November 19, 2019 by Ben Ansell

Designing ViQi: Public Safety’s Virtual Assistant

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Industries: 9-1-1 and Law Enforcement

Topics: Application Services APX Two-way Radios & Accessories Artificial Intelligence Public Safety Applications

Designing ViQi: Public Safety’s Virtual AssistantWhether it’s asking Siri to find the best restaurants in the area or requesting Alexa add paper towels to our shopping list, we’ve entered into an era of virtual assistants. They’ve rapidly become a part of our lifestyle, streamlining our daily tasks. But what about public safety? Given that public safety users are already very focused on voice communication, the idea of a voice-enabled virtual assistant for first responders – ready for the unique challenges and needs of public safety – is a logical next step.

Enter ViQi – a hyper-intelligent virtual assistant purpose-built for public safety workflows. Working together with responders, dispatchers and technicians, we designed ViQi to help cut through the day-to-day “noise” and ensure public safety personnel stay safe and focused when it matters most.

“In public safety, you’re always using your hands,” remarked Adam Brickeen, Communications and IT Security Chief with the Real Time Crime Center in New Orleans. “The less you have to use your hands on your radio, the more you can stay focused.” 

With this in mind, we introduced ViQi Voice Control – enabling officers to operate their APX NEXT radio with their voice. Now, switching channels and zones, adjusting the volume and changing audio profiles is a simple as pressing the ViQi button and speaking into the mic. 

“Using the voice control was just so much easier,” commented Michael Zollars, a Lieutenant with the Spokane Valley Police Department. “I can just say ‘ViQi volume five’ and be done with it. I can adjust the volume with the ViQi control and it was just so much easier.”

Beyond voice controls, ViQi provides information to the field – fast. With a press of the ViQi button and a voice command prompt, officers are able to run queries just like they would with traditional dispatch. Today ViQi can run the most frequent, high-volume searches—drivers’ licenses, license plates and vehicle identification numbers. And responders are already suggesting new applications for ViQi – including taking notes and translating foreign languages. Ultimately, with ViQi, technology is able to do what it does best – crunch data and provide intelligence – while freeing dispatchers and officers to do what they do best – make critical decisions and maintain focus.

Unlike traditional consumer-grade virtual assistants, ViQi was built purposefully for public safety – designed for accuracy, safety and instinctive usability. With insights from first responders, she has been trained to recognize the vocabulary of law enforcement. She can be optimized for each agency with unique terminology including ten-codes, acronyms and abbreviations. ViQi is designed to help officers stay focused on their surroundings, because whether you are changing channels with your hands or your voice, every interaction should be as natural and effortless as possible.

With ViQi at their side, it’s faster and easier for public safety officers to run routine database queries and operate their radio. Dispatchers can stay focused on responding to the most critical situations. And critical intelligence is moved to the field, faster than ever.

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