Nextair's wireless DispatchForce solution implemented at United Kingdom based ambulance service

Toronto 12 November 2002Nextair Inc., the developer of the award-winning AIRIX wireless enabling platform, has been selected with its new Passenger Transport Edition of DispatchForce for full wireless deployment after a reported tremendous success during pilot trials and implementation at Sussex Ambulance Service National Health Service (NHS) Trust in the United Kingdom. As a result of this success, Nextair also has formally received "Approved Partner" status by Vodafone, a mobile operator with 105 million customers worldwide.


With new Vodafone "Approved Partner" status, this first win at Sussex Ambulance Service NHS Trust paves the way for proposals into 31 other Ambulance Service Providers within England. The deployment by Sussex Ambulance is expected to have, subject to final negotiation, a total value in excess of 775.000 Canadian dollars including hardware. This figure does not include mobile wireless data airtime fees.

In addition to the licensing of Nextair's DispatchForce solution, Sussex Ambulance is expected to utilise Nextair's AIRIX wireless transaction server through a three-year hosting agreement, which will provide the connectivity direct to Vodafone's General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) wireless data network. Sussex Ambulance has also contracted Nextair for further development services, product implementation, and training.

DispatchForce is a workforce management software solution, which interacts wirelessly with AIRIX enabled mobile PDA devices such as Microsoft Pocket PC, Laptops, and RIM Blackberry Handhelds. Nextair's new Passenger Transport Edition has been customised specifically to provide organisations within the emergency and non-emergency patient/passenger transport industries with the features they need to operate more effectively and efficiently with their resources and mobile fleet.

Joe Garcia, Project Director for Sussex Ambulance Service, stated: "Nextair's AIRIX and DispatchForce solutions help us to resolve a large majority of our problems in relation to the communication of patient details and efficient interaction between ambulance crews and dispatchers. It is a tremendous improvement over our current paper process coupled with the existing Private Mobile Radio (PMR)."

For the United Kingdom market, Nextair integrated an optical character recognition (OCR) system into its new Passenger Transit Edition of DispatchForce, which allows text from a fax sent from the NHS or hospital to be instantly "read" by the OCR directly into DispatchForce, further streamlining operations and reducing patient response times. DispatchForce can then determine, without any user intervention, which mobile team should respond. Requests are immediately transmitted to the mobile fleet via the AIRIX mobile platform and the Vodafone GPRS network.

Mr. Garcia further added: "We now have a reliable and auditable method to send and collect information to and from our ambulance crews. The whole process has been assessed in the field by Patient Transport Service (PTS) crews and PTS Control staff. It has been well received and considered a tremendous success, which is the best sign for us that this is the right application for the job."

"Nextair's approach to this particular project has been extremely supportive in ensuring that the final solution mirrors as close as possible our current methods of operation, reducing any culture change issues to an absolute minimum. This has been a major contributory factor in our choice of system", stated Mr. Garcia. "In introducing this state of the art technology into our business process, we anticipate that both our crew efficiency and quality of service will continue to improve."

Simon Fraser, Nextair's president and CEO stated: "This latest success comes off of a string of recent announcements that show Nextair's AIRIX technology and its wireless business applications offer the right technology for today's wireless data networks. Vodafone's vote of confidence in bringing in Nextair for this significant opportunity is expected to pay future dividends as Vodafone offers the service to other organisations in conjunction with our European sales office."

Vodafone and Nextair plan to jointly demonstrate the AIRIX and DispatchForce solution through upcoming trade show events and conferences and with on-site customer visits. Nextair's patent pending Mobility Platform, AIRIX, provides rapid development of sophisticated wireless applications for mobile devices, allowing client-side device operation and over the air provisioning of corporate solutions in real time with off-line capability on a multitude of networks and handheld devices.

Leslie Versweyveld

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