Watson Consoles Blog

Feb 28, 2018 High Performance Environment, Before You Buy, Future-Proof

The lesser-known benefits of investing in “special” dispatch console desks

The lesser known benefits of investing in specialized dispatch consolesIf you are not directly involved with staffing a 911 communications center, you likely do not realize the challenges cities face to retain telecommunicators. Providing the right tools for the job, including specialized dispatcher desks, is one way Comm Centers prioritize community safety, and protect public funding from the high spend associated with higher-than-average turnover. 

Why should a 911 agency invest in "special" dispatch desks?

In part one we shared that this is a question we receive periodically. More so, we have seen public, online discussions about city funding that directly challenge spending for specialized 911 operator desks. There has been hearty push-back from constituents who may not fully understand the job requirements and view these console desks as a luxury.

What many people don't know is that with the highest level of turnover in the public safety sector, 911 centers spend a higher than average piece of their budget on recruitment, training and retention. The right tools for the job help mitigate the pain points that drive 911 dispatchers to seek an alternative career path.  

dispatching has the highest churn of any role within the public safety sector

Take a quick moment to catch up on part one and learn about

  • Three primary user groups that benefit from specialty dispatch consoles
    • Operator
    • IT Technician
    • Facilities Manager
  • Operator pain points
  • The financial impact to the agency when operator needs are not met
  • How specialized dispatch furniture promotes satisfaction and cost savings

In this post, we reveal pain points and solutions for the IT  Technician and Facilities Manager. They have different concerns than those of the Operator. You'll find the impact to the agency is often in the form of over-time pay, service down-time, inaccessibility, compliance and safety issues.

IT pain-points include shorter equipment life

Role: IT Manager and Technicians

Sectors: 911 Dispatcher, Campus Police Dispatch, Emergency Management Monitoring

Work Requirements Summary:  IT Techs at these agencies must keep systems running smoothly to avoid critical failure and down-time. Common causes of disrupted service include signal interference, improper power supply, tangled and disengaged cables, equipment over-heating, and difficult to access PC and equipment.           

PAIN POINT

IMPACT ON IT

IMPACT ON AGENCY

­CONSOLE WORKSTATION SOLUTION

STANDARD DESK SOLUTION

Damaged Cables

Replacing and rerouting cables.

Position downtime, cost of replacement cables.

poor cable mangement costs agencies extra dollars

Carefully designed cable management with cable relief clips and ample capacity.

Off-the-shelf cable channels, typically no solution.

Equipment overheats

Extended troubleshooting and maintenance, switch to redundant systems.

Overtime for IT, critical communications disruption, down-time.

Active cooling system floods PCs with cool air and evacuates warm air from the cabinet.

cabinets with extra cooling extends the life of PCs and equipment

None

Cramped surface space

Ancillary equipment does not have a permanent and convenient location.

Damage to equipment when bumped, moved, pushed to give operator necessary work space.

Expanded work zone, Cable Bridge, Hubs, Tech Cabinet and Monitor array mounting options means PCs and other equipment are kept free and clear of interference.

None

No space for shared resources

Inconvenient, takes space intended for other equipment.

messy 3.jpg

Operators do not have right tools for the job, shared resources are located away from view of primary workspace.

Mounting areas between stations accommodate extra monitors, status lights, and binders without displacing the operator and IT has open access for maintenance and care.

None

Large monitor arrays requirements

Can require lengthy service times and can be time consuming to replace individual monitors.

Position downtime, damaged equipment and inadequate ergonomics.

High capacity monitor arrays that are designed to support and organize up to 12 large format displays and manage relevant cables.

Can typically only accommodate 6 monitors and are prone to damage.

Limited access to equipment, cramped access

Reaching through or behind equipment and working on hands and knees.

Can cause on-the-job injuries to IT and can cause a position to be down for extended periods.

180- to 360-degree access provide IT techs with useful working space and allows operators to remain in working position

180 degree access to technology reduces position downtime

N/A

User access to computer hardware

Poses security threat to system

Poses security threat to system

Lockable CPU cabinets with dedicated mice/keyboard ports accessible at the worksurface

None


Facility managers want consoles that stand-up to 24/7 use

Role: Facility Manager

Sectors: 911 Dispatcher, Campus Police Dispatch, Emergency Management Monitoring

Work Requirements Summary: Facility managers in these agencies are tasks to spend frugally; keep workstations in good working order for a minimum of ten years, meet state and agency requirements for operator safety, health and wellness; be the expert on ADA guidelines for accessibility in and around the workstations; monitor power and data pull; general building and asset fire and bodily safety, and security.

