Why we showed off our NERV at Cisco Connect Toronto

There was lots to see at Cisco Connect Toronto this year, but there was one item that truly stole the show(floor).  And there’s good reason for that.


The Cisco Network Emergency Response Vehicle (NERV) is a command and communications resource for first responders, critical infrastructure, and other organizations that have been affected by a catastrophic event.

The Cisco Network Emergency Response Vehicle (NERV) is a mobile communication center designed to establish interoperable communications in emergency situations. It does this through using a variety of Cisco products and services, including Cisco Unified Communications Manager and IPICS, a software package that allows devices on different frequencies to communicate so that first responders are able to talk with each other while responding to an emergency situation.  You can read more about IPICS and the NERV on the Cisco blog.

The NERV is supported by Cisco Tactical Operations (TacOps), a highly skilled and dedicated team that can mobilize and respond to natural disasters and other catastrophes when normal communications infrastructure have been degraded or destroyed. Incredibly, TacOps maintains several employee-volunteer engineering teams at Cisco’s San Jose and RTP campuses that respond to these disasters. Nicknamed DIRT – or Disaster Response Teams – these employees volunteer their time to train on, and deploy with, the NERV emergency response vehicles.

When the need arises and the DIRT program is activated, Cisco’s volunteer employees are contacted. If they are able to go, they are deployed to the disaster zone to facilitate emergency communications.

Surprisingly, the NERV can be fully operational in 15 minutes. It can alsobe shut down within 15 minutes in order to redeploy to another location and powers its systems using an on-board generator or shore power connection to an external source.


The engineering section of the NERV includes different technologies such as Cisco TelePresence, Unified Communications, Call Manager and data centre products.

What’s so impressive to me is that Cisco’s TacOps team and NERV trucks are deployed to disasters anytime and anywhere. In recent years, TacOps and NERV have responded to disasters including Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti, Boston Marathon bombing and fertilizer plant explosion in Texas.

List of Cisco NERV deployments as of March 2014.

List of Cisco NERV deployments as of March 2014.

The NERV was incredible to tour. You realize, standing inside, that the vehicle isn’t about selling technology. It isn’t about selling at all, actually. It’s about helping people and communities when they need it the most. And that makes me proud to be a part of Cisco.

To learn more about the NERV, visit our website, follow Cisco TacOps on Facebook and watch the video below.

About Karin Scott

Karin Scott is the director of public relations for Cisco Canada. A Canadian tech PR industry veteran, Karin joined Cisco Canada in 2008 after leading the Cisco account on the agency side for 12 years. With a diverse communications background ranging from the performing arts to data centre, Karin works with Cisco Canada’s sales teams, customers, partners, the media and industry influencers to tell the Cisco in Canada story. She has an honours BA from the University of Western Ontario – and is an excellent parallel-parker! Karin Scott est la directrice générale des relations publiques pour Cisco Canada. Karin, qui a longtemps travaillé dans le secteur des relations publiques de l'industrie canadienne des technologies, est entrée au service de Cisco Canada en 2008, après avoir géré le compte de Cisco pour une agence pendant 12 ans. Karin, qui a des antécédents en communication très diversifiés, allant des arts de la scène aux centres de données, travaille avec les équipes de vente, les clients et les partenaires de Cisco Canada ainsi qu'avec les médias et les joueurs clés de l'industrie afin de raconter l'histoire de Cisco au Canada. Elle détient un baccalauréat spécialisé de la University of Western Ontario – et est un as du stationnement parallèle!
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