The New Zealand Army has awarded Danish software company Systematic a contract for software to help it plan and support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions in the wake of natural disasters at home and abroad.
Lieutenant Colonel Darren Beck of the NZDF Network Enabled Army Programme said the system would enable the defence forces to better operate and inter-operate by being able to collaboratively share information.
“In New Zealand and the wider South West Pacific, we often have to deal with natural events where preparations and an immediate response is essential to an effective outcome. This makes it extremely important that we have suitable tools that support joint, coalition and inter-agency planning and execution.”
Systematic group senior vice president Henrik Messell said the system would provide the Army and the Joint Forces, Inter-Agency and Task Force Headquarters with a planning, communication and management tool that all emergency management planning staff and workers would be able to access from their tablet or smartphone.
“The software installed on commercial devices with built-in communications and GPS functionality provides access to a map with a precise overview of where the different units and incidents are located – where other situational information such as damaged roads, hazardous material and flooded areas can be added,” he said.
“This information is then quickly shared with the command centre and all other units in the emergency response teams.”
According to Systematic the system is based on its SitaWare command and control system, which the New Zealand Army has been using for a number of years. Defence awarded the company a $11m contract for SitaWare in 2016.
In the wake of that deal Systematic CEO Michael Holm told Computerworld NZ in March this year that the company had established an office in New Zealand and, with local partner Eagle Technology, was looking for additional opportunities in the region.
Systematic said the new module would give the defence force “a flexible, easy-to-access solution specifically adapted to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.”
“By providing the SitaWare system over the Internet, New Zealand Defence Force personnel will be able to share information with their counterparts from other government agencies and non-government organisation responders during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, who would otherwise not have access to the command and control systems typically used by the Defence Force.”
It added: “The contract also entails a collaborative approach involving Systematic NZ, Microsoft NZ, the New Zealand Army and local companies with the aim of producing an effective solution in a challenging problem area.
Holm said the system had great international potential. “This new SitaWare module is a solution that we reckon can be used by a wide range of organisations in the future, including military forces, law enforcement bodies and NGOs.
“It provides emergency workers, team leaders and incident managers with an improved overview of the whole situation, which we’re sure will be of great benefit not only in New Zealand, but also in many other countries.”