MCP Insights

911’s 50th Anniversary Wish List: Advanced Mobile Location

Posted by Dave Sehnert on Feb 16, 2018 3:45:00 PM

Three weeks ago, my colleague, John Chiaramonte, made an impassioned plea to the four major wireless carriers. He asked them to serve the critical needs of the 911 sector and all those who dial those digits in their time of greatest need by turning on Advanced Mobile Location (AML)—now.  Today, on the 50th Anniversary of 911, I am delighted to write about an alternate solution to getting life-saving enhanced location technology into the hands of the telecommunicator.

Yesterday afternoon, RapidSOS released the results from its NG911 Clearinghouse Android Emergency Location Services (ELS) Pilot Project held last month in three jurisdictions across the United States: Collier County, Florida, North Central Texas, and Loudon County, Tennessee.  Each represents a variety of topography and population, as well as integration with an assortment of existing public safety answering point (PSAP) software.

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Topics: Next Generation 911, Network Evolution, Public Safety Technology, 911 Anniversary

Change for 911 is Inevitable, and That's a Good Thing

Posted by John Spearly on Feb 15, 2018 3:15:00 PM

Change is an interesting concept, a philosophical tug of war if you will. It can be viewed as positive or negative, exciting or demoralizing, vital or unnecessary, and easy or difficult, depending on one’s perspective. The one thing that universally can be said about change is that it is inevitable. As the ancient philosopher Heraclitus once opined, “The only thing that is constant is change.”

Change also is disruptive, which is why many people and organizations try to avoid it. The status quo is comfortable. It is known, and the unknown tends to make people uncomfortable at best, fearful at worst. For many people and organizations, accepting change is akin to declaring defeat, to admitting that the current approach isn’t working.

Profound changes are coming to the public safety sector

Yet, profound changes are coming to the public safety sector, like runaway trains, one after the other. Text-to-911 service is being implemented in many jurisdictions, which will provide equal access to the 911 system to the deaf, deaf-blind, hearing-impaired, and speech-impaired communities, in addition to those who would place themselves in greater danger if they make a 911 voice call, such as during a home invasion or domestic-abuse incident. Text-to-911 is a life-changing development if ever there was one.

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Topics: Next Generation 911, Network Evolution, 911 Anniversary

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

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: Network Evolution, Mission Critical Technology

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: Next Generation 911, Network Evolution, 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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