Kaohsiung City

At a Glance

  • Saved nearly 3 million lives
  • Video coverage of over 1,100 square miles
  • Helped 38 districts collaborate effectively

Taiwan’s Kaohsiung City Uses Video Collaboration to Prepare for Typhoons

Days before Taiwan faced down the first storm of the deadly 2013 typhoon season, officials in Kaohsiung City unleashed their own secret weapon to protect nearly three million people and their property from the brute force of Typhoon Soulik.

Kaohsiung City had just completed a citywide network of Polycom video collaboration solutions. And for the first time, disaster preparedness and emergency response officials in 38 districts across the city could work together face-to-face, without having to leave their districts and the people who live in them.

Working from the Kaohsiung command center, Mayor Chen Chu met over video with personnel throughout the city to assess the progress of preparation efforts, properly allocate resources, and coordinate evacuation plans. Nowhere were these efforts more critical than in Kaohsiung’s remote mountain villages, where past typhoons left villagers cut off from emergency response authorities and impeded relief efforts. Even when communications remained operable, emergency workers had to communicate with central command by phone, satellite, or wireless—never with video, and always one at a time.

Now, like an unwelcome summer storm, Kaohsiung’s old patchwork approach is long gone. In its place is an efficient and reliable communications infrastructure that unites video calls so Kaohsiung City Fire Bureau officials can receive multiple realtime updates at once, and emergency management personnel always have a current view of response activities across a coastal city that covers more than 1,100 square miles.

Once the skies clear, Taiwan’s second largest city puts its Polycom solutions to use in other ways. When it’s not busy with disaster preparedness, the city saves on communication costs and travel expenses by handling administrative meetings and employee training over video. Those savings free up money for public construction and other improvements—showing that in Kaohsiung City, video collaboration not only helps save lives, it also helps to make them better.

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