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The Indiana State Fairgrounds & Event Center offers modern event facilities in a historical setting. The Indiana State Fairgrounds & Event Center first opened in 1892 and has hosted more than 115 Indiana State Fairs. Prior to 1892, the first 40 Indiana State Fairs were held at rotating sites around the state.
In 1990, the Indiana State Fairgrounds & Event Center began its present existence as a year-round events center. Since that time, many of our venues have undergone renovations and upgrades that have continued to bring modern comforts to the Indiana State Fairgrounds & Event Center’s ability to be a great site for conventions, consumer shows, conferences, sporting events, concerts, fairs, exhibitions, meetings, weddings, banquets and retreats.
Jennifer Esterline is the Safety & Security Manager for the Indiana State Fair Commission. Before using 24/7 Software, the Indiana State Fair Commission used an outdated solution to track incidents, affecting critical parts of their 250-acre property. The Indiana State Fair Commission recognized they needed a software solution that would allow them to do more than incident tracking. They needed complete incident management capabilities, allowing them to create digital incident reports on the go, with accuracy, and saving them hours to spend on other important projects and tasks. This requirement led to the Indiana State Fair Commission’s implementation of 24/7 Software’s Incident Management System and TrackPad mobile app for iPad.
After deployment of 24/7 Software’s platform, the Indiana State Fair Commission had a solution that allowed for proactive incident management using mobile applications, increased data accuracy, and efficiency that gave staff back the needed time in their day to drive their operations forward. 24/7 Software affords the Indiana State Fair Commission the ability to enter incidents into the solution in real time, conduct incident reports electronically in the field, and scan driver’s licenses.
The first challenge the Indiana State Fair Commission had that influenced them to look for a solution was the need for mobile incident reporting. The Indiana State Fair Commission has approximately 75-100 vehicle accidents on their property each year.
“Our Security Officers complete all the reports even if law enforcement is specifically requested. Our previous incident reporting process was cumbersome and not easily customizable. We had to upload photos of the crash scene from a digital camera,” explained Esterline.
“Our software did not have a mobile application either, so this meant writing out the full report then spending time in the office typing it into the system and downloading all the photos. Vehicle accidents are typically the most detailed reports, but our medical reports were being done the same way, and if it were a slip, trip, or fall report, there were pictures needed as well,” continued Esterline.
Esterline further explained that the process took officers off patrol and into the office to get the paperwork done. The Indiana State Fair Commission was also looking for a true incident tracking and dispatch system for all their incidents during the State Fair.
“Our operations center is open 16 hours per day for all 17 days of the Indiana State Fair, and we needed a system that could track every call that came in via phone or radio,” shared Esterline.
The Indiana State Fair Commission needed a system that would track the incident from the initial call all the way through the incident report. They wanted a system that understood the unique calls they would get rather than only tracking crimes.
The system the Indiana State Fair Commission was using at the time was exclusively designed for the healthcare, higher education, and retail industries.
“They were making some drastic improvements, but their market was for K-12 schools and were focusing only on creating a platform where all emergency documents could be filed,” explained Esterline.
“They were not focused on updating their dispatch and reporting system or making it mobile-friendly. With the size of our facility, the number of traffic accidents, and dispatch needed, the system we had was moving in a direction that was not meeting our needs,” continued Esterline.
Esterline shared that the Indiana State Fair Commission had specific criteria in mind when looking for their Incident Management System.
“A bonus for us was the ability to scan driver’s licenses and input the information into the report because of the large number of traffic accidents we respond to regularly,” shared Esterline.
Knowing the Indiana State Fair Commission was looking for a product that is made for venue managers, Esterline was also looking for a system that could continue to grow with their operation, and help them be innovative and stay that way.
“I started by searching online as well as by asking venues in our area what they were using. One of our executives specifically wanted me to look at 24/7 Software and to inquire about it at a conference I was attending,” explained Esterline.
Esterline quickly concluded there were not going to be many options for venue managers, but she did find three different solutions worth evaluating.
“I made contact with them and set up phone calls,” said Esterline. “After the phone calls, I did demos with two of the systems. I then had to present the findings to our executive team with my recommendation,” continued Esterline.
There were three systems Esterline was evaluating: 24/7 Software, ABI MasterMind, and Resolver.
Resolver was targeting healthcare and corporate customers like Raytheon and Delta.
“They had a limited ability to customize their incident report, and there was no dispatch feature. Resolver was mobile-friendly, but without the dispatch and incident report integration, I did not demo Resolver’s software,” explained Esterline.
When looking into ABI MasterMind, Esterline found they worked with a lot of baseball stadiums, arenas, and convention centers. They had other modules besides an Incident Management System, such as time tracking and maintenance modules.
“When I started the demo, I found they separated their command functions (e.g., housekeeping, maintenance, complaints, etc.) and their dispatch functions (e.g., medical, security, etc.), which would make things more difficult for our Coliseum (4,500 seat arena located on the property) events,” shared Esterline.
ABI MasterMind was not mobile-friendly, which led to their incident reports not tying in with the dispatch function the Indiana State Fair Commission required. Not having this functionality meant the Indiana State Fair Commission would not gain the ability to scan driver’s licenses.
“We would not be able to complete reports at the scene of the incident easily. Their interface also seemed outdated, and they were not making modifications anytime.”
