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Unified Communications Aids Doctors in Haiti


February 02, 2010

As doctors and nonprofit organizations continue their disaster relief activities in Haiti to help victims in last month’s catastrophic earthquake, communications technology companies are doing their part to help rebuild communications in the small island nation.

 
The Jan. 12 earthquake, which destroyed much of Port-au-Prince, the capital city, also cut off many forms of communication. And in any disaster or emergency situation, communication is critical.
 
That’s why companies like Business Mobility Systems, a firm that delivers integrated mobile unified communications solutions for service providers and enterprise customers, are bringing new equipment to help aid workers reconnect with the rest of the world.
 
The company set up an end-to-end UC solution using a solution from Ingate Systems, a SIP-based security solutions provider, to help a team of doctors from Advantage Health Physician Network, a network of doctors in Michigan, make voice over IP calls and have texting capability and Internet access. The team needed a stable communications system set up quickly upon their arrival to Haiti.
 
Doctors from Advantage Health Network are using Nokia E-71 smartphones equipped with Business Mobility Systems’ bMC client, the Hosted Business Mobility 1 Service. To help complete VoIP calls, Ingate installed its Ingate SIParator at the edge of the network to provide far-end Network Address Translation traversal. The solution, in turn, helps doctors make voice calls and gives the ability to send text messages and surf the Internet.
 
“With this solution our doctors are able to reach anywhere in the world quickly and easily, to get consults from colleagues, facilitate treatment, order supplies ‘on the fly’ and also help victims report back to families,” Dr. Troy Silvernale, a surgeon, said in a statement. “The solution from Business Mobility Systems and Ingate worked immediately. Within minutes of hitting the ground in Haiti we were up and running with phones and Internet, calling worried families, texting colleagues overseas for more medical supplies, getting consults. Being able to set up so quickly literally saved lives.”  
 
The smartphones also feature a Scosche “SolBAT” solar-powered recharger, which helps devices function during power failures.
 
Art Hale, chief technology officer for Business Mobility Systems, said he contacted Ingate because the company offered a “bullet-proof solution” at a moment’s notice.
 
“When there is an emergency, you to act fast,” Art Hale, chief technology officer for Business Mobility Systems, said. “It was a no-brainer to call [Ingate]. Ingate knew no matter what, it could solve the problem.”
 
Steven Johnson, Ingate CEO, said Ingate was seeking a way to offer its solutions to aid communication restoration efforts in Haiti when Hale contacted him.
 
“This was a real fortuitous intersection of events,” Johnson said. ”We were looking for a way that we might be able to offer support, and Art had a solution underway. It’s great for us to help out people in need and make contributions from time to time. This is something real we could act on and provide a component of the services we provide everyday for companies.”
 

Amy Tierney is a Web editor for unified communications, covering business communications Her areas of focus include conferencing, SIP, Fax over IP, unified communications and telepresence. Amy also writes about education and healthcare technology, overseeing production of e-Newsletters on those topics as well as communications solutions and UC. To read more of Amy's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Amy Tierney




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