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In Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Huawei worked with the Ministry of Interior to establish a 911 converged command center, implementing unified call receiving, and dispatching across police, civil defense, traffic police, and highway police agencies, significantly improving emergency response efficiency. This system provided security for the Hajj pilgrimages from 2016 to 2018.

The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, and is one of the most important religious activities for Muslims worldwide. In 2018, more than two million Muslims from all over the world gathered in Mecca to participate in the Hajj.

Challenges

Challenges of Hajj Operations

As pilgrims arrive in Mecca, there is a sharp increase in emergency calls

Over the course of the five-day Hajj, more than two million pilgrims attend multiple rites, gathering in the city of Mecca in an area measuring less than 30 square kilometers. This results in an exponential increase in calls to the authorities — 142,971 calls per day were received during peak periods in 2018. Handling and responding to calls requires swiftness: the systems supporting call and alarm handling, and related responses, must offer high reliability and stability.

Collaborative dispatching for field forces from multiple agencies

During the Hajj, the Saudi Arabian government stations emergency coordination personnel from multiple government agencies — including the civil defense, police (security) patrol, highway police, and traffic departments, plus the ministry of health, and the Hajj emergency command office — in a single operations center. Effective coordination of multiple departments and police forces, quick command delivery, rapid and accurate dispatch of police forces, and the prevention and elimination of various threats are major challenges.

Multiple numbers to call for help

People used to have to remember several telephone numbers to seek help when emergencies occurred. It was common for people to call the wrong number or simply forget them.

Solution

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) Built a Unified Security Operations Center

To overcome such challenges, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) built a Unified Security Operations Center in Mecca in 2015, designed to facilitate unified call handling, and colocation of multiple operational agencies. The MoI unified multiple emergency numbers under a single number — 911 — which the public simply dialed to seek help, regardless of the type of incident.

Huawei Participation

Equipped with a first-of-its-kind, visualized, converged command system built by Huawei and it’s industry-leading partner, the Unified Security Operation Center implemented unified alarm reporting, and cross-agency action, enhancing the efficiency of cross-agency collaboration and emergency response.

Unified incident reporting through the 911 system

Relying on the joint solution developed by Huawei and it’s industry-leading partner, the 911 incident reception and handling system is able to deal with various types of incidents, distributing them by incident type to the appropriate department. Incidents are quickly transferred between different departments through a unified platform, enabling joint office and information sharing among multiple departments, and improving incident response efficiency.

Emergency call answering rate optimization

Huawei's Integrated Communication Platform (ICP) optimizes the emergency call answering rate from both “forward” and “opposite” directions. Going forward, the technology reduces queuing times, speeds up call answering, and quickens response preparation; in the opposite direction, ICP records calls that have dropped during the ringing and queuing process, allowing operators to call numbers back.

The joint solution provides personalized functions, such as incident reporting through video or SMS message (for hearing-impaired people). It also offers incident handling services in multiple languages, including English, Arabic, Urdu, French, and Indonesian. During the Hajj in 2018, approximately 360 call takers and 420 dispatchers worked in the 911 command center every day. On average, there were 65,615 daily calls, more than twice the norm. But the ICP system ran stably and withstood heavy traffic bursts, without interruption.

Benefits

The experience in Mecca provides the MoI with a model for expansion of similar emergency call centers across the country. Huawei, the global leading ICT manufacturer, is honored to support the MoI’s efforts to implement 911 services in Mecca, promoting the safety of the Hajj in 2016, 2017, and 2018. Huawei’s Safe City solutions improve the quality, accuracy and availability of critical communication systems, increasing both performance and productivity.

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