LAN2LAN APPLIES THE PRINCIPLES OF SOCIAL NETWORKING TO
COMMUNITY CARE AND DISASTER RECOVERY
New Congrego solution wins prestigious award for unique application of technology
Woking, United Kingdom 3rd March, 2010 Surrey-based systems integrator LAN2LAN has introduced Congrego, a new solution that takes a social networking approach to community care and disaster recovery. Congrego represents an industry first in terms of applying the principles of well-known social networking media such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter to highly specialised community service areas in a totally secure environment. It is designed for use by government agencies and support organisations as a way of helping people to communicate and collaborate with one another as they cope with the affects of a traumatic experience – anything from flooding, a terrorist incident, military combat, a compulsive disease or a serious long-term illness.
Based on secure IBM Collaborative Software, Congrego is very easy to use and can be rolled out rapidly and securely. A number of County Councils are currently participating in pilot programmes of the new solution.
The Congrego concept was first applied after the 7th July bombings in London in 2005 with the police family liaison teams using an early version of the system to help families affected by the bombings to communicate with one another, to share experiences and provide mutual support, as Jasper Warren, Collaboration Specialist of LAN2LAN and original brainchild behind the Congrego solution explains:
As a secure and confidential system, Congrego allowed victims of the bombings to discuss deeply personal matters away from prying eyes. This sense of community has been shown to be invaluable in helping people achieve the selfempowerment that is crucial for the recovery process. Many psychiatrists agree that the sharing of experiences with others who have undergone similar traumas is often more effective than traditional counselling methods and certainly offers more security than other openly accessible self-help websites and forums.
The Congrego solution can also help local authorities meet the requirements of government legislation such as the Civil Contingencies Act of 2004 that imposed a specific duty on local authorities to support their constituents during an emergency. In particular, it states that councils should provide online resources to help people find the information and services they need to cope with the impact of an incident. This can be a challenge for local authorities, whose own resources will usually be at full stretch dealing with the incident on the ground.
For example, during the recent snowfalls, bus and rail information sites experienced dramatic peaks in traffic. Local authority sites were also overwhelmed as people searched for the latest information about school closures and the state of the roads.
For care agencies and support groups, Congrego allows the creation of a confidential portal to a range of support services, allowing people to share their strengths, hopes and fears. Multiple applications include:
Charities and support groups for people with additions and compulsive diseases, such as eating disorders, can use Congrego to provide 24/7 guidance and mutual support;
Local authorities can rapidly deploy information and communication services during civil emergencies such as flooding, terrorist alerts or major traffic incidents;
Corporate organisations can use Congrego to provide communication and collaboration services, and for business continuity, when operations are disrupted by bad weather or civil incidents;
Healthcare trusts and support groups can use Congrego to provide support, communication and guidance services to sufferers from longterm illnesses;
Schools and colleges can create parent and student information portals for the delivery of essential news including adverse weather updates provision of homework during closures and other services.
LAN2LANs Congrego solution recently won the prestigious IBM Lotus Award in the Best Community Service category for the annual IBM Lotus Mark of Brilliance Awards. LAN2LAN was the only UK reseller to win a Lotus Award at this years event in Florida, USA, chosen from hundreds of applications from more than 30 countries around the world.
Jasper Warren concluded: Congregos win comes as community and care issues are high on the UK political agenda. In an age where technology is blamed for cocooning people in their homes, Congrego demonstrates the power of the Internet to bring people together, allowing their humanitarian instincts to flourish.
Notes to editors
LAN2LAN was established in Woking in 1994 and employs 50 people. It has established itself in the top 5% of its sector for financial stability (Source: Dun & Bradstreet) as a specialist consultancy in the area of systems integration, installation and management. Its UK-wide customer base covers diverse sectors, including manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, travel, consultancy, law, recruitment and publishing.
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