Emergency operations centers are a vital resource for state and local governments, and they are starting to expand to their next logical iteration: virtual EOCs. These online, often cloud-based centers allow remote stakeholders to see what’s happening at a brick-and-mortar EOC. Virtual centers can also serve as EOCs in their own right, providing a virtual space for stakeholders to coordinate and share information.

Interest in virtual EOCs and virtual access to EOCs predates the pandemic. However, the events of the past year have reaffirmed the importance of being able to bring stakeholders together remotely, as well as the value of collaborative, real-time data analysis. In addition, virtualization enables participants to maintain social distancing without compromising their ability to work together to manage a crisis.