MCP Insights

Five Takeaways from the 2018 NENA Conference

Posted by Dave Sehnert on Jun 29, 2018 11:00:00 AM

The 2018 NENA Conference may have been the best yet. Combine Nashville, thousands of emergency communications professionals sharing ideas and experiences, and more than ninety hours of breakout sessions and you have the framework for true movement in the industry.

And we did have movement.

iOS 12 will help save time and lives: By far the hottest topic was the national headline-generating announcement from Apple and RapidSOS.  Apple’s new iOS 12 – launching later this year – will automatically and securely share its HELO location data via the RapidSOS NG911 Clearinghouse. HELO is Apple’s Hybridized Emergency Location application which estimates a mobile 911 caller’s location using cell towers and on-device data sources like GPS and WIFI Access Points.

The move opens up accurate location data for 911 callers who are among the 85 million iPhone users in the U.S. – nearly 43% of the total smartphone market. The step is a significant one and one that MCP believes will result in faster and more accurate information to help reduce emergency response times once available to PSAPs.

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Topics: Industry News, 911

Apple Announces a Promising Step Toward Solving 911's Wireless Location Challenges

Posted by John Chiaramonte on Jan 26, 2018 3:00:00 PM

Sensational headlines criticizing the 911 industry’s inability to accurately and quickly locate emergency callers abound, like this recent one in the Wall Street Journal: “Why Uber Can Find You but 911 Can’t.” This is one of the industry’s most intractable issues—as TV host John Oliver said in 2016, “There doesn’t appear to be a simple, satisfying answer,” to why smartphone apps provide much better location information than that received by 911 centers.

Those within the industry understand the problem: 80 percent or more of all 911 calls are made using a wireless device, and such calls are routed based on Phase I data, which is the location of the cellular tower. More accurate “Phase II” data can become available (usually) in 25-35 seconds of the call being received by the 911 center, but that depends on multiple factors, including signal strength/distortion, geography and topology, especially when calls are made inside structures.

But, smartphones are supposed to be “smart” and the device knows where the caller is physically located, because of embedded GPS sensors and Wi-Fi positioning systems. Unfortunately, as we know all too well, today’s 911 systems do not have access to that device-generated location information.

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Topics: Industry News, Mission Critical Technology, Integrated Public Safety Communications

Takeaways from the CES Show and Why it Matters for Public Safety Communications

Posted by Morgan Sava on Jan 19, 2018 3:00:00 PM

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.

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

Shooting Death Underscores Urgent Need for Action on Swatting Incidents

Posted by John Chiaramonte on Jan 8, 2018 4:00:00 PM

Swatting, the practice of falsely reporting an emergency to elicit a response from a police department’s special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team, is not a new phenomenon for the 911 community.

What is new is that a death has occurred as a result of a swatting incident.

On December 28, 2017, a dispute between online gamers turned ugly. Media reports say that one group, seeking retribution for some perceived wrongdoing, contacted a known swatter in Los Angeles and convinced him to act on their behalf. The swatter placed a call, spoofing his telephone number, to an administrative line at city hall in Wichita, Kansas, and a security guard transferred the call to 911. The caller told the 911 telecommunicator that he had shot his father in the head, was holding his mother and sister at gunpoint, had doused the house with gasoline, and was contemplating setting the building ablaze.

The telecommunicator dispatched a police response to the address provided by the caller. When police arrived, a 27-year-old man answered the door, and immediately was told to raise his hands and walk toward the officers. Regrettably, he lowered his hands to his waist, and an officer found the action threatening enough to fire a single shot at the man, killing him.

When one stops to mull this for a moment, especially considering the type of response that is dispatched to such incidents, it seems amazing that a swatting death has not happened before.

As if this event wasn’t tragic enough, the man had nothing to do with the online gaming dispute. In fact, he reportedly wasn’t a gamer at all—the swatter had provided a wrong address for the actual swatting target.

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Topics: Industry News, Operations, Public Safety Technology

A Look Back at 2017's Most Read Stories on MCP Insights

Posted by Morgan Sava on Dec 21, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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).

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Topics: Industry News, Public Safety Technology

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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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