produce real-time common operational pictures, including the ability to see first responders and better understand their stress levels, environmental conditions and morale.
* Improve operational effectiveness by enabling leaders at all levels to actively communicate, query and assess conditions within a rapidly changing environment.
* Enable confident, trusted communications between incident commanders and responders, while engaging key leaders so they can remain in contact with their organization from secure locations.

From Hurricanes to Flu Outbreaks, Polycom Delivers
Several government agencies already realize these benefits. The Oklahoma Army National Guard operates a network of more than 130 Polycom systems that equip every National Guard facility in the state. The systems have proven essential in responding to major catastrophes, including Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“We had daily meetings between the folks on the ground in New Orleans and the commanders here in Oklahoma City,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Welly Gibson, activity manager for Visual Information and Distance Learning for the Oklahoma Guard. “It’s important that our generals and colonels here can see the officers down range, can see the looks on their faces and understand what they need. It makes a big difference. It’s better than phone calls and it’s a lot better than radios.”

Firefighters in Green Bay, Wis., use their Polycom visual communication network to continually train city departments and prepare for potential emergencies. The network underpins the department’s Incident Command System, a federally mandated on-scene, all-hazard incident management infrastructure. Cost savings and productivity gains have prompted the city to consider expanding its use of the network.

“Our approach is to first listen to customers about their needs and challenges, and then design the solutions that best meet those needs,” said Todd Vincent, vice president of Videoconferencing Sales at SKC Communications, a Polycom reseller whose technology solutions enable its clients to better collaborate, communicate and connect with their key stakeholders. “That’s particularly important in the area of disaster preparedness and emergency response, because no two agencies or organizations are alike. Whether it’s the Oklahoma Guard or the Green Bay Fire Department, we’ve provided Polycom solutions that fit how these organizations handle planning and response, and the results speak for themselves.”

Video systems were also used to help manage the initial outbreaks of the H1N1 flu virus. International health organizations relied on Polycom video systems to communicate face-to-face to help determine the source of the flu, where and how it was spreading, and effective treatments.

“Visual communication played a key role in responding to the H1N1 outbreak,” said Ron Emerson, global director of Healthcare Markets at Polycom. “Health officials in different regions were able to very rapidly connect and exchange information in an effective way. Personal, face-to-face communication allowed participants to quickly digest information with confidence.”

“Effective response begins with proper training and planning prior to an incident. Once response activities commence, real-time communication systems enable instant access to people and information to ensure that timely and accurate decisions can be made,” said Roseanne Cohen, director, Federal Market at Polycom. “As the examples of the Oklahoma Guard, the Green Bay Fire Department and the H1N1 outbreak response show, Polycom’s real-time collaboration solutions provide instant access to people, information and locations. During extreme situations such as natural disasters, terrorist threats and health care emergencies, visual communication is essential.”

Free Webinar Outlines Best Practices
At 10 a.m. Central time on Tuesday, Aug. 18, Polycom and SKC Communications will host representatives of the Oklahoma National Guard in a free webinar. During the online session, the Oklahoma Guard’s Welly Gibson will discuss best practices in leveraging real-time collaborative communications to prepare for emergencies and to provide fast, efficient and intelligent responses in crisis situations.

Webinar attendees will learn:

* The current challenges facing governments and emerging trends in collaborative communications that are important to protecting the public
* How a statewide videoconferencing network is helping the Oklahoma Army National Guard reduce costs, support first responder activities, enable distance education and facilitate family support for deployed soldiers
* What solutions can be used to bring key government leaders and response teams together to analyze threats and develop a coordinated response

To register for the Webinar, visit

About SKC
Located in Shawnee Mission, Kan., SKC provides technology solutions that enable its clients to better collaborate, communicate and connect with their key stakeholders. SKC’s core businesses consist of: Plantronics headsets, Avaya IP telephony solutions, Polycom videoconferencing systems, audio/visual integration, conferencing phones and streaming solutions. Visit SKC at

About Polycom
Polycom, Inc. (NASDAQ: PLCM) is the global leader in telepresence, video, and voice solutions and a visionary in communications that empower people to connect and collaborate everywhere. Visit for more information and follow us on Twitter @AllAboutPolycom.


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