MCP Insights

MCP Urges FCC to Promote Uniform Adoption of Location-Based Routing Technologies

Posted by Dave Sehnert on May 17, 2018 2:30:00 PM

On March 22, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a notice of inquiry about how to route 911 calls to the proper call center faster and what the public should expect when calling 911 from a wireless device.

911 centers continue to struggle with location accuracy. The problem has been the subject of intense media scrutiny of late. The key question: why smartphone applications provide better location information than that received by 911 centers.

This negative media attention is well-warranted. Emergency call misroutes occur in great volumes across the U.S. every day. Misroutes, or misrouted calls, are 911 calls that are received by one PSAP and then transferred to another. However, it is important to note that the “misroutes” that are the subject of the FCC's recent inquiry mostly result from current 911 call routing mechanisms that rely on a cell tower location working as designed, not from technical failure of those mechanisms.

MCP has witnessed this firsthand in two states where we have conducted wireless integrity testing. In one county, we witnessed an astonishing error rate—38 percent of all test calls were misrouted. With wireless devices generating 80 percent of 911 calls across the nation, with some states experiencing up to 90 percent, emergency call misroutes literally are a life-and-death problem.

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Topics: Next Generation 911, public safety, 911 Anniversary

The Difference Between Change Management and Change Leadership In Public Safety Communications

Posted by John Spearly on May 7, 2018 12:00:00 PM

Profound changes are coming to the public safety sector, particularly to 911 centers. Next Generation 911 systems and the nationwide public safety broadband network—which is being implemented by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet)—will generate a tremendous amount of new, actionable data in real-time that dramatically will enhance situational awareness, in turn improving emergency response by leaps and bounds. In time, even more usable information generated by the billions of data-collection sensors already in place—whose numbers will reach into the trillions in the not-too-distant future—will be leveraged by 911 centers, which will become the center of the information universe, at least as it pertains to public safety.

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Topics: Next Generation 911, Network Evolution, FirstNet, Operations, 911 Anniversary

If you’re operating an IP-based 911 network, plan to be attacked

Posted by Mark Perkins on Apr 24, 2018 5:00:00 PM

From coast to coast, public safety agencies are implementing Emergency Services Internet Protocol (IP) Networks (ESInets) to provide Next Generation 911 (NG911) services. Such broadband-enabled networks promise to greatly enhance emergency response, as they will enable bandwidth-intensive files, such as streaming video, to be received by NG911-capable public safety answering points (PSAPs) and then shared with first responders in the field, bringing situational awareness to new, lofty levels.

At the same time, ESInets will enable PSAPs to share data with each other seamlessly and in real time, and will enable them to serve as backups to each other in the event that one or more PSAPs in a region are rendered inoperable, inaccessible or uninhabitable due to a disaster.

More than 180 PSAP cyber attacks in the last two years

That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that municipal communications systems, especially 911 systems, are viewed in the black-hat hacker community as a very large notch in the belt, so they increasingly are being targeted. More than 180 cyber attacks on PSAP infrastructure have been recorded in the last two years alone. A huge factor is that IP networks are far more vulnerable to cyber attack than the closed networks provided by telecommunications carriers that carried 911 calls to PSAPs for most of the last half century. (Learn more about this and how 911 network management is changing in our upcoming webinar on 4/26.)

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Topics: Next Generation 911, Network Evolution

Records Are Meant To Be Broken, Right? DDoS Attacks Are a Concern to 911

Posted by John Chiaramonte on Mar 6, 2018 5:30:00 PM

Computer and cybersecurity nerds across the internet are marveling at last week’s report of a record-breaking distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack aimed at a software development website called GitHub that caused intermittent access outages.

For those unfamiliar with DDoS attacks, they are intended to block public access to an online service by flooding it with junk data or repeated requests from multiple, and often compromising sources, thereby rendering legitimate access impossible. DDoS attacks are increasing in quantity, breadth, and sophistication. Some attacks have gone as far as demanding a ransom to terminate the attack.

Cyber attacks are on the rise, and public safety MUST protect against them

As we talk with our public safety communications clients about implementing a statewide emergency services IP network (ESInet) and / or Next Generation Core Services (NGCS), we cannot stress enough that protecting these Internet Protocol (IP)-based, broadband-enabled networks is paramount. Government DDoS attacks  have already caused many detrimental and unforeseeable effects on emergency response. Recently, the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) released their 2018 SLTT Government Outlook which, not surprisingly, highlighted its position that the “sophistication of malware, cyber threat actors, and tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) will continue to increase.”

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Topics: Next Generation 911, Broadband, Integrated Public Safety Communications, 911 Anniversary

Integrating crowd-sourced data into 911 is a great idea

Posted by Glenn Bischoff on Mar 1, 2018 9:00:00 AM

During the Early Adopter Summit—a gathering of 911 industry professionals on the leading edge of disruptive innovation, both technological and operational, convened last November by Christy Williams, 911 director for the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG)—Michael Morris, NCTCOG’s director of transportation, told a story about a colleague who recently had encountered a considerable amount of road debris.

The colleague had called 911 to report the debris and learned that this was the only call that had been received about the matter. However, the colleague also was told that Waze, the crowd-sourced mapping and navigation application, indicated that five of its users had reported the debris, with the first instance occurring 38 minutes prior to the colleague calling 911.

Integrate Waze with the 911 system?

Morris then spoke about the possibility of someday integrating applications such as Waze with the 911 system. “I’m not saying that it would be easy to integrate Waze with a 911 system,” he said. “But there are algorithms that can be written so that, maybe once you get the second or third verification … it (becomes) a 911 item. It gets back to the notion of prevention, versus just responding.”

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Topics: Next Generation 911, Network Evolution, 911 Anniversary

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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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