Cloud Computing

Empowering Disaster-Affected Communities: Cisco’s Dedication to IRC Signpost

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In instances of disaster, armed battle, or pure disasters, individuals are pressured to adapt and make huge, life-changing choices beneath excessive stress. Entry to well timed, correct, and easy security data is a useful useful resource for these communities as they relocate, seek for important companies and wrestle with advanced issues. The Worldwide Rescue Committee (IRC) teamed up with Mercy Corps to supply sturdy options for individuals whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by battle and catastrophe. Collectively, they created Signpost: a responsive, digital data service that leverages progressive software program to reply to the informational wants of populations impacted by crises.

Partnering with IRC from the beginning

Cisco has supported the event of Signpost since its inception. Our partnership with IRC started by means of our work with Mercy Corps in 2015, when Cisco supplied funding to develop “Refugee Data Hub,” the precursor to Signpost. On the time, Cisco’s Disaster Response crew was deploying Wi-Fi connectivity to refugees in Greece—directing touchdown pages to Refugee Data Hub, signposting them to the place they might get related assist and help.

With the elevated want for digital data companies to achieve significantly susceptible populations through the pandemic, Cisco funded the launch of Signpost in three new international locations and supported the event of extra options essential to scale Signpost’s affect, together with off-line performance.

Cisco solutions the decision with a voice answer

In April 2022, in response to the invasion of Ukraine,, a long-time accomplice of IRC and Signpost, approached Cisco to collaborate on a contact heart answer. IRC had partnered with United for Ukraine to supply important data to these affected by the battle, and was in search of a contact heart specialist to assist them create a responsive voice bot that would deal with disaster caller-requests. Their request for experience led them to Paul Tindall, the EMEA lead of Cisco’s contact heart technical crew. Along with his crew’s devoted efforts, Paul shortly rotated with a proposed answer.

“Within the midst of a disaster, it’s a uncommon prevalence for somebody
to ask if there’s a contact heart specialist in the home.”

– Paul Tindall, EMEA Lead, Cisco Contact Heart Technical Staff

The proposed answer concerned Signpost making a name heart geared up with native telephone numbers, interactive voice response capabilities, and multi-lingual voice companies (providing help in English, Ukrainian, and Russian). If the automated voice bot failed to fulfill the caller’s wants, they might have the choice to hook up with a neighborhood agent.

Challenges on the best way to options

photo of a woman using IRC's Signpost app
Picture credit score: Olivia Blinn (IRC)

Nonetheless, the trail to implementation was not with out its hurdles. To arrange a name heart with native numbers, the answer required a accomplice with a public switched phone community supplier. Discovering a supplier able to working shortly with out incurring prices was a problem that launched some delays. Finally, Signpost acquired invaluable help from a Cisco accomplice, CallTower, who supplied pro-bono service numbers in Romania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Google performed a important function in supporting the IRC expertise crew with a strong fellowship program by means of that make the Ukraine program potential and generously supported staffing of the decision heart with personnel from their buyer success division in Poland. Whereas callers might now join by means of these native numbers, the native brokers responding to a name offered a further problem. These brokers utilized quite a lot of gadgets, exposing surprising safety dangers. Cisco’s devoted crew labored diligently to help brokers by patching any platform and program vulnerabilities.

Some of the heartwarming elements of encountering and overcoming these challenges was the unimaginable responsiveness of our companions as soon as they grasped the profound significance of Signpost’s mission.

Signpost’s exceptional affect

Cisco continues to put money into Signpost, enabling the platform to scale to over 20 international locations throughout 5 continents, impacting the lives of greater than 12.8 million individuals in over 25 languages. This collaborative effort has confirmed that expertise and shared dedication could make a tangible distinction within the face of humanitarian crises, reaffirming the facility of partnership and innovation.


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