Symposium Technologies' Horizon Collaboration Initiative

Definition: sym·po·si·um (sm-pz-m)
1. A meeting or conference for discussion of a topic, especially one in which the participants form an audience and make presentations

What Is The Horizon Collaboration Initiative (HCI)?

  • The Horizon Collaboration Initiative (HCI) takes the idea of technology collaboration to the next level - collaboration by people. The aim of the HCI is to empower our front-line Horizon EME users to help develop the new technologies of tomorrow by working together across agency boundaries.

What Is The Underlying Principle?

  • Symposium Technologies was founded on one simple principle - collaboration. The guiding principle behind the software offered by Symposium is to create systems that not only offer great benefits to our clients but allow them to leverage all their other important technologies as well. Through the integrative architecture that underlies all Symposium products users can have one system that works together seamlessly with all their other critical technology systems. With the HCI we can develop that concept to an even greater degree by better leveraging the knowledge of the people that use Symposium systems every day.

How Does It Work?

  • HCIs are simple three month on-line idea generation and research projects that are self directed by Horizon EME system users (dispatchers) with Symposium providing the collaborative infrastructure and forum moderation. They are based on the university research model were people who are in the process of learning about new technologies can make their contribution to larger initiatives.
  • At regular intervals throughout the year we will open up to our clients an opportunity to allow one of their system users to take part in a idea generation forum. Our aim is to have 3 people work together in conjunction with Symposium staff over a 3 month time frame to suggest and refine new ideas for what we term disruptive technologies - technologies that can really change the way emergency services works.
  • We are not seeking simple feature enhancement ideas for current products but new ideas that can really make a difference in the future.
  • The first month will be devoted to idea generation and selection of a primary idea, the second month to collaboration on the research and improvement of that idea, and the third to wider peer review.
  • Depending on the idea selected we may also bring in an outside expert for collaboration.
  • HCIs are meant to be simple and NOT time intensive. Users can contribute to them on their own time - or if the client agrees use part of the working time to contribute as well.

Why This Type of Model?

  • Simply put there is only so far that a software development company can go when try to meet the needs of its clients. The people who spend their time writing software can only understand the needs of the front-line user to a certain degree. The best people qualified to point the way for needed future developments are the actual users themselves. The software development company can then assist in this effort by contributing ideas about what can work and how.

How Does Everyone Benefit?

  • The individual participants benefit in a number of ways:
  1. They get to develop a better understanding of technology as it relates to their job which ultimately can make them more proficient in it.
  2. They develop more knowledge and skills which can aid them in potential career advancement opportunies.
  3. They get to leverage their current knowledge to better benefit their agencies and communities and the larger world in general. Currently Symposium systems serve well over a million people in North America and any ideas generated in these forums can potentially benefit that wider group of people as well.
  4. The users get technology that is better suited to their needs, helping them do their jobs better and more efficiently.
  5. Most of all these projects can be fun, engaging and challenging!

  • The participating agencies benefits by:
  1. Having more engaged and informed employees who are more knowledgeable and capable.
  2. Having the opportunity to be granted free licenses to technologies that emerge from projects that their employees participate in.
  3. Having a wider range of opportunities to leverage in house knowledge and expertise to benefit themselves directly and other agencies in other areas.

  • Symposium Technologies benefits by:
  1. Having access to a greater pool of ideas for forming our long term technology development strategies.
  2. Being able to develop products that we know will be useful to our clients - rather than having to guess what is needed next.

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