MCP Insights

The Critical Role of Standards for NG911 Implementation

Posted by John Chiaramonte on Apr 19, 2019 12:30:00 PM

Throughout the design, development, and implementation of Next Generation 911 (NG911), one fundamental requirement has remained true: to achieve interoperability across the entire public safety communications ecosystem, NG911 implementations must adhere to a standard. For many years now, the 911 community has agreed that the NG911 standard is the National Emergency Number Association’s (NENA) Detailed Functional and Interface Standards for the NENA i3 Solution[1], commonly known as "NENA i3."

The first version of the standard, NENA 08-003, was ratified in June 2011. Since then, the standard was renumbered as NENA-STA-010.2-2016 when it was last updated in 2016. Later this year, NENA plans to revise the standard yet again expects American National Standards Institute (ANSI) ratification once again.

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Topics: Next Generation 911, Network Evolution, Integrated Public Safety Communications

The Three Components of an Effective Vendor Support Agreement

Posted by Mark Perkins on Apr 18, 2019 9:00:00 AM

When it comes to public safety vendor management, times have changed—dramatically.

A decade and a half ago, information technology (IT) managers and agency leadership dealt principally with a small number of support vendors. Service agreements were simple and easy to understand. Today, in stark contrast, the landscape is much different. The average agency has nearly 30 agreements—covering a plethora of systems—on which to stay current. The vendor support agreements themselves have become dramatically more complex. And many of the personalized relationships that were formed in the past no longer exist. What’s more common today is that customer support is provided by network operations centers or help desks where service and troubleshooting might be addressed by a different technician every time a new ticket is opened.

So, what does it take to be more effective at navigating the complexity of vendor support and management in today’s public safety communications environment? How can you begin to trust your maintenance and service providers again?

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Topics: Operations

This Weekend's GPS Rollover Event Requires Public Safety Communication's Attention

Posted by Dennis Matzen on Apr 5, 2019 11:00:00 AM

Global Positioning System (GPS)-based time sources are used throughout the public safety sector to synchronize a wide array of systems and equipment, including radio consoles, voice recorders, and computer-aided dispatch, fire alarm and video surveillance systems. Such time sources, known as master clocks, also ensure that every system used by a public safety agency generates an accurate, consistent timestamp for every emergency event that requires a law enforcement, fire/rescue and/or emergency medical services (EMS) response.

An event that will occur in two days—Saturday, April 6—threatens to throw things out of sync, at least to some degree. GPS marks time by transmitting signals that indicate the current week and the number of seconds into that week. That data is then converted by the various systems and equipment into the more recognizable format of year, month, day and time of day.

Because the field that represents the current week is a 10-bit binary number, a total of 1,024 weeks can transpire—roughly 19.7 years—before GPS resets the week value to zero. In the world of GPS, this time period is known as an epoch. The first epoch began on January 6, 1980 and rolled over on August 21, 1999; the second epoch will roll over in two days.

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Topics: Industry News, Public Safety Technology

Life at MCP: Meet Heather McGaffin

Posted by Morgan Sava on Mar 14, 2019 3:30:00 PM
Our people and culture make Mission Critical Partners (MCP) a great place to work. Our "Life at MCP" series introduces our team members, the role they play in our organization and their passion for helping the public safety industry thrive.

One thing that differentiates the team of specialized professionals at MCP is the fact that many of them came from the “other side.”

Nearly half of MCP’s subject matter experts were former public safety answering point (PSAP) managers or first responders who have dedicated their entire career to supporting the mission. With them comes specialized industry experience and a unique perspective on what clients really want in order to realize project success.

One such example is Heather McGaffin. Heather is a Communications Consultant at MCP, where she works primarily on next generation 911 (NG911) projects. With her comes the operational experience she’s earned from rising up the ranks in the PSAP environment. Her career began as a telecommunicator and she quickly rose to the role of assistant chief of communications in a Maryland PSAP where she worked until she joined MCP in 2015. Today, she plays a unique part in helping clients along their NG911 journey—focusing on the human aspect of NG911, which includes training and continuing education so that telecommunicators and PSAP administrators can thrive in an NG911 environment.

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Topics: Next Generation 911, Life at MCP, Meet Our People

Public Safety Cloud Solutions: Clear Sailing Ahead

Posted by Chad Brothers on Mar 8, 2019 11:29:03 AM

Do not be alarmed—those are not storm clouds on the horizon.

What you are seeing is the front line of cloud-based solutions entering the 911 technology marketplace. While cloud-based computing in its current form has been used effectively for more than a decade in non-public-safety markets, the 911 community has been glacier-like in adopting this technology. This largely is because 911 officials have been reticent to trust that cloud-hosted solutions can meet the rigorous demands of operating 24 x 7 x 365 with high reliability and availability—which is essential in a 911 center. 

However, cloud solutions have proved that they can achieve this high standard with other mission-critical entities, such as National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Department of Defense missile systems. They also have proved to be quite advantageous from implementation, maintenance, scalability, disaster-recovery and cost perspectives.

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Topics: Technology Procurement and Integration, Public Safety Technology, Integrated Public Safety Communications

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MCP Insights by Mission Critical Partners is the online destination for public safety leaders to expand their knowledge, stay abreast of trends, and discover innovative ideas to help implement change that will advance the industry... Because the mission matters.

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