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Watson Consoles Blog

With thoughtful research you can stretch your budget and give teams what they need to be comfortable, focused and productive. Furniture provides value beyond the basic features sets. Your dispatcher workstations, desks, conference and training room tables can influence mood, team dynamics and the public’s perception of your organization. Learn how you can up the ROI on your dispatch consoles and commercial furniture purchase.

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“I wish selecting dispatch furniture was easier. How do I keep the operator’s happy and the consoles within budget?” "How do I get more bang for the buck?” ...Sourcing complex technology furniture can be a challenge. You CAN have it all. Learn why some features matter more than others and discover long-term payoffs that you may not have thought about.

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During her nearly three-decade career as a front line telecommunicator, Laura’s passion for the job waned. More recently, things had gotten worse. She was short with callers and impatient with coworkers. Her daily attitude, usually positive and upbeat, turned sourer each day. 

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In our post, Simplify Your Data Management Solution, we addressed the need for separate cable channels for video and data to mitigate signal interference. Another signal interference risk to your dispatch center communications system may come from unintentional radio frequency contamination. Here’s what you should know.

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Winter is nearly upon us. Did you know that as many as 4 of 6 people experience the effects of "winter blues"? For 911 dispatchers dealing with high-stress calls, the added strain of dreary skies can take a toll. Here are some tips and resources for battling the darker days of winter.

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Did you know that the aesthetic impact of 911 dispatch furniture can have a lasting effect on your team? That effect - good or bad - influences focus, efficiency, comfort and, ultimately, a center's churn rate. And the ripples of your purchase impact the economy. Learn how your single 911 dispatch furniture purchase can do so much.

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Now through June 2021, if you are part of a Department of Defense agency, your group can receive discounts on Watson Consoles’ height-adjustable desks and technology furniture. Watson Consoles is the proud recipient of the Navy BPA, Spiral III awarded for work surfaces, workstations, computer furniture and accessories as outlined under Watson Furniture Group’s GSA agreement.

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A compelling and passionately communicated vision can change the world. President Kennedy put a man on the moon and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream inspired hundreds of thousands. Communications Center managers may not be sending rockets into space, but their vision can have a similarly inspirational effect. 

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The answer is BOTH! In the previous installment, we shared the myth of wood inferiority, the reason that the mis-information about wood-core materials has come up more frequently, and the true value of blended materials manufacturing of dispatch consoles. Now, discover why wood and steel - together - provide lasting durability and superior aesthetics for 24/7 shift-work teams. 

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You may have been recently misled with a false claim. The pitch may have gone something like this: “I understand your agency is planning to replace your consoles... ...That’s great news. As you consider your options, you should really stay away from the wood-based products. Steel is so much more sturdy! You need a console that is built to last and wood can’t do the job.”

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Cold and flu season is nearly upon us. Experts agree that you are most at risk for catching (and sharing) viral infections between October and May. When your team is committed to front-line community help, keeping sick days at bay is a necessity. Making sure your dispatch console clean is one way you can guard against the spread of cold and flu germs. 

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USB chargers are everywhere. In fact, they have become more necessity than convenience. What’s great is that you can find them just about every place you need them - wall outlets and car panels and even airplane seats.You are probably most familiar with USB type-A – the standard. USB type-A connectors only plug in one way (which is most always never the way you try to plug it in the first time) and are big and bulky. The good news is that USB type-A has some competition. USB type-C is a technology that is gaining steam..

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As a heroic caregiver to the world, it’s easy to put others' needs first. This “putting others first” is a hallmark of 9-1-1 superheroes, who are committed to helping others both on and off the job. In many cases, however, this wonderful quality can stretch thin the most resilient caregiver. Identifying the hallmarks of happiness and prioritizing your own today can make it easier to weather the ups and downs without turning into Negative Nelly.

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If you are a dispatcher, you have one of the most stressful jobs out there. To be ready and focused for the next call, we know you can use all the help you can get!  Read on to better understand the powerful impact of scent on mood and productivity. And we'll share a great tip that we accidentally discovered while setting up for APCO.

