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Virtual Emergency Operations Centers (VEOC). Putting virtual communications to work. Jan Sysmans Director Business Continuity Solutions • March 18, 2008. Agenda. Disclosure and Credits Introduction VEOC Virtual Communications VEOC Software is more then virtual communications

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virtual emergency operations centers veoc

Virtual Emergency Operations Centers (VEOC)

Putting virtual communications to work

Jan Sysmans

Director Business Continuity Solutions • March 18, 2008

  • Disclosure and Credits
  • Introduction
  • VEOC
  • Virtual Communications
  • VEOC Software is more then virtual communications
  • The Big Questions
  • Overall Goal
  • Extra Bonus
credit where credit is due
Credit Where Credit Is Due
  • VEOC as an industry term has been defined by Regina Phelps, an internationally recognized expert in the field of emergency management and contingency planning.
  • Regina is the founder of Emergency Management & Safety Solutions.
what is an emergency operation center
What is an Emergency Operation Center?

A physical predetermined location designed to provide direction, exercise control and manage critical incidents.

© Kansas City EOC --

why do companies agencies need an eoc
Why Do Companies/Agencies Need an EOC


Source: Regina Phelps

eoc is cross functional
EOC Is Cross Functional
  • Facilities and IT
  • Safety
  • Human Resources
  • Finance
  • Corporate Communications
  • Sales
  • Legal
what if

Some of your EOC members are remote

The EOC is closed

Your EOC members can’t get to the EOC

Pandemic situation requiressocial distancing

© NY Times

What If….
virtual emergency operations center
Virtual Emergency Operations Center

Takes the EOC business process and moves it online

advantages of a veoc
Advantages of a VEOC
  • No waiting
  • Flexibility
  • Location, location, location
  • Redundancy
  • Cost effective
  • Efficient communication
  • Timely resource deployment
  • Safe in times of pandemic

Source: Regina Phelps

disadvantages of a veoc
Disadvantages of a VEOC
  • Dependent on utilities
  • Dependent on technology
  • Requires a very well defined process
  • Virtual communication and collaboration is different than in-person
  • Ongoing training and familiarity with the VEOC tool is required

Source: Regina Phelps

word of caution on veoc
Word of Caution on VEOC
  • A virtual EOC will not cure all ills.
  • If your EOC processes and procedures were not well thought-out or well developed in the “real world,” the road to a virtual world will be fraught with obstacles.
  • In other words, if the current EOC is a train-wreck, the virtual one will be a nightmare!

Source: Regina Phelps

different components of communications
Synchronous Communications

Audio conferencing

Video conferencing

Web conferencing

Instant messaging

Employee notification

EOC team notification

Asynchronous Communications

Corporate communications

Team rooms

Document management systems

Project management tools

Executive dashboards

Employee notification

Different Components of Communications
familiar and used daily
Familiar and Used Daily
  • No learning curve
  • Part of business culture
  • Pervasive

“Don’t give me a red or blue pen when I’m used to writing in a black pen”

-- CIO Arlington County

access and mobility
Access and Mobility
  • Available even when corporate infrastructure is not
  • Easy to deploy
  • Internet access, phone line and VPN
security reliability and availability
Security, Reliability and Availability
  • Independent Security Certifications
    • WebTrust, SAS-70 Type II, ISO,…
  • End to End Encryption and Data Storage Policies
  • Reliability and Scalability
  • Availability and Global Reach
veoc software its not only communications 18 ideal features
Intuitive - minimal training.

Centralized command and control.

Messaging/communications function with tracking (notification system).

Secure data sharing over the Internet and other networks (LAN, WAN).

Event tracking and logging.

EOC plan check-off lists – automated checklists for all team positions.

Document response actions.

Resource management (with full database functionality).

Store multiple contact lists (employees, team members, critical vendors, key stakeholders).

Accessible via Internet, Intranet/VPN, wireless.

Able to restrict member participation as necessary.

Access to plans, maps, photographs.

Linking capability to access Internet sources for weather and event intelligence.

Hand-held compatibility.

Fully configurable and scalable (can grow and change with you).

Compatible with existing infrastructure, databases, software, and e-mail.

Status boards (static general board and team boards).

Able to accommodate Executive briefings.

VEOC Software; Its Not Only Communications18 Ideal Features

Source: Regina Phelps

the big questions
The Big Questions
  • Build or Buy
  • Patchwork of standalone applications or Integrated solution
  • On-premise or On-demand
  • Custom application or Common application
overall goal has to be to
Overall Goal Has To Be To…

…Transform Business Disruptions into Business-as-Usual™

thank you

Thank You

Jan SysmansDirector Business Continuity Solutions Tel.: +1.408.566.7858