PeopleSoft, ESRI track responders

Geographic information system specialist ESRI and PeopleSoft extended their partnership to provide Web-based resources for tracking first responder assets during emergencies.

PeopleSoft Inc. and geographic information system (GIS) specialist ESRI have extended their partnership to produce integrated solutions for first responders that provides Web-based resources for tracking emergency deployments.

The initial alliance between the two companies stemmed from PeopleSoft's desire to introduce location-based capabilities into its customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, said Raymond Vigil, director of business development in the company's education and government division.

ESRI wanted to increase the markets it operated in. Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks PeopleSoft has expanded the sophistication of its products to meet to the needs of the first responder community, Vigil said. The company introduced its PeopleSoft Guardian suite of applications in August 2002.

Guardian extends PeopleSoft's CRM expertise into the human resources management arena for first responder recruitment, skills assessment and deployment. The Guardian Web portal lets users gather data from different sources to monitor emergency alerts, assess personnel skills and deploy and track resources in real-time.

Until the recent announcement, ESRI's involvement in Guardian had been limited to the use of its ArcView product, which takes data from multiple sources to create maps. The newest version of Guardian employs the full range of ESRI products, through which users can model the progress of incidents over time, determine bottlenecks and delays such as transportation roadblocks, provide demographic analyses of situations and better meet asset needs.

PeopleSoft and ESRI have been demonstrating the new capabilities of Guardian around the country, Vigil said, though he admitted there is still has a ways to go to convince people to buy it. However, with first responders finally starting to see their most immediate needs such as new fire trucks and communications being met, he's confident they'll eventually move to understanding the need for such things as location.

"First responders are still stovepiped at every level, and we feel we have the ability help them tie databases together and provide for multiple resource systems," Vigil said. "We are still at an educational stage with this, but people are now starting to look at how they go about getting better information about incidents."

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