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Daniel Sundahl's evocative image, above, communicates the emotional stress Dispatcher's encounter on a regular basis. Last week, at APCO, the Watson team had the privilege of hearing stories from dispatchers and other first responder teams. We were again reminded how passionate, proud and strong your teams are.

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In this installment, you’ll learn steps you can take at your agency to create a culture of problem-solving. And you’ll learn to identify and work-through common roadblocks. Read on and discover how you can be part of a lasting and meaningful shift at your agency.

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Don't think you'll be there to shop?

Based on the average PSAP funding cycle, if your center hasn't purchased new console furniture within the last 7 to 10 years, it's time to consider your console options. When funding becomes available, having familiarity with console models and features eases the buying process. 

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In PSAPs and operations centers across the country, “the way we’ve always done it,” is no longer a viable business practice. Entire organizations, from the top-down and the bottom-up, are devoted to uncovering novel approaches to solving challenges. Wouldn’t it be nice if the problems at your comm center solved themselves? 

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A New Name and a New Look

Formerly Watson Dispatch, our brand update is an extension of our renewed commitment to exemplary product design, manufacturing, and customer care. Visit watsonconsoles.com and take a tour.

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Did you know?

Compassion fatigue affects as many as eight out of ten 911 dispatchers.  Repeated exposure to second hand trauma while fielding emergency calls can take a toll on mental, emotional, and physical health. 

Michelle Perin shared her insight into compassion fatigue and the risk to 911 dispatchers in a 2012 Officer.com blog

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Why do some people thrive in the midst of daily challenges while others get taken out? Why can some people tolerate a tremendous amount of stress and others get sick? Resilience.

Resilience is the ability to bounce back in the face of hardship and adversity, and perform at your best on a consistent basis. Like a stress ball that returns to its original shape after being squeezed, the resilient recover more quickly when life’s pressures mount. Research has shown that dispatchers who are resilient feel more in control of their work and lives in general, use less sick time and are happier.

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Did you know?

Sitting for long periods stresses your joints, promotes back pain, reduces circulation, and increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes. If you are a PSAP dispatcher, or part of the 100 million+ Americans that work at a desk every day, you have a little extra work to do to keep your health on track. The good news is that increasing your NEAT can significantly improve your health. You might be wondering, "What is NEAT?"

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The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) 2016 building upgrade marked the move from 1980’s era counter tops with built-in monitoring to modern freestanding workstations. For the first time, WSDOT provides a complete ergonomic suite for users, the capability to house additional hardware and video screens, and easy access to technology for IT technicians. The improvements were long overdue for the Seattle team, who monitor a complex, multi-modal transportation system.

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The adjustment controls integrated into a dispatch console evolve just like the technology the console is designed to hold. The catalyst for change at the manufacturing level is typically related to updates in safety and ergo standards, and feedback from users related to comfort preferences. For the PSAP, seeking out new features may be inspired by dispatcher complaints about current features, a renovation, a move, fluctuation in staffing, or team consolidation. 

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Technology drives efficiency within the PSAP. In addition to making sure your center has the most current systems capability, it's important to consider how the hardware impacts your space. By now it’s a familiar refrain: as technology gets better, technology gets smaller. For PSAP centers, this is a good news/bad news scenario.

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Each year APCO (Association of Public Safety Communications Professionals) recognizes outstanding contributions within the PSAP community. This year they received more than 275 nominations in nine categories. We extend a special congratulations to our friends at Kitsap 9-1-1 and Pennington County 9-1-1. Their leadership and the dedication 

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PSAPs all over the country are experiencing similar challenges. Low staffing. High turnover. Mandatory overtime. Low morale. And it’s not only because they don’t have money to spend. Some centers offer starting pay above $80,000 per year and still can’t solve these problems.

The best comm centers, however, have cracked the code. Using a combination of tools and approaches, exemplary center managers have made their comm centers places where people want to work. 

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Communications team leaders experience some common pain points directly related to workspace impact on employee satisfaction. In a previously published blog, How the Best Comm Centers Motivate Their Front-Line Employees, Adam Timm discusses the negative impact of dissatisfaction on operations and suggests ways to change the tide.

