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What’s Coming Next for CAD-to-CAD Tech Deployments?

As CentralSquare announces its 30th such deal — this one for five public safety agencies in Virginia — a company executive talks about why demand will increase for such tools, and how customer interest is changing.

A person facing away from the camera wearing a police vest with "police" written on the back.
As public safety gets more complicated, more agencies will buy technology that enables them to share data and coordinate responses.

That’s the view of Tim Boyle, chief customer officer of Florida-based CentralSquare Technologies, which sells computer-aided dispatch and other software to public safety agencies.

He spoke with Government Technology soon after the company announced its 30th U.S. deployment of its Unify product, a CAD-to-CAD tool. In this case, five public safety agencies in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia — including police departments in Chesapeake, Suffolk and Virginia Beach — will share information and work together on emergency responses through technology.

As Boyle sees it, the milestone reflects one of the hottest trends in government technology, one that is certain to gain steam as agencies work to respond more efficiently to, say, regional wildfires and power outages, or calls that require higher levels of mental health awareness than exist now.

“There has always been a reluctance for agencies to talk to each other, especially on the communications side,” he said. “There have always been tech hurdles, and a reluctance to share.”

The tool from the gov tech supplier is designed to connect regional police and fire departments, including via CAD systems from other vendors, according to a statement from CentralSquare. That can help put data in the hands of the closest available unit from any participating agency, saving time.

CentralSquare says its tech can cut response times in half.

When it comes to mass shootings, fires or severe weather, multiple agencies are very likely to respond, underscoring the need for data sharing and coordinated communications, Boyle said.

That’s not all that’s sparking CAD growth, though.

“With agencies bringing mental health into the picture, they are also talking to us about CAD,” he told Government Technology.

He predicts that in the next 18 to 24 months, more agencies outside the direct scope of public safety will buy and deploy CAD systems to ensure they can provide the biggest, most effective responses to emergency situations.

The spread of CAD tools, along with enhanced 911 services and better records management software, are among the factors fueling growth in public safety tech, trends that seem likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
Thad Rueter writes about the business of government technology. He covered local and state governments for newspapers in the Chicago area and Florida, as well as e-commerce, digital payments and related topics for various publications. He lives in Wisconsin.