Inside Look: Missoula International Airport’s Digital Part 139, EM and Daily Ops Innovation

I’ve had a lot instances where a sales team is telling me one thing and then once you get the product delivered, it seems to be the exact opposite. With Veoci, I found that everything that I was promised it would do, it has done that and then more. And the support that the team provides has just blown me away.” – Tim Damrow, Ground Handling and Systems Manager, Missoula International Airport 

With Veoci, Tim Damrow completely reinvented Missoula International Airport’s management system. The Veoci team loves nothing more than to see a customer take the tools that we provide and go above and beyond to meet their organization’s needs and make their team’s lives a whole lot easier. Tim was kind enough to take the time out of his busy schedule to put on a webinar showcasing all current and planned Veoci solutions he and his team have created at Missoula International. Keep reading to learn a bit about Missoula’s solutions or click here to request a recording of the webinar.

About Missoula International (MSO):

 

  • 379,532 enplanements
  • Delta, Alaska, United, Allegiant, Frontier
  • 31 full-time, 24 part-time staff
  • Public safety (police, fire, EMS, ops) building, field, administration, and ground handling teams

Looking for the right system
As the Ground Handling and Systems Manager at Missoula International, Tim Damrow takes on the daily responsibility of ensuring that all day-to-day and emergency operations run smoothly and efficiently. Tim and his team had a few changes in mind to promote efficiency:

Systems Consolidation: Missoula was using various scattered systems for

  • Vaisala information (runway sensor and surface observation data)
  • Tatems (used for vehicle maintenance)
  • FIIX (for building maintenance)
  • NOTAMS
  • FIDS/GIDS for flight information and gate information displays

Emergency Operations:

  • A multi-agency collaboration platform
  • Centralized command
    • Resource/Task management – with all different agencies involved
    • Video feeds and links for staff
  • Increased operational focus
    • Essentially, taking the load of ops and public safety staff so that tasks like contacting various agencies can be delegated automatically to other individuals who are able to assist in the emergency response.

Tim shared with webinar attendees what MSO’s old emergency drill planning looked like. This is just one of many walls covered in handwritten notes. Now, with Veoci, all data is easily logged and managed in the system.

 

Going with Veoci and Going Digital

Not only did Tim and his team find a way to consolidate all their systems information and emergency operations with Veoci, but what drew Tim to Veoci after looking at various vendors was the ability to “customize basically everything in the system.” And customize he did. With Veoci’s tools, and a little help from our solutions engineers, Tim took almost all of Missoula’s processes, from Part 139 operations and field maintenance to construction and administration, and digitized them into one platform with custom forms, reports, workflows and more features, all tailor-made to fit MSO’s specific processes.

Continued Benefits of the New System

Even after all they’ve accomplished in their short time as Veoci customers, Tim and his team are not even close to stopping their mission to improve and digitize every process at Missoula International. From saving on waste reduction, fuel and time spent, and with plans to expand their solutions further, Missoula International Airport has certainly stepped into the future of airport management and it doesn’t appear to be turning back any time soon.

Paper processes/Waste Reduction: Missoula has saved about $1,000/yr on printer and toner from printing inspection forms, work orders, field condition reports.

Fuel Savings/Time Efficiency: Public safety and operations staff previously had to drive over to fax machines to send out issue reports, to log and issue notams and to create airfield work orders. Veoci’s mobile capability allows them to stay on the airfield and issue NOTAMS remotely, saving Missoula $12k-$18k/yr.

To learn exactly how Missoula International Airport digitized all of their Part 139, EM, and daily ops processes with Veoci, click here to request the recording of the webinar.

Breakthrough: Altru Health System’s Incident Management on Veoci

Not only does the Veoci team have the technical expertise, but they are experts in response protocol. So as you’re working with them to configure the system to your own specific needs- they are also able to understand what you’re going through and what response protocol is required. It’s a great team, so shout out to them.” – Sheryl Austin, Director of Safety, Altru Health System

About Altru
Altru Health System is a community of over 4,000 health professionals and support staff who have served the region for over 100 years. The Altru team serves more than 220,000 residents of a 17-county region in northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota.

