MCP Insights

How to Lessen the Impact of Public Safety Vendor Consolidations

Posted by John Chiaramonte on Sep 27, 2018 3:00:00 PM

A baseball adage says that when a pitcher throws you a curveball, you hit it to the opposite field. But what do you do when the pitcher hurls a fastball right at your head?

The public safety version of this scenario occurs whenever system or technology vendors consolidate, either through merger or acquisition, an action that often places their customers in a very precarious position. Agencies immediately wonder whether their already deployed systems will be supported in the same manner as before the consolidation.

Often, they are not, in part because some number of administrative, engineering and service personnel typically leave a company after a consolidation.

Worse, systems and equipment often are eliminated in the aftermath of a consolidation, usually because of product redundancies. Preparing for system and equipment end of life always is challenging, but it becomes terrifying when it occurs suddenly and with no warning. Public safety agencies are in the business of saving lives and that becomes significantly more difficult when communications systems are rendered inoperable because replacement components or maintenance services cannot be procured—because they no longer exist.  

Read More

Topics: Public Safety Technology, Technology Procurement and Integration, Industry News

Trends in Computer Aided Dispatch Systems for 911 Centers

Posted by Bob Scott on Aug 30, 2018 2:00:00 PM

In emergency communications, the computer-aided dispatch system, or CAD, functions as the informational hub of the public safety answering point (PSAP). As technology continues to impact everything we do as consumers – from purchasing of goods, to our communications with friends, to navigating us from point A to point B – public safety must modernize its systems to meet communities’ demands for faster and improved emergency response.

Over the years, driven by advancements in consumer technology, CAD systems have undergone their own evolution. For many years, CAD systems were specific to a single agency. Today, CAD systems have evolved into multi-agency, unified platforms that enable greater flexibility and facilitate information sharing, not just between the PSAP and field personnel, but also between departments and neighboring jurisdictions.

Read More

Topics: Operations, Public Safety Technology, Technology Procurement and Integration

Top Takeaways from APCO 2018

Posted by Glenn Bischoff on Aug 20, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Earlier this month, public safety communications professionals descended on Las Vegas for the 2018 APCO International Conference and Expo, the premier event for those in the public safety industry. Over four days, attendees participated in professional development sessions and toured the exhibit hall to talk with vendors and subject-matter experts to gain their insights regarding the future of emergency communications.

While this year’s focus conference focused heavily on cutting-edge issues and technology, there were a few especially hot topics that kept the convention center buzzing.

Read More

Topics: APCO 2018, Public Safety Technology, Industry News

How to Protect Your Siren System from Hackers

Posted by Brian Malinich on Aug 13, 2018 9:30:20 AM

Emergency siren systems respond in various ways based on the type of activation tone that is transmitted. The tones correspond to the type of event that has occurred. Sometimes they will sound in a continuous burst for a predetermined length of time, other times they will sound in a series of short bursts, and for the most severe events they might emit prerecorded audio that contains critical instructions, for instance evacuation orders in the event of a wildfire.

In April 2017, someone hacked into the emergency weather siren system operated by the city of Dallas. The sirens are intended to warn citizens of weather events so serious that they should take immediate cover. Most of the time the sirens are used to warn of tornadoes, which are quite common in the region in the spring. On this night, the hacker reportedly unleashed all 156 sirens in the system simultaneously. Some media reports indicated that they blared for about 90 minutes, while others indicated that they sounded more than a dozen times for 90-second intervals. Regardless, the hack spawned quite a bit of panic. It also generated a lot of questions from government officials, the media and citizens.

Last month, sirens went off in Genesee County, Michigan, without any emergency to justify turning them on. Reportedly, this was the third time the sirens were activated in a month without apparent cause, and county public safety officials believe that the system was hacked each time.

Read More

Topics: Operations, Public Safety Technology

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.

Read More

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

Evolving the public safety industry

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.

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts