The 17th May 2016 saw the culmination of over 10 years thinking and planning: The delivery of a multi-site Hydra exercise. Over a decade ago, the Hydra Foundation identified an educational requirement to run a Hydra event involving multiple syndicates located across different sites, and to meet that immediate need, we re-worked the existing technology of the time, to deliver on the concept. Although it worked, it was not perfect and required a high degree of technical knowledge. One of the key features that we wanted to include in the new Hydra in the Cloud system was the ability to quickly and easily bring in syndicates from other locations using Hydra and standard internet technologies.
The British Transport Police (BTP) ran a HITC event from their suite in London. This site provided the control room, plenary and two syndicate rooms. The newly upgraded Liverpool BTP HITC suite housed another syndicate. Through HITC and video conferencing, the Liverpool syndicate was able to take part as a full syndicate during the both syndicate and plenary sessions. They could see and hear the plenary and take part in discussions with other syndicates during those de-briefs and similarly, the London based syndicates and facilitators could fully interact with them. HITC handles multi-site syndicates seamlessly, allowing users to log in with the appropriate credentials and run a syndicate for their exercise anywhere that has an internet connected machine and accompanying HITC technologies. Although a minimal infrastructure is required at the remote location, there does need to be a central Hydra hub.
The trailblazing BTP have shown the way for UK policing and their use of HITC, with remote syndicate room locations now in Birmingham, Cardiff and Glasgow, allowing them to continue in their evolution as a National force. We have long dreamed of running a multiple country CT type exercise over an extended period, perhaps beginning in Australia, moving to the USA and finishing in Britain. This exciting new development will allow that dream to become reality.
The revolutionary new capabilities are available to all HITC suites but please speak with the Hydra Foundation first to enable us to support you, your facilitators and other Hydra staff in understanding the technology and learning some new skills in exercise delivery and design.
The flexibility, enhancements to new and existing exercises and of course, cost savings are immense. All of the following examples apply to both the UK and internationally. Some of the obvious uses are:
You can run other syndicates from remote locations
You can bring in subject matter expertise and community representation for 'just in time' engagement to greatly enhance the immersion and knowledge gained, without requiring the presence of the people for the entire day.
Other agencies can be brought into an exercise as syndicates for all or part of the event
Links to academia can be greatly enhanced by involving them in exercises and research opportunities.
There are probably many other ideas the creative and industrious members of the Hydra community are already considering.
Please get involved in the conversation.