Before Veoci With Veoci
Long time (45 minutes or more) to activate response team 15 minutes to activate response team
Improvised Response to Incidents One-button launch of pre-planned, yet flexible assignments, workflows and notifications for individuals and teams
Problematic Communication Responders connected immediately – instant messaging, voice calls, automatic conference calls
Suboptimal After-Action Report – from memory, paper notes and emails Continuous time-stamped multi-media log through the incident
Onerous Documentation Effort HICS Forms, HVAs, After-Action Reports in one secure platform

Veoci – The Solution
Veoci is Altru’s all-in-one solution for organizing and managing all phases of emergencies – from housing critical information, documenting each step of exercises, drills and real incidents, and gathering feedback and creating after-action reports for continued improvement.

Communication Power

At the first sign of an incident, at the touch of a button, phone calls, text messages, emails are all sent out with a canned message to the pre-planned list of people for that type of incident. Altru finds that Veoci has reduced the time it takes to get key people together to minutes, and with details with Veoci on their mobile devices or desktops.

Built-in Mass Notification: With Altru’s location in North Dakota, weather is often a major issue. This is where mass notification comes in handy everyday.  All 4,500 employees, specific lists of personnel, or one or more teams are all notified via phone call, SMS text or email all within the same Veoci platform..

Getting the team together:  An administrator can also set up response options in minutes on Veoci. After the check-in request is sent, the administrator can view all responses and choose to resend as required to get the quorum needed.

Automatic Conference Calls: An invite is sent out, click on a button to join. No dial, no fuss.

Documentation in One System from Start to Finish
HICS: Altru follows the Hospital Incident Command System (HICS) methodology, a standardized process for responding to incidents in hospitals or healthcare systems. In Veoci, all standardized HICS documents and forms are right at their fingertips. On custom dashboards, the team can view all HICS objectives, key decisions, time-stamped notable events (even used to note when pizza was ordered during an overnight incident).

After-Action Reporting: The Altru team sends out easy-to-setup custom Veoci forms via email to all employees and their responses are fed directly into a Veoci dashboard.

HVAs are managed in Veoci across all of Altru’s on and off-site locations and sorted by type of risk such as hazardous material, human, natural or technological hazards. Using Veoci, the Altru team can run reports and prioritize mitigation, planning, and exercises based on their top hazards.

PIO Processes:  Altru’s Public Information Office has their own dashboard where they pull information on what happened with the incident, enter text and submit it to the incident commander for approval as needed. When severe weather keeps PIOs stranded, Veoci is accessible over the internet from wherever they happen to be.

Customizing Veoci – Do it Your Way

With 322 licensed beds, the Altru team describes themselves as “not big yet not tiny” and has taken advantage of Veoci’s easy and extensive DIY no-code configurability. Each Hospital section, finance, operations, logistics, etc. , can set up their processes with their own tailor-made dashboard with the information that matters to them – communicate, collaborate, control all in one platform.

Click here to request a recording of Altru’s webinar!

Yale University Implements Veoci for Tracking Students Abroad

With more students feeling drawn to explore different cultures and with more schools offering exciting possibilities for study abroad, university and college administrators now have an increased need for a modern and efficient way to ensure the safety of their student, faculty and staff travelers.

Yale University’s Travel Registry, a web-based tool that the Yale community uses to record travel plans in order to respond quickly in case of emergency, found a way to simplify this process with Veoci. Yale University has been a long-time customer of Veoci for areas such as emergency management and facilities management. Now, Yale Travel Registry utilizes Veoci to maintain communication with students, faculty and staff abroad, determine their location, and manage potential evacuations and other emergency procedures quickly and easily from countries away. Yale University can now flag leadership students in specific areas to receive critical information and send safety check-ins/alerts/warnings for all students or students in specific geofenced areas to respond. All reports and documentation are stored and organized on custom drag-and-drop forms and high-level dashboards for quick and easy information access.

Click the image above or click here to read Yale New’s article on their implementation of Veoci in their Travel Registry system.

Amazon S3 Outage: Our Response

What happened?
On February 28, 2017 at 12:37 PM EST, Veoci users started experiencing problems accessing files stored in Veoci as well as uploading new files into Veoci.  The issues were triaged and eventually resolved at approximately 2:30 PM EST.