“This biggest reason I chose 24/7 Software was the mobile application and the dispatch features of the Incident Management System,” said Esterline.
“Almost everything was customizable, and I was confident we could go from paper forms and a digital camera to an iPad almost immediately,” continued Esterline.
The ability to do incident reports at the scene makes a huge impact on the Indiana State Fair Commission’s guest experience as well.
“It certainly professionalizes our process, speeds up the time the customer spends with us, and increases the accuracy of the report,” explained Esterline. Esterline proceeded to explain how the Indiana State Fair Commission’s operation transformed after deploying 24/7 Software versus their operation before the 24/7 Software.
|After Deploying 24/7 Software||Before 24/7 Software|
|Enter dispatch incidents in real time||No true dispatch function; entries were a daily log and delayed based on the form|
|Have color-coded dispatch screen to show incident status||No true dispatch function; one color until the incident is closed out|
|Link dispatch entries with incident reports||No capability|
|Have managers view the dispatch queue through the mobile application when not in the Operations Center||We reviewed all incidents upon returning to the Operations Center|
|Group incidents and dispatch entries by event||No groupings, just around-the-clock operations|
|Conduct incident reports electronically in the field||We did hand-written reports in the field|
|Scan a driver’s license for fast incident reporting||No capability to scan licenses|
|Customize the Incident Report output form||The PDF incident report was not customizable and did not include all fields that are required when entering an incident into the system (i.e., driver's license number, VIN, etc.)|
|Include response protocols for the Security Officers based on the incident||No capability because we did not have mobile access|
|Go paperless in Coliseum Command||We hand-wrote the log of all radio calls in the Coliseum|
“In the process of choosing a system, I knew the reports would be important to our legal staff and the Indiana Attorney General’s Office because we are a quasi-state agency. The reports were approved by both groups without question. I also was able to customize a section that assisted Human Resources for employee injuries,” shared Esterline.
The dispatch feature sold Esterline on the software. Having the ability to see the status of an incident, what was still in the queue and being able to tie it to someone in the field was critical for the Indiana State Fair Commission.
“The fact that we would be able to create specific events in the software would make it easy to distinguish between our Coliseum events and other events held on the property,” explained Esterline.
“It would also make managing 17 days’ worth of data during the State Fair much more manageable,” continued Esterline.
We asked Esterline if a specific moment existed in the process where she knew 24/7 Software would be her choice aside from seeing the value of the software solution.
“After my first phone call, even before the demo, it was clear that 24/7 Software understood the event business and the specific needs of different types of venues. I had all my questions answered in a timely fashion and if we needed something customized, finding a solution was easy,” said Esterline. Hi, I'm your first cell. I'm your second cell. I'm your third cell. I'm your fourth cell.
“Our incident response has been greatly enhanced using 24/7 Software. With the mobile application, we save a lot of time at the scene of an incident by taking pictures in the app, scanning driver’s licenses, and inputting the details at the scene,” said Esterline.
This activity was previously done by filling out a paper form then driving back to the office, typing it into the computer, then uploading any photos from a digital camera.
“We estimate that using the 24/7 Software TrackPad app for iPad saves our Security Officers approximately 15 minutes per incident report,” continued Esterline.
On a busy day, that could save Indiana State Fair Commission’s security operation one to two hours. Now those hours can be spent patrolling the property and assisting guests.
Another process that has been enhanced is the Indiana State Fair Commission’s command function in the Coliseum. This Command Office is their dispatch and Incident Management System tracker for every event in the building.
“Before 24/7 Software, all incidents were tracked on paper and stored on a desk or in a filing cabinet. With the Incident Management System dispatch function, we are more efficient at following up on incidents because the colors are easy to distinguish.”
One of the biggest benefits the Indiana State Fair Commission experienced is the accuracy of their data.
“The system is designed with event venues in mind. We track events in the Coliseum by event; all other events are kept on the 24/7 mode,” shared Esterline.
“Our locations and sections are much more accurate, and we have been able to customize the incident reports to our specific needs,” continued Esterline.
Before continuing onto additional details of the benefits experienced by the Indiana State Fair Commission’s deployment of 24/7 Software, Esterline validated something we take much pride in at 24/7 Software.
“I appreciate 24/7 Software’s consistent desire to improve and to implement recommendations by other venues. This commitment helps us get what we need from the system and makes it feel like it is truly ours.”
Before 2018, the Indiana State Fair Commission did not track the housekeeping calls that came in during the State Fair. The calls went to the Director of Event Services, and she would call or text the supervisors when there was a need.
Supervisors were unable to follow up on most of those calls to ensure they were completed. The Indiana State Fair Commission established a new phone number and process for tracking those in the Incident Management System to ensure completion of all follow-up tasks.
“During the 2018 Fair, we tracked 106 housekeeping calls with 90% of those being confirmed as followed up/completed. This improvement means we saved our Director of Event Services 106 phone calls and they were able to spend their time elsewhere,” shared Esterline.
As the Indiana State Fair Commission continues to promote this new phone number in all their buildings, they expect that number to increase in 2019, and for the process to become even more efficient.
“In 2017, we had 370 incident reports created (not including the 17 days of the State Fair). We estimate that we saved an average of 15 minutes per incident report, which means we saved 5,550 minutes or 92.5 hours. The 92.5 hours saved is now spent on patrol and assisting guests in 2018.”