The Consumer Technology Association’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) wrapped up earlier this month in Las Vegas, and 911 and public safety communications should be paying attention now more than ever before.
This past year, we launched an online repository of articles called MCP Insights. Our vision was to create a destination for public safety communications and government leaders to expand their knowledge, stay abreast of emerging trends within the industry and hear about new ideas that will help to advance the industry and ultimately, improve emergency response outcomes.
This article features the most shared posts among our readership this past year. Read on to learn more, and while you’re at it, subscribe to receive notifications when a new MCP Insight is released.
A Massive Outage that Affected PSAPs Across the US
In March 2017, an extensive outage impacted 911 service in a number of states. It revealed the need for increased communication among service providers during outages and similar incidents, but it also reminded us that PSAPs should take proactive steps to soften the impacts of unpredictable outages, beginning with an extensive refresh and review of their policies and procedures, as well as testing.
“Sunny-day” outages, like the one that occurred in March, is just another example of why the public safety communications sector needs to push forward with Next Generation 911 (NG911).
Ready or not, data is taking over the world. So what does that mean for emergency communications?
The way in which public safety answering points (PSAPs) respond to both emergency, and non-emergency events, will change dramatically once public safety communications starts harnessing the the increasing availability of data in our communities. Here are some interesting stats:
- Internet-connected machines are expected to be more than 200 billion by 2020 according to research from Intel.
- Gartner predicts that the IoT market will eventually include 20.8 billion things.
- Technology giant Ericsson predicts that in 2018, there will be more IoT gadgets than mobile devices.
In today’s communications environment, PSAPs rely primarily on voice communications to provide an up-to-date picture of what’s happening at the emergency scene and communicate with other first responders. This is problematic when the communications infrastructure becomes disabled during natural disasters, or when a victim is unable to place a call for help.
The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), a statewide agency tasked with coordinating prevention, response and recovery activities related to natural and manmade emergencies in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, wanted to introduce new technology and replace aging systems in its legacy Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
MCP is extremely proud to have played a role in helping PEMA construct and implement an innovative and modern EOC that dramatically improves their administrative and operational capabilities, both day-to-day and during emergencies. The new facility opened in July 2016 – and was completed under budget, despite the fact that the budget was established nearly a full decade before construction was completed.
Pennsylvania Emergency Operations Center Facility - Harrisburg, PA
Their original facility, located in a suburb near the state capital of Harrisburg, was not originally designed to be a coordination center during large, multijurisdictional events. Not only did this hamper the agency’s operations, it also had space constraints that prevented PEMA from introducing new technology and scaling its operations to meet the needs of today’s emergency response environment.
Next Generation 911 (NG911) and the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) promise to be powerful platforms that will improve response times, create resource efficiencies and revolutionize how public safety operates. We believe that NG911 content, defined as value-added data inputs about a call, caller or the location of a call, will not only enable first responders in the migration towards NG911, but will also help drive NG911 adoption.