How did this happen?
One of Amazon’s system administrators accidentally entered an incorrect command which resulted in the complete shutdown of many Amazon servers, thus disabling Amazon S3 services in the US East Region (Virginia) and affecting thousands of customers.  Amazon’s summary can be found here: https://aws.amazon.com/message/41926/

Why this impacted Veoci?
Amazon Simple Storage Service, Amazon S3, is an internet storage system to store and retrieve any amount of data from anywhere on the web.  It is split up among 8 storage locations around the world. Veoci uses Amazon S3 storage in the US East Region in Northern Virginia and the US West Region in Oregon. All Veoci files are stored across several servers in Virginia and are automatically replicated to Oregon. 

What Veoci functionality was impacted?
Most Veoci use was unaffected; however, uploading files, downloading files, importing via Excel, exporting to Excel, emailing attachments to Rooms, and submitting entries into public Forms with attachment fields were inhibited.

How did the Veoci team respond?
Veoci’s technical development team agreed to wait a short time after the outage to see if Amazon would recover quickly. After about 90 minutes without a resolution from Amazon, the Veoci team decided at 2:00 PM EST to modify our configuration so Veoci’s files would be directly accessed and stored using our Oregon location. This failover process was fully in place at 2:30 PM EST. At that time, the only functionality that was still impacted was accessing some previous file versions.

Amazon S3 recovered from the outage at 4:54 PM EST. To ensure that Amazon had fully recovered, Veoci’s failover to Oregon continued for approximately two days, continuing to support almost all normal operations. On March 1, 2017 at 11:50 PM EST, our team reconfigured file access and storage back to the Virginia site, restoring all normal operations. 

How did the Veoci team communicate this issue?
Veoci’s primary tool for delivering outage notifications, Mailchimp, was also impacted by the Amazon S3 outage. After exploring other communication options, we emailed all Organization Administrators at 2:03PM EST.  An update was also sent to the same audience at 2:52 PM EST.

Next Steps
To further improve our recovery method, we are currently working to configure all Veoci files to be automatically stored and accessed via both the East and West Amazon S3 Buckets. This way, should the Virginia location encounter another issue, files will automatically be sent to Oregon with no failover process needed.

Veoci is also implementing a capability for our team to broadcast an Incident Alert to all users directly within Veoci, removing our reliance on Mailchimp for distributing timely communications.

A Virtual Approach to Creating a Proactive Emergency Management Program for Airports

A recent issue of Airport Improvement Magazine featured an article by John Kinney, chair of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) Emergency Management Committee, that highlights the importance of airports to define their own Emergency Management Program (EMP). Airports vary drastically in size, operational capacity, and functionality and therefore need flexibility in developing an Emergency Management Program to meet their needs.

Part 139 and TSR 1544 regulations do not capture all the needs of airports to create a comprehensive plan for when an emergency occurs, despite the consequences of having an inadequate EMP. An effective EMP, according to Kinney, must reach all corners of the airport environment–stretching far beyond what the regulations mandate. For this reason, Kinney suggests that an effective EMP pulls not only the first-responders, but communities on and off the airport into the conversation as well. Airports should establish an EMP that follows guidelines across multiple regulations, while incorporating those factors which are unique to the specific airport’s environment exceeding federal guidance.

Considering the above, for Kinney, effective airport emergency management “entails an empowered, proactive strategic group of planners and facilitators who organize resources, personnel, technology, facilities, business and community assets and capital through an organization structure of ICS to deliver the greatest level of resiliency of an airport, expediting the recovery from irregular events.”

A number of Veoci’s processes can help establish Kinney’s vision of a comprehensive, adaptable, and organized EMP that fosters resilience and proactivity.

User End Customizability

Veoci’s point-and-click customization reflects Kinney’s view that an EMP should address factors of the airport’s unique environment. Veoci’s easy-to-use interface allows administrators to build forms, design plans, define gradation among users, and develop escalations all through a drag-and-drop or point-and-click configuration. Without any IT or coding experience, administrators can custom-tailor their digital EMP to fit the specific needs of their airport. In addition, administrators don’t have to wait for a new release or call IT support to reconfigure the EMP to change or modify a plan.