However, not all change has to happen at once. There are small adjustments that will positively affect how people feel about being at work and support a healthy office environment.

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Soon we'll be heading into cold season. For many PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Points), the impact of cold and flu season on staffing is a recurring pain point. And for team members who are diligent about washing hands and dosing Zinc and C, the invisible contaminates they are exposed to at shift changes can derail their well-tuned health practices.  Communications center managers know a healthy workplace helps keep the team in-tact and operations running smoothly. Among communication’s centers, in the last few years there has been an increased interest in antimicrobial work surface

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From June 3-8, the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) will host their annual conference and expo. This is your chance to learn why your console workstation choice is an important building block for a high performance PSAP.  This crucial support tool is worth checking out and here's why....

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Technology has done wonders for the PSAP industry, allowing safety centers to respond quicker, more proactively, and more accurately. It’s improved everything from phone calls to radio communication, and made emergency vehicles trackable via GPS. And without exception, these new technologies require a data cable and a connection to the Internet. As the number of technologies helping to facilitate exceptional public safety has grown, the number of data cables and connection points has grown with it. Unless PSAP centers give serious thought to the problems associated with increased cabling

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In the spirit of Earth Day (belated), the Watson Consoles team participated in the second Watson dumpster dive.  We learned that simple improvements to our disposal habits will have high impact on both the bottom line and the health of the oceans, streams and forests we love. Our findings might inspire you to think about your trash differently, too.

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Your emergency response center is a critical hub for community health and safety deployment. To do your job, you rely on a complex network of software, supported by hardware that connects to the building power. The electronic equipment you rely on faces three major power-interruption dangers: lightning, static electricity discharge, and electric al surges. Improperly grounded equipment can be damaged, data can be lost, and the vital services that you provide can be disrupted.

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Technology evolution continues to be a large part of planning and maintaining efficient PSAPs and Operations Centers. Over the past few years we have seen an increased need to provide immediate monitor array solutions that will also work for imminent upgrades. Here are a few of the top questions our customers ask:

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As our collective pursuit of ever healthier work environments carries on, I wanted to take a moment and summarize Watson’s perspective and learnings on the controversial topic of treadmills at your dispatch console.  Since the early 90’s, we have designed our products to encourage healthy lifestyles and adopted many of the best practices as part of our core culture and it came as a surprise to many that we took a skeptical (and practical) stance on treadmill desks.

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What does ‘Future-Proof’ mean?

At the highest level, the concept of future-proofing is to design a product in such a way that it is unlikely to become obsolete.  In reality, very few, if any products are truly future-proof; however, a manufacturer’s commitment to the principles of future-proofing can drastically extend the life of a given product. The factors for determining the usable life vary from product to product and depend in large part to external factors. 

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If you work in a PSAP you know all about the battle of the thermostat. There is a regular struggle between the folks that are too hot and the ones that are too cold. Environmental controls that regulate cool air flow and heat are the best solution for keeping front line emergency dispatchers comfortable and actively focused during shift work.  Let's take a quick look at the options available, the applications, and important things to keep in mind about environmental controls when purchasing new consoles.

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Do I need ergonomic nosing on my dispatch console?

A customer recently asked me about a blog post they read that focused on “ergonomics in the public safety dispatch center” and sited “ergonomic nosing” as an important feature for their dispatch consoles.

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Watson Consoles - Mercury Piezo Technology from Watson on Vimeo.

Linak’s Piezo anti-collision technology is now a standard feature included on all Mercury consoles. The new leg system increases product safety and reduces risk of property damage. The built-in Piezo sensoris highly sensitive and reacts quickly to hard obstructions when raising or lowering the worksurface. No additional programming is required by the user.

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Your manufacturer should provide detailed print or video media to help your teams fully utilize their new technology furniture assets. Take a minute to learn about the great user features built into our Mercury consoles.

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Mercury is a natural fit for Northwestern University's state of the art Dispatch & Communications center. This compact center was designed from the ground up to incorporate the latest in PSAP technology including fully adjustable Mercury Dispatch consoles.

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