Jon AlperinApril 09, 2020

Supporting EMS Readiness for COVID-19 with Avaya Spaces

I’ve been with Avaya for almost two decades, currently serving as Director of our A.I. Connect and DevConnect Ecosystems. I love the work I do, helping companies all over the world use Avaya technology to build disruptive services and create Experiences that Matter. In my personal life, I’m a New Jersey-certified emergency medical technician (EMT) and Lieutenant of my local first aid squad. About a month ago, I found myself on the frontline of what has become the global COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. At the time of this blog being published, New Jersey is the second-highest state in the U.S. with COVID-19 cases.

Daily life as we know it has changed--at least temporarily--as the U.S. and governments worldwide take drastic steps to avoid overrunning our healthcare systems. As a healthcare provider and first responder, I hope everyone continues to practice social distancing and sheltering at home. Even among my own EMS team, we’re finding it necessary to maintain social distance even when conducting our normal activities in order to ensure we’re prepared to serve the emergency medical needs of our community. It is also part of my responsibility as a squad officer to make sure our volunteers are properly trained, stay current on their skills, and understand all of the operating rules, regulations and medical protocols that need to be followed.

Avaya Spaces in Action

As of March 16, social gatherings have been limited to no more than 10 people (my first aid squad consists of 30) and we expect it to continue through June or later. We needed to make sure our squad members are properly trained, but we didn’t want to inadvertently contaminate our pool of resources. Being an Avaya employee, I quickly took action by equipping my first aid squad with our cloud-based video and team collaboration app, Avaya Spaces. That next day, in lieu of what would have been our scheduled in-person meeting, we used Avaya Spaces to conduct our review of personal protective equipment, decontamination best practices, changes to our patient protocols and more.

My team was able to seamlessly video conference with the ability to share PowerPoint content, live and recorded videos, and their own PC desktops in real-time. We could chat, share critical information and more in a persistent cloud-based “space” that allowed us to stay engaged and pick up conversations anytime from any device, wherever we were. Members who couldn’t make the meeting were able to log in and watch a recording of the conversation with access to everything shared via persistent chat. They’d never have to worry about the information disappearing or having to disrupt another team member, especially if we were out in the field.

Avaya Is Here to Help

A lot of great companies are offering a lot of great solutions right now as organizations scramble to transition to a virtual business model, but Avaya Spaces is so much more than just a “video conferencing” or “screen-sharing” solution. The ability to create persistent cloud “spaces” in which you can assign tasks, follow up, even create smaller focused workgroups with participants both within and outside the organization to maintain robust, long-term engagement has been very useful as we balance between COVID-19 response actions and our normal, ongoing need to manage resources and equipment. Avaya Spaces contrasts with solutions that just offer quick meeting capabilities and then forces users to go back to the typical complexities of information sharing: private emails, one-on-one and scheduled conference calls, unmanaged file attachments, and so forth.

For some work environments, a simple video and meetings solution does the job. For care team coordination during a global pandemic, the additional benefits provided by Avaya Spaces has been invaluable. The ability to quickly disseminate critical changes in protocols, securely centralize information, provide status updates and more as we’ve needed to work on the frontlines of this crisis has certainly given us new tools to serve our community and ensure we deliver the best outcomes possible.

Even in EMS (or perhaps especially in EMS), it’s been necessary to social distance so that we can do what we do best. While I’m personally willing to walk out the door to help my community as a first responder, I want to mitigate every risk possible for my own safety and that of my crew. It’s my added responsibility to look at alternative ways for my team to communicate and collaborate. For us, the ability to connect, share and engage without disruption while slowing the spread of COVID-19 is tremendous.

At the end of the day, if there’s a silver lining in the current situation, it’s that technology exists so that even if we have to physically distance ourselves, we don’t have to give up completely interacting with each other--be it for virtual family game night, taking care of daily business, or in my case continuing to serve my community with life-saving emergency medical services.

Avaya is passionate about helping those who are dealing with this pandemic. We’re currently offering Avaya Spaces free to help organizations around the world respond to COVID-19. Learn more about how to sign up for your free subscription to Avaya Spaces.

Supporting EMS Readiness for COVID-19 with Avaya Spaces

Jon Alperin

Jon Alperin leads the Avaya DevConnect program—Avaya's global developer and technology partner program—leveraging a background as an application developer, solution architect, and product manager for the telecom and high-tech industries. Since joining Avaya in 2001, he has also supported the company with roles in corporate strategy, marketing and alliance development.

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