Real Time Communication

“Real-time communication, or as close to it as possible, is necessary to reach every corner of your airport and even off-airport facilities impacted by an event.” (Kinney, 2016,p. 22)

Kinney identifies real-time communication during an emergency as critical for a successful EMP. Veoci is built around an internal real-time communication engine. With a private chat feature for individual users, or a virtual room for groups communication, Veoci prepares airport staff to be in constant communication during an emergency.

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-4-48-14-pmAn effective EMP encompasses every aspect of the airport organization. It is impossible to have every member of these organizations, or even a representative from each, in a physical room especially during a time-sensitive emergency. Veoci supports seamless and structured communication through virtual rooms, or workspaces, where users can communicate across departments to share time-critical information without being constrained to a physical space. Partitioning your airport departments in side-rooms has the added benefits of security and organization. Within these virtual rooms or workspaces members of every department can upload relevant images or videos, track the progress of a plan, or communicate interdepartmentally.screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-4-51-29-pm

Veoci empowers executives or stakeholders who may not even be at the airport during the time of the emergency to be completely up to date and track to progress of the response as it happens in real time.

Organizational Structure

Non-first responders, who will otherwise be left in a ‘gray area’, need clear roles during an emergency. Airport employees who are non-first responders are often left out of the EMP picture, which can add to the disorganization and pandemonium of an emergency. With Veoci, anyone with a smartphone and a login to the system can be given real-time information about an emergency. Pre-made customizable plans can be launched at the click of a button to prompt users to follow a checklist–clarifying and directing everyone’s role in emergency response.

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-4-45-41-pmVeoci also empowers administrators to assign roles to groups of employees, and customize extensive plans for all kinds of emergencies before they happen. For example, in the event of an aircraft accident, administrators can push email, text SMS, or phone calls to anyone included in the airport emergency plan–including those who may be off-airport.

Veoci can help airport managers and executives transform their emergency management program from reactive to proactive. Through predetermined forms, plans, workflows, virtual rooms, and an internal real-time chat, your airport can be innovator in the EMP field.

2016: A Year of Rapid Growth for Veoci with No Sign of Stopping

Say what you will about 2016, but here at Veoci, we are celebrating a year of growth and success. We have surpassed 100 customers and we closed the year with a 100% growth YOY. As our customer base expands, so does our diverse team as we gained along with new people, new and unique expertise to aid in the development of new and exciting use cases. Our attendance at Trade Shows has been particularly exhilarating – the crowds at our booths are testimony to the BEST solution for your complete Emergency Management needs – from planning, triage, plan execution, and finally review and improvement.

Expanding past Emergency Management, our users are discovering in Veoci the winning concept of a fixed-price SaaS platform with which an organization can replace tens of applications while also digitizing many processes that still used Excel spreadsheets or one-of standalone applications. Under the hood, Veoci is a powerful no-code application development platform with integrated communications developed with know how from tens of thousands of processes across just about every business domain.

Our diversity is another source of pride for Veoci and the State of Connecticut recognized that, granting us a Connecticut Diversity Certificate. Our New Haven office is bustling with excitement as another year is sure to bring more opportunities for growth and positive change for both our team and organizations who are looking to make 2017 a more safe and proactive year.
 

Welcome New Customers:

Veoci is proud to team up with the many organization that came on board in 2016. 2016 has been a year of travel, shaking hands, building relationships and pioneering amazing solutions and with each new sale, the team feels a new burst of motivation to keep going and keep growing.

Here are a few of our 2016 wins:

 

Aviation

  • DFW: Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport – We are thrilled to have the 4th largest airport in the country, and the 10th largest in the world, as our customer. DFW uses Veoci to conduct Part 139 and daily inspections, manage, map and query work
    orders, prepare for FAA inspections, create checklists of duties for each staff member, create automatic reminders for staff members, map wildlife on our interactive maps, conduct wildlife reports, and push them to the National Wildlife Database, and integrate with the Digital NOTAM System to access logged NOTAM’s.
  • PDX: Port of Portland – The Port of Portland organization is responsible for overseeing the #30 busiest Portland International Airport, and Hillsboro and Troutdale Airports. Veoci will help the three airports digitize their Part 139 Operations inspections, Part 139 work order management, wildlife management, operations and daily activity logs, dashboards to organize all information and integration with a number of other systems for weather and flight tracking.

