Redefining fire forensics

Date: 15 October 2023 Author: Ffion Kent Read Time: 5 mins

In a rapidly evolving world of crime and technology, Nikki Moscrop explains how Black Rainbow’s Nimbus will revolutionise fire investigations.

Law enforcement has always needed the right tools to keep up with the times. Enter Black Rainbow, a company that stands out by merging technology and hands-on experience. We recently spoke with Nikki Moscrop, Head of Law Enforcement & Government and Sales Director about how in a rapidly evolving world of crime and technology, Black Rainbow’s Nimbus promises to keep law enforcement one step ahead in fire investigations.

Founded in 2017, Black Rainbow started with a simple idea: bring together a team with a shared background in law enforcement and create solutions that the market really needs. As Moscrop put it: “We’re a group that came together with a common goal: To design products that truly cater to our users.” The team’s agility and dedication to working closely with their clients set them apart.

Revolutionising investigations

Nimbus is more than just a product; it’s Black Rainbow’s answer to modern challenges in investigations. “Our aim with Nimbus was clear: create the best investigation management platform out there that helps catch wrongdoers more efficiently,” Moscrop explained.

Starting with a focus on case management, especially in the forensic field, the team recognised the need for technology that’s not just smart, but also user-friendly. Moscrop notes: “Today’s tech has to work seamlessly with other systems and be adaptable. But most importantly, it needs to be easy for users.” The choice to bring in developers from the gaming industry was a strategic one. “They have experience in creating software that users can easily interact with,” she explains.

 

“Our aim is to make sure users willingly adopt Nimbus because they find it intuitive and effective.”

 

Prioritising user experience

Putting the user first isn’t just a slogan for us; it’s a core development strategy,” says Moscrop. While many companies resist change due to concerns about potential disruptions, Black Rainbow views it as an opportunity to enhance user adoption. Moscrop elaborates: “Rather than enforcing change, our aim is to make sure users willingly adopt Nimbus because they find it intuitive and effective.
To achieve this, Black Rainbow consistently engages with user groups, including both seasoned Nimbus users and potential clients, to understand the current user experience and future needs. By visually modelling and rapidly prototyping based on this feedback, they ensure the software is efficient whilst actually resonating with its audience.

This commitment extends to details as fundamental as terminology. Given that different law enforcement units can have varying jargon, Nimbus allows for easy tweaks to its interface. “A user shouldn’t have to adjust to a system; the system should adjust to them,” Moscrop asserts.
Accessibility is another area where Black Rainbow shines. Whether it’s custom themes or compatibility across devices, Nimbus offers users the flexibility to work their way. “From dark mode to corporate colours, we want our users to view the software in a light that’s comfortable for them. Moreover, the ability to operate seamlessly between desktops and mobile devices ensures that officers have the tools they need, whenever and wherever,” adds Moscrop.

 

“By weaving together existing functionalities, Nimbus aims to ensure that intelligence flows seamlessly from the onset.”

 

Simplifying the Submission Process

Beyond user experience, Nimbus also excels with its evidence submission portal. The goal here is straightforward: make evidence submission as smooth and logical as possible. By providing users with a step-by-step process, Black Rainbow ensures investigators capture all the necessary information without backtracking.

We’ve designed it in such a way that investigators don’t have to fumble around. They’re led through the process, with pre-populated fields ensuring accuracy and efficiency,” said Moscrop. The dynamic nature of the system also means that choices are contextually relevant, ensuring that the user doesn’t get overwhelmed with unnecessary options.

Recognising the immediacy of law enforcement work, Nimbus is optimised for on-the-go submissions. Moscrop stresses: “Officers shouldn’t have to wait to get back to the office. If they’re on a scene, they should be able to submit evidence right then and there.

 

“A user shouldn’t have to adjust to a system; the system should adjust to them.”

 

Optimised collaboration

Collaboration is at the heart of what Nimbus does. The essence of an investigation lies in the collective intelligence and seamless integration of multiple departments working in tandem.

When talking about cross-departmental coordination, Nimbus stands out as a benchmark. Its advanced workflow engine ensures that processes transition smoothly across departments. From an officer at a scene to an analyst in a lab or an officer at a remote location, the software guarantees a seamless exchange of information. Such coordination helps maintain the integrity and continuity of an investigation.

But with such vast data inflow, how does Nimbus prevent against user error? The simple answer is automation and data reuse. “By minimising manual data entry, which is notorious for causing errors, and auto-populating fields from previously entered data, Nimbus vastly reduces the possibility of human error,” Moscrop explains. Not only does this make processes efficient, she says, but it also ensures that data is consistent across reports and summaries.

Another integral feature of Nimbus is its real-time updates. With live dashboards and instant data representation, senior officers and analysts get to view emerging patterns and actionable intelligence instantly. “It’s akin to watching a live feed of an investigation,” she points out. “Decisions can be made on the go, leading to a rapid response. In a world where time is of the essence, this feature is indispensable.

It is heartening to see Nimbus taking consultation from professionals at the forefront of high-profile investigations, including Matt Bonner the Senior Investigating Officer of Operation Northleigh, established to investigate the Grenfell fire. By combining the insights from these experts with advanced tech like machine learning, Nimbus is setting a new standard in investigative technology. “Imagine the power of having machine learning summarise complex data streams into actionable bullet points for an investigator,” she tells.

While many software tools aim for efficiency, Nimbus appears to take a holistic approach, marrying technology with human expertise. The emphasis is on smooth workflows, minimising errors, providing real-time insights, and ensuring that investigations move with the momentum they deserve.

 

“Officers shouldn’t have to wait to get back to the office. If they’re on a scene, they should be able to submit evidence right then and there.”

 

Scalability and beyond

Moscrop’s foresight in creating Nimbus is evident in its built-in scalability. In today’s dynamic environment, organisations demand flexibility, particularly in how they deploy their technology infrastructure. Moscrop explains: “When we first started, all our customers were on-site, but they’ve slowly started moving to the cloud. Nimbus is compatible across all platforms which enables it to be scaled up easily.

The robust foundation of Nimbus is clear in its underlying technologies. “It’s a web-based application. It can run on all sorts of devices. We’ve built it with an SQL Server, using MS, and there’s a service engine around it for cloud deployments, and various other technologies to help us adapt to that scalability or volume increase of data,” Moscrop details.

But the Nimbus journey is not a static one. A primary focus for Moscrop and her team is the continuous integration of cutting-edge features: “One of the new product developments is Nimbus Intelligence.” This feature aims to revolutionise the way intelligence is managed and developed across various sectors, from law enforcement to corporate investigations. By weaving together existing functionalities, Nimbus aims to ensure that intelligence flows seamlessly from the onset, through investigations, and back into the intelligence cycle again.

Black Rainbow at ESS

For those keen to experience Nimbus in action, Moscrop invites readers to come and visit Black Rainbow at the upcoming Emergency Services Show on 19-20 September at the NEC in Birmingham. “We’re going to be co-located in the Emergency Tech show part, opposite the tech bar on stand D32,” she notes. “It’s an opportunity to come and actually see Nimbus, talk to the team behind the scenes… and maybe even get the opportunity to play around with it yourself.

The Nimbus journey, as described by Moscrop, is a testament to the merging of advanced technology with deep insights from the field. Whether it’s about scaling to new heights, integrating intelligent solutions, or engaging with the community, Nimbus is shaping the future of investigative technology.

 

““Imagine the power of having machine learning summarise complex data streams into actionable bullet points.”” Nikki Moscrop

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