NORA was developed as a direct result of the terror attacks in Oslo back in 2011, where 77 people lost their lives. During the aftermath, the police were heavily criticised for their inadequate lines of communication. The special task force was unable to communicate with the local police because of an overloaded mobile network and incompatible communication standards between local units and the special forces. Meanwhile, lack of real time geographical information led to difficulties meeting up and getting to the island in time when time was very much of the essence. The commission set to investigate what went wrong called it “the story of the resources that did not find each other” and concluded in their report that the Norwegian police to a far greater extent had to start adopting and utilizing modern technology.
Seeking to remedy this, the Emergency Response Unit contacted Teleplan Globe based on their in-depth expertise throughout decades with tactical and operational communication systems for both the Norwegian Armed Forces and other international, comparable user organizations. Finding the existing military systems too complex, and the hardware too expensive, the Emergency Response Unit asked for a simplified version more apt for their use, and able to run on normal commercial platforms like smart phones and tablets, as well as all operating systems.
The result is NORA – a secure persistent client for emergency responders, with comprehensive yet intuitive and dynamic map functionality. The chat client replaces the makeshift solutions still widely used by European police departments like WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal – consumer apps unsuited for such use. While these other apps work well enough for real time chat purposes, the communication runs on unsecured third-party servers, which means they’re both unsafe and not technically legal to use for the police and other public safety actors who process personal data and other sensitive data. NORA itself is end-to-end encrypted, and has been developed in a modern architecture that allows our customers to host the servers in a private or public cloud.
Furthermore, NORA comes with a Geographic Information System (GIS) – a layered map that also includes plans of important structures, assigned meeting areas, emergency routes, and more. Intuitive and dynamic drawing tools lets the users mark and track persons and places of interest in real time, devise plans and share them, ensuring everyone is kept up to speed. Users may also share pictures and video on the go, for live updates on what the site in question looks like, or other valuable visual information. More advanced functionality is real time weather projections, line-of-sight calculations, network coverage analysis, or use and visualization of satellite-based data. The roadmap for NORA also contains functionality related to predictive policing through crime statistics and prognostics, big data analysis and machine learning.
Finally, NORA is easily integrated with any existing systems through an open API. That includes external sensors or command and control systems, GIS-tools and intelligence databases that’s already in place in the user organization. There is also a complete Active Directory integration for organizations where this is relevant, and currently Teleplan Globe is working on setting up an integration with Skype for Business that will allow users in existing infrastructure to interact with users in NORA, but with the persistency perks of NORA.