Friday, May 31, 2024

Cisco deploys satellite-powered vehicle to provide WiFi in ‘Odette’-hit areas

Tech titan Cisco Philippines, with the support of business partners Ardent, Azimuth, and volunteer rescue group Team Patola, recently deployed the Cisco Konektado Strategic Emergency Response Vehicle (SERV) in Bohol and Cebu after these areas were devastated by Typhoon Odette.

Photo from Cisco PH

The Konektado SERV is Cisco’s communication solution designed especially for disaster response and mitigation. It is a van fully equipped with Cisco technology designed to establish connectivity even amidst power and signal outages to provide responders with a means to communicate with different teams on the ground. It is also capable of providing public WiFi so affected residents can reach out to their loved ones to assure them of their safety or ask for assistance.

Parts of Bohol and Cebu were massively ravaged by Typhoon Odette and it resulted in the loss of power and communication lines. While members of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) were on field for disaster response measures, their headquarters in Cebu was also damaged and posed critical challenges in the coordination and assessment of other affected areas.

The catastrophic state of these provinces prompted Cisco and its partners to activate the Konektado SERV, which was able to provide Internet accessibility to the victims by aggregating existing cellular signals through a satellite designed by WIT Satellite.

Among others, the Cisco Konektado SERV featured voice-over Internet protocol, which was capable of routing incoming and outgoing voice calls with telephone lines using the Internet signal provided by the satellite.

The van’s advanced technology consisted of LED monitors, network switches and routers, as well as a Very Small Aperture (VSAT) with 4mbps Internet, which supported immediate communication requirements for the disaster response team on-ground.

According to Cisco Philippines managing director Zaza Nicart, “Communication is vital post-disaster. At the onslaught, victims need to be able to call for help, the government must be able to do risk assessments remotely, and it is the only way for the community to take part in relief operations.”

“Konektado SERV was built to provide responders with the necessary connectivity and communication tools during the most critical hours post-disaster. The OCD team was able to setup their command center and communicate with their teams on-ground to report real-time updates. This allowed the team to identify possible landing zones for relief and rescue operations,” Nicart shared.


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