The US Forest Service Fire and Aviation Management chartered a committee in August 2011 -Mobile Technologies Integration into Fire and Aviation Management committee. The following mobile strategy recommendations are a result of the Committee’s established test group surveys, informal field feedback and conference notes.
Recommendations for CIOs core objectives 1, 4, 5 and 6:
1.The integration of mobile devices into the Fire and Aviation workforce has already occurred – via use of personal devices. The obvious power of mobile technologies has been demonstrated primarily through their ability for real time data transfer. Emerging tracking and situational awareness technologies enhance safety. These mobile technologies allow for more informed decisions, and reduce the risk of injury to our personnel working in remote and dangerous environments. Mobile Technologies Integration committee is formally testing mobile devices and developing recommendations for applications which can enhance employee performance in fire and aviation management.
4.As fire and aviation management is not agency specific and involves many stakeholders, the importance of an interagency base is paramount. Developing an interagency collaboration platform, such as Forge.mil, would provide a ‘sandbox’ which would increase coordination amongst stakeholders and information transfer. This type of platform would involve all levels of stakeholders in order to take advantage of field level innovation and provide an established conduit between operational users, program developers and managers to ensure development and integration of app. technologies in tandem with specific field need. Project duplication and limited dispersal of advances in mobile technologies would be reduced as well.
This platform should also host a mobile app. repository. This repository would be a central place for employees to recommend, rate and share any applications that are relevant to their specific areas. Application use and needs could be determined based off of employee ratings and comments as well. A web-based forum such as this would require heavy monitoring and excellent promotion within fire operational fields.
Incorporation of training within this platform could keep up with new and improving technology and avoid cumbersome course developments – instead focusing on flexible training and knowledge materials that appeal to the growing mobile work force.
5.FS Fire and Aviation Mgmt strategy to foster collaboration is tied in with Objective 4. To accelerate mobility of the Fire and Aviation mgmt. workforce, a BYOD concept is recommended, where the MDM subset is chosen to worry about the data and not the device. This would allow for more flexibility in app. development and use. It will also require increase support systems for various devices.
6.Applications developed and used by Fire and Aviation mgmt need to have standards and guidelines for use. Further developing specific fire/agency apps will increase functionality and stream line information transfer, making data from mobile devices easier to integrate into the established system. This information transfer should allow for cross agency use of data.
A formalized report of these recommendations will be sent to CIO.
For more information contact:
Laura Hill (llhill [at] fs.fed.us)
Esther Godson (egodson [at] fs.fed.us)