Ever since geographical information systems began working their way into police and fire departments across the country, city administrators have used the tool to keep critical information about the buildings in their jurisdiction at the ready, any time emergency responders need to access them. For those blueprints and maps to be useful, they need to be updated. Often.
Alex Bellak is the GIS administrator for the city of Troy, Michigan. Until he found San Francisco-based Resilio Inc., he updated maps, floor plans and information about hazardous material for the city’s buildings via the “sneakernet,” — manually loading software updates onto thumb drives, and then installing the updates truck by truck. That was a cumbersome technique.
“At any time during the day, those vehicles could be out responding to an incident,” Bellak says. “Sending out an individual with flash drives is problematic, because you never knew what vehicles would be in the fire stations at what time.”
Bellak needed a better way. But first, he had to decide whether to rely on a cloud-based file sharing infrastructure or some kind of local platform. The cloud was out, he decided. The data was too sensitive and the cloud too prone to security problems.
Enter Resilio Connect. The peer-to-peer file distribution software is now installed throughout the fire department’s computers and its fleet of vehicles.
“The great thing about Resilio Connect is that it’s real-time updating,” Bellak says. It was also easy to deploy and easy to scale. His computers push out about 7 gigabytes of data at once, and 13,000 individual files. “At any one time, if one of those computers isn’t available or off the network, as soon as it gets back on the network it immediately continues the updating process without locking or corrupting the data. For us, it was head and shoulders above the other products. It’s really a turnkey solution.”