MCP Insights

Announcing the Launch of MCP's Book, Expert Advice to Guide Your Mission-Critical Facility Project

Posted by Morgan Sava on Oct 26, 2018 3:30:00 PM

A project to build or refurbish an emergency communications center—including a 911 center—or an emergency operations center is no small undertaking. Generally speaking, the decisions made will impact the agency and its stakeholders for at least 20 years, perhaps a half century or more.

Mission-critical facilities must meet today’s operational and technology requirements while being flexible enough to accommodate the unforeseen practices and systems deployed in the future. The complexity of such a project is daunting. Every single decision impacts many other aspects of the facility and the desired operational outcome—just as a pebble tossed into a lake creates ripples that are many times larger than the pebble. Therefore, a great deal of thought needs to be put into sizing, purposing and equipping the facility.

In light of that, we are excited to announce the launch of MCP's new book nearly ten years in the making, "Expert Advice to Guide Your Mission-Critical Facility Project."

The basis of this book is to offer guidance to those who are spearheading facility projects, whether they be government officials, public safety directors or facility managers. The MCP Team has learned the hard lessons about what works, and what doesn't, when it comes to facility design. This book is intended to share those lessons in order to help project leaders navigate the constraints and challenges that could have a detrimental impact on bringing the facility to fruition.

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Topics: Mission Critical Technology, Public Safety Technology, Public Safety Facilities

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

Build a Smart PSAP Cyber Security Strategy: 8 Critical "Must-Haves"

Posted by Mike Beagles on Sep 5, 2017 4:00:00 PM

The emergency communications industry is a growing target for cyber security attacks and the threat is only just beginning. Public safety communications infrastructure is becoming more IP-based, and as a result, it's vulnerability to cyber threats is on the rise. There are more than 6,000 PSAPs located across the country, and 80 percent of them are small, making them unlikely to have inadequate cyber security defense programs. This is just one factor, among many, that makes 911 systems an attractive target for cyber-attacks.

Several major cyber security incidents have plagued the industry in the recent months, including

  • An October 2016 attack where a teenager accidently impacted 911 centers around the country with a Twitter post containing a link that once clicked on, hijacked your iPhone and dialed 911 repeatedly. The post was clicked more than 117,000 times.
  • Ransomware that affected 300 PCs and 40 servers with sensitive data plagued Madison County, who paid an astounding $21,000 in ransom (later covered by cyber insurance). The cost in
    man-hours to restore data is unknown and irretrievable.

These are just two examples that demonstrate that cyber threats are growing in complexity and sophistication, and could continue to increase in severity as PSAPs become more interconnected, both regionally and at the statewide level.

So what cyber threats exist and what steps can you take  to prepare your psap?

Understanding the types of cyber threats that exist today, PSAP and IT Managers can better protect the data and assets within their 911 centers that could be targets.

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Topics: Mission Critical Technology, Network Evolution

Statewide Implementations Are Best For Text-to-911

Posted by Sherri Griffith Powell on Aug 21, 2017 5:00:00 PM

Imagine being on the freeway and encountering a horrific accident, one that almost certainly has resulted in fatalities. You instinctively reach for your mobile phone, and then freeze—because you are a member of the deaf/hard-of-hearing/speech-disabled community and text-to-911 service has yet to arrive where you live.

This is no hypothetical event. It actually happened to Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin, who spoke about it during her keynote address at the 2013 Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) national conference. Matlin—who has been a devoted advocate for text-to-911 service—reportedly said at the time, “Instead of being able to instantly text to 911, I had to trust and leave it to other bystanders. And I shudder to think, what if it had been me in the accident—how could I have called?”

Four years later, text-to-911 service still isn’t ubiquitous in the United States—in fact, it is nowhere close to ubiquity, as only about 14 percent of public safety answering points in the United States have implemented the service.

This leads to a critical question: why isn’t this lifesaving feature universally available today?

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Topics: Network Evolution, Mission Critical Technology, Next Generation 911

Four Tips for Agencies Considering Mission Critical Push-to-Talk Apps

Posted by Nick Falgiatore on May 30, 2017 4:20:27 PM

A myriad of commercial push to talk application options exist for public safety users, and for good reason. There are many benefits that can be realized by interfacing an existing mission critical land mobile radio system with a commercial push to talk service. You can read all about these benefits on our earlier post, “What is commercial push to talk technology and why does it matter for your public safety land mobile radio strategy?”

Or you can download our free whitepaper on this topic, “The Case for Push to Talk Technology in Public Safety.”

In this post, we will summarize what’s available in commercial mission critical technology, provide some detail around how the solutions work and what their advantages and disadvantages are.

At a very basic level, there are essentially three classes of PTT apps that integrate with LMR systems.

  • LMR-based – Apps that are available from traditional LMR vendors such as those that are provided by Motorola Solutions and Harris Corporation
  • Carrier-integrated – Apps that are available from commercial wireless carriers
  • Third-party – Apps that are available from third party providers
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Topics: Land Mobile Radio, Mission Critical 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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