 

Government:

  • City of Des Plaines – After Lake County, our first municipal customer in the Chicago metro area. Veoci is well underway in breaking into major cities, but with our Regional Director for the Midwest being a Chicago native, and a diehard Cubs fan, this deal was a home run.

 

Corporations

  • Celanese Corporation – Celanese is a Fortune 500 chemical and materials company with 35 plants around the world. Celanese’s Environmental, Health and Safety group purchased Veoci for incident management coordination and communication for their headquarters in Irving, Texas, as well as their international manufacturing facilities, and for notification of the company’s 7,500 global employees.

 

Utility

  • MidAmerican Energy – MidAmerican Energy, a Berkshire Hathaway company, based in Des Moines, Iowa, services almost two-thirds of Iowa, as well as portions of Illinois, South Dakota, and Nebraska. MidAmerican will use Veoci to manage emergencies and major incidents and run drills in preparation for emergencies.

 

Higher Education

  • University of Central Florida – What’s even cooler than UCF signing with Veoci is that they jumped into action and began using Veoci to respond to Hurricane Matthew, just days after purchasing. UCF utilized Veoci for real-time messaging, tracking of campus statuses, and information sharing as they kept people up to date on weather forecasts while pulling in NOAA prediction data into Veoci. 
  • Claremont Consortium – Claremont Colleges is a consortium of five undergraduate – Scripps, Pomona, Pitzer, Harvey Mudd, and Claremont McKenna –  and two graduate institutions, Claremont Graduate University and Keck Graduate Institute. They will use Veoci to unify and facilitate communication between all 7 campuses by logging and mapping events and incidents, creating automatic reminders and updates, managing crucial assets, creating customized contact lists for check-in calls and storing all information in one central database.

 

Software Enhancements

Our team began Agile development 15 years ago at a time when Agile was not even a word to describe rapid software development. The two-week production release cycle is deeply embedded in our culture. Clearly, just releasing a new version every two weeks is not success – it is doing so to meet customer needs, manage security, keep up quality with serious regression testing, making sure performance never suffers and MOST IMPORTANTLY, always backward compatible. (“Can’t be breaking old stuff while adding new stuff”, as they say).

All Development is for naught unless the system is secure and safe from malicious attacks. For Veoci, Security is always #1. Security gets 100% attention. Hosted by Amazon Web Services in the Cloud, and architected with TOTAL encryption end to end, Veoci offers a level of security difficult for standalone on-premise software to match. We are gratified that a Qualys SSL test grades us at A+.

 

Working with our Customers:

We derive value when our customers use the new features and functions. Of course it helps that the features they are seeing may have been requested often as little as a week ago!
Our solutions team works closely with our customers for implementation and continuous improvement. With a two-week cycle of new features and functions, the challenge is to keep our customers informed and to help them take advantage of these improvements. With regular seminars and emails, our team works hard to keep our customers updated. Our customers also pick up on our continuous software development process and do the same with how they use VEOCI.

 

For 2016 we made a extra attempt in a few areas of VEOCI:

> Mobile App – Mobile app usage continues to increase and is now 50% of our usage

> Navigation – What shows up on an automatically personalized masthead

> User Interface – We now have 100% colorblind-friendly palettes

> Communication – Exciting. Call us. Notify one, notify ten thousand. Conference calls.

> Google Maps – Google Maps continues to astound us with improvements

> Dashboards – Veoci was built for real-time view of the world and we have an incredibly exciting improvement that we are in the process of filing a patent on.

> Workflows – Our experience with workflow automation extends to tens of thousands of work processes. We have some improvement in workflows every two weeks.

> The Cardwall – Show your assets, resources and rearrange them for time slots or other variables just as you would by manually moving post-it notes on a wall.

> Integrations with external systems – Many of our customers have single sign on systems and we offer an easy and rapid integration (our secret sauce: our team has been developing authentication methods for fifteen years).

 

Events

We continue to increase our participation in major events in our field, not only to exhibit our product to potential customers but to meet and spend time with current customers.

 

Trade Shows – From our first time at the International Air Safety Summit in Dubai, to revisiting some favorites like the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) in Houston and the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) in Savannah, feedback relayed back to New Haven was nothing but positive. One word: Gratifying.