PAIN POINT

IMPACT ON FACILITY

IMPACT ON AGENCY

­CONSOLE WORKSTATION SOLUTION

STANDARD DESK SOLUTION

Damaged or inoperable furniture

Time consuming, requires troubleshooting

May need to purchase replacement parts.

Robust product and extended warranty & service terms.

3-year warranty, service excluded.

Heavy use for 24/7 shifts

3 to 4 times the wear and tear on the furniture

Furniture must be replaced more frequently, is more susceptible to daily-use wear and damage.

Built and tested for 24/7 use and 40,000+ use cycles.

video-tradeshow demo

Designed for conventional office environments; not rated for shift-work.

Safety – cable entanglement

Operator work-stop, and requires maintenance time

L&I, down-time, staffing shortage, cost to repair/remedy.

Dedicated cable channels keep data and power cables secure, away from the operator’s feet and passerby entanglement.

Noneconsole desks provide comprehensive cable management

Safety – operator pinch-point

Operator work-stop, and requires maintenance time

L&I, down-time, staffing shortage, cost to repair/remedy.

Tested to meet or exceed BIFMA standards for safety; UL 962 full-workstation certification for safety.

Single unit safety tested; no additional requirement when combining with support storage under, or next to, the desk.

Safety – power

Overloaded circuits

Down-time, cost to remedy.

Grounded work stations secure and guard the power draw.

integrated ground protects your electronic systems

None + additional risk when combining user-supplied heat, air, lighting.

 911 employees ALSO desire additional wellness features and programs

Healthy body positioning is important to facility and comm center managers concerned with safety and scheduling. Dispatch desks that adjust reduce injury and the challenges associated with absenteeism. Sometimes team leaders struggle to motivate users to 1) get the most out of the equipment features, and 2) incorporate general movement into the day.

Download this free resource to help your teams benefit from small movement including daily console desk adjustment.

I want a dispatch console desk + I need to purchase on budget

When selecting work stations for 911 dispatch, campus police, and emergency management teams, get to know the

  1. Functional requirements of the three primary user groups 
  2. Extended value the product and manufacturer provide

This information helps ensure that your agency receives an asset that benefits users by increasing focus and reducing body stress AND protects equipment, keeping it secure and at optimal temperature.

Remember the benefits of choosing dispatch console desk (aka dispatch workstation, command and control console furniture, technology desk) are valuable to people and agencies. The right work station can contribute to

  • More efficient call-response times
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Fewer call-outs
  • Lower L&I claims
  • Equipment cost savings
  • Reduction in technician overtime
  • Lower churn

When a selection and procurement team fully understands the need and long-term payoff that dispatch consoles provide, especially beyond a standard desk, they can make decisions without fear of wasteful spending.

Does sending the purchase to bid mean you’ll get the best value?

We know one way agencies monitor and guard against overspending is by sending their request to bid. The intention is to be sure that the agency receives the features they need at the best price and without "sales" bias. While this process can prove beneficial, some agencies find they end up with a sub-par solution.

If “cost” is weighted more in the bid review and the lowest bid wins, the agency may find they aren't actually getting the best value for the dollar.

Tip: Include "extended benefits" in your RFPTIP: If your parent agency is sending furniture to bid, suggest that “extended benefits” are included as part of the criteria.

Be informed to make decisions without fear of wasteful spending

Food for thought

Several blogs, with third party references, speak to some of the specific pain points that are unique to 24/7 mission critical and security monitoring. The two most critical categories include 1) operator focus and strain and 2) technology disruption. These blogs may be accessed on our website.

For additional information about the unique engineering and functional strength of console workstations, and the comparison with commercial desks, read Part 2 of the materials and construction series, titled Which is the best material for my dispatch console, wood or steel?

Lastly, the Shop Wisely series guides new procurement teams through the reasons that certain features are important for security and mission critical monitoring teams and how the right furniture investment delivers value beyond the furniture itself. These benefits include healthier teams, more efficient response times, and reduced churn:

Share this free e-guide with your purchasing team.

It provides guidance about asking questions and discovering features that will positively impact the users and agency.

Click here and get the guide. 


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And check out our blogs. You'll discover more information about the stress impact on dispatchers and ways to recover and make your comm center a more peaceful place to work.