Devoteam and KPN are currently collaborating on the implementation of a dispatch centre application which will make an important contribution to public order and safety in the Netherlands.
The project consists of two parts: the new dispatch centre application that dispatchers will work with, and the backend services that will take care of session handler, state management, and external information facilities.
Jeroen Kuiper is the lead on one of the two sub teams on the project, and he discusses its ‘ins & outs’: “We have been working for over 10 years with this customer. I believe it is obvious why they continue to choose to collaborate with Devoteam: we persistently succeed in delivering high quality”. In the case of this project this is a crucial factor. The dispatch centre must simply always be available and work flawlessly.
The developers have been tasked with accomplishing this so-called high availability. This means that we need to think carefully about ‘failover’ scenarios, a term that refers to automatic transitioning to backup services in case of a failure.
Jeroen: “This is a significant challenge. It means that the whole system and all associated services are required to be designed with fault tolerances in mind. Failures need to be resolved automatically. As a result the system has been constructed redundantly from both a hardware and software perspective – whenever a part fails, another part will assume its functionality. In addition it is possible to run varying software versions concurrently, so that even during an upgrade the service continues to be completely available”.
Because of this, the new dispatch centre application is a marked improvement over the old system, where fault and downtime prevention or resolutions were primarily resolved through manual interventions.
The second aspect of this project is the development of a new dispatch application. This is a custom-designed application that will replace the role of hardware-based phones. All call-related functionality (e.g. picking up, hanging up, phone book, forwarding, placing on hold, etc.) can be managed through this application. It directs the switch board that manages the actual ‘call traffic’. While the functionality of the dispatch application is identical to the old one, the renewed user interface provides an improved visual ergonomic experience. This means that the dispatchers’ (the people that handle emergency calls) user experience is markedly improved.
Devoteam also helps build web-based administration portals, which facilitate technical and functional application management. The portals allow administrators to change system parameters, add different types of users, etc. Any such activity in this portal environment is logged.
Devoteam and KPN expect to conclude this project in 2018. KPN will then have a dispatch centre solution that is easier to manage, provides high availability, and is fault tolerant. All parties involved are looking forward to the prospective solution! Martijn Vos, Product Owner at KPN, is enthusiastic about the collaboration with Devoteam.
“Our collaboration with Devoteam is very enjoyable; not only are our Devoteam colleagues professional and competent, they are also capable of projecting themselves into the client’s situation. Working from that perspective they are knowledgeable about what is required to deliver high quality. And that is exactly what the intention of this solution is!”
Product Owner at KPN