 

Urban Shield – Veoci is proud to have participated in an event as valuable as Urban Shield. Urban Shield is a 48-hour, planned training exercise that began in 2007 for regional fire departments, medical services and local, state, federal and international first responder and law enforcement teams to prepare for and provide a unified response to disasters. Four medical checkpoints were assembled, fully equipped with volunteers, doctors, nurses, and all necessary medical supplies. The Veoci team trained volunteers on how to enter heart rate, breathing, blood pressure and other medical information into Veoci where volunteers at the next checkpoint can access it by simply scanning the patient’s badge, making it better prepared for the arrival of the next team. Click here to read more about our participation in Urban Shield.

 

2016: A Busy Year

As you can see, we’ve had a busy year. With each new sale, renewal, product enhancement or event we attend, we continue to improve VEOCI, ensuring that it is the best tool to aid airports, airlines, universities, hospitals, healthcare systems, enterprises and governments in their preparation for, response to and recovery from emergencies and for daily use in managing operations and incidents.

Missing from photo: Naina Rana, Mike Heaton, Vincent Jessel, Shaleah Williams, Chance Jackson, Molly Zeff, Kaustav Mitra, DaLee Kicker, Matt Wilson, Ray Konareski, Alex Nguyen, Richard Smith 

Epidemic Management: Responding to Zika, or any Disease, in a Virtual EOC

screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-1-42-07-pmWith over 4,000 cases of Zika in the U.S alone, Zika is no longer a problem only for those who have visited South America recently. As the threat has become more and more pressing, hospitals and public health systems across the country are receiving grants and looking for the most efficient and effective way to manage Zika.

A similar process was taking place back in the spring of 2015 as Ebola outbreaks were spreading and shaking up the health care system. Yale New Haven Health System teamed up with Veoci to create a “Playbook for Disasters” as a real-time solution to manage Ebola preparedness, drills and responses to suspected outbreaks. Click here to read about our Ebola playbook with YNHHS-CEPDR.

The features that make the playbook successful are features that Veoci is proud to share with hospitals for just about any type of crisis or disease outbreak. Many hospitals and public health systems are turning to a virtual EOC to streamline their preparedness and response processes, provide full visibility and centralize all communication and data on one, single platform.

Bringing Everyone onto the Central Information Hub

Public health officials are faced with the task of coordinating information with local, state, federal and even international organizations that are tracking the same disease. Healthcare providers, hospitals, other local/county agencies and private sector organizations are geographically scattered, but are instantly united in a virtual EOC in times where immediate, real-time communication is key.

  • Share messages, pictures, videos, files, and locations instantly in a real-time chat room and integrate with your emails
  • Send alerts and notifications across all departments for reminders, urgent messages or check-in requests
  • Create custom forms on a drag-and-drop template and automatically generate reports to collect relevant data
  • View all high-level information from a customizable dashboard
  • Stay connected and access all features from anywhere via our mobile app for iOS and Android

Activating a Plan: Preparing for Zika

Prior to a case of Zika or any major disease ever appearing in your county, health care officials need to have a preparedness plan that is tailored to their unique processes.

  • At the click of a button, assign tasks and workflows as you track progress each step of the way to completion
  • Instantly access and review automatically generated reports and dashboard information for quick decision making

Mapping and Tracking Data Visually

In order for a plan to activate and unfold smoothly, key people, assets and resources must be ready and in place.

  • Enter preexisting demographic data and map people, resources and assets as well as their condition and current status with color-coded icons on a digital, interactive GIS map
  • Share map access with the public and media to ensure valuable information is shared with those who need to know

Security Measures to Protect Data

With critical and sensitive data, security is everything.

  • Ensure HIPAA compliance and industrial grade security
  • Compartmented information with different access levels to ensure certain information is only accessible by those authorized

One Stop Shop

Maintaining an up-to-date one stop shop for all communication, data collection, reports, your paperless paper trail of customized forms related to Zika, all maps showing assets and demographics data, and, of course, your means of instant notification during an emergency, ensures that the response team feels more prepared to respond collaboratively across departments and sectors. And after the response is over, you now have a full record of every action and exchange that took place. For those who want a streamlined, efficient response to any crisis or outbreak that may arise, paper is out and virtual communication and response centers are in.