31 May 2013

Three Outages Experienced by I/CAD -- NYC's Dispatch System

WNYC, NBC News and others reported that the NYC Dispatch system, revamped at considerable cost, has experienced more than one interruption since its latest release. In the latest incident, there was a period of 30 minutes during which CSR's had to manually write down caller information and hand-carry it to dispatchers. NBC reported that Wednesday was the first day for the software in its current release to go live.
NYC 911 System Room via NBC News

According to news reports, the current release of I/CAD had been in testing for 6 months by Intergraph. I/CAD appears to be a modified commercial offering by Intergraph, not merely a one-off for NYC.

The New York Times is reporting that the overall 911 replacement system won't be ready until 2015.

An earlier press report revealed a few of the integration requirements faced by I/CAD. In 2008, it was stated that the new system would integrate " . . . everything available and send[ed.] it straight to the dispatchers in a much more user-friendly way . . . The new system will immediately grab the location of the caller - including cellphone users, using GPS technology already available through the wireless companies - then tap into state and city databases to check for arrest warrants and prior calls at a location." So said NYPD Deputy Chief Charles Dowd, commander of the communications division at the time.

Writing about this outage later, the New York Daily News quoted an FDNY spokesman who said the outage was caused by someone mistakenly turning off a server, which caused "all dispatch computers to crash."

Note "CAD" = Computer Aided Dispatch.

Note This post was modified 7/23/13 to reflect confusion between legacy system outages, dispatch vs. the overall 911 system, and the Intergraph replacement project.

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