Let’s start with a stat: 80% of government IT leaders experienced at least 1 critical network outage in the last 3 months.1
Public safety mission critical systems have to stay available 24 x 7 x 365. Period. A public safety system is not a “normal” IT network. Your technology needs to keep first responders safe and needs to be uniquely supported and managed to operate under all circumstances and events – planned or unplanned. You have to prepare to fail.
Understanding how your system operates in various failure modes is critical. How well can you identify an outage versus a maintenance check? What types of contingency plans do you have defined in your organization and with third-party vendors and agencies? How often are you accessing wireless coverage information to ensure you don’t have any new blind spots from when the system was first installed? If and when a failure does happen, how responsive you are to minimizing the downtime can make a significant difference in the outcome you experience.
Mission-critical network management takes rigor and expertise that requires a comprehensive approach with the right team, processes and tools. Read more about best practices you need to adopt in our whitepaper: Critical Steps to Prevent Network Downtime.
SOURCES: 1. 2016 Survey by the Center for Digital Government.
Author: Robert D. Buethe is MSSSI Global Vice President for Managed and Support Services
The promise of NG9-1-1 is a smart system that allows whatever type of media that is most relevant in an emergency to be sent to 9-1-1, whether that be texts, pictures, video, sensor information, or just a good, old-fashioned voice call. It’s a world where citizens can ask Alexa to call 9-1-1 in an emergency and she can automatically provide relevant information about you, any sensors in your household – is the fire alarm going off? – or even live video from your security system.
The other (less talked about) promise of NG9-1-1 is that it’s not going to be cheap. Many PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Points) I’ve talked to worry about how they will afford all of the new costs that come with upgrading their current system.
Top of mind to me and many PSAPs are the transport costs associated with an NG9-1-1 network. All the new media in the world is worthless if that critical information doesn’t make it to its intended destination. Missing or incomplete information could lead to misrouted first responders, or worse, sending responders with the wrong skill set to handle an emergency – potentially jeopardizing the safety of the both the public AND the responders. Currently, the number of technologies that provide this necessary reliability (such as Multiprotocol Label Switching – MPLS) is limited, and the technology providers that offer them know that and charge accordingly.
We want to make ultra-reliable, but affordable, network communications in NG9-1-1 an everyday reality across the USA, and we’ve found another company that shares that passion — Talari Networks.
Talari is a leading provider of SD-WAN technology that focuses on engineering the WAN to provide superior mission-critical application reliability and resiliency. Their solution supports physical and cloud locations that are connected through a combination of different networking technologies including MPLS and broadband Internet. In the case of 9-1-1, their technology can take multiple commodity Internet links and deliver a WAN that exceeds MPLS reliability at a much more affordable price.
Motorola Solutions and Talari believe that this technology could offer an exciting opportunity to provide PSAPs greater flexibility and affordability for transporting their NG9-1-1 data. We’re excited to let you know that we’re exploring strategic ways to combine our expertise in NG9-1-1 systems with Talari’s domain knowledge of SD-WAN networking to make the next generation of 9-1-1 life saving, and affordable.
Author: Tom Guthrie | Vice President | Smart Public Safety Solutions
Like it or not, even the best technology is destined to fail. With the rapid increase of demands placed on your mission-critical communications infrastructure -- such as adding new applications, expanding users, changing coverage needs or prioritizing data requirements -- outages are inevitable. Fortunately, organizations don’t have to be crippled in handling these challenges.
Developing continuity plans or disaster management plans is not a new concept; yet many tend to delay addressing this need until something bad happens.
What are you doing differently this year to stay better prepared? Applying best practices to maintaining and operating your critical communications system can provide better outcomes to improve your staff performance, system continuity and your bottom line.
How are you evaluating your risk of cyber attacks? Land mobile radio systems are not an exception to hacking and malware. Ransomware continues to be an increasingly costly threat and expected to remain the top cyber malware threat in 2017. Are you vigilant with monitoring this constantly-evolving cyber landscape and incorporating effective situational awareness into your resilience plan? If not now…when? Cybersecurity remains a top challenge and priority for CIOs – don’t ignore your land mobile radio system. By understanding which threats can impact your system, you can plan the appropriate response to cyber attacks. Plan an assessment to help you discover vulnerabilities and best practices to employ. And, invest in a streamlined patching process to help mitigate the threats.
Do you understand your system’s performance indicators and how to take action? Knowing what factors can influence call processing, coverage, equipment stability, false alarms, etc. provides an opportunity to analyze trends and optimize performance. What if you could correlate system information with external data sources to predict how your critical communications system will operate in various operating scenarios? Our recent webinar on Leveraging Performance Data for Operational Excellence explains more about how we’re working with customers to leverage data analytics and improve their system performance for better uptime and connectivity.
Is your network management fully automated? One of the easiest areas to improve network management efficiencies is with proper network monitoring and alerting to detect and diagnose problems. Not all system alerts are created equal. While there is a plethora of monitoring tools available on the market, it requires a combination of tools and skills to understand system behaviors. Knowing which alerts are important and having the knowledge database to effectively prioritize and respond correctly the first time can save thousands of staff hours in a year.
What’s your maintenance process? If you’re applying the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy and letting your system run on auto-pilot, you’re increasing your chances to experience something bad happening that’s going to potentially be even more costly. Routine preventive maintenance is worth the investment to extend the lifespan of your technology and ensure optimal interoperability. Planned upgrades are also critical to ensure your system is able to support the increasing volume of data from the myriad of applications adopted.
Are you facing staffing challenges? Radio network management expertise is retiring faster than it can be replaced. Hiring comprehensive Cybersecurity expertise may be budget constraining in today’s competitive market. No one knows Motorola Solutions’ mission-critical networks better than Motorola Solutions. We are ready to assist you with over 4,000 specialists worldwide dedicated to ensure our customers’ mission critical systems are reliably operating 24x7x365 – spanning 100+ countries managing over 500,000 devices and over 10,000 sites.
I could go on with the list of questions to consider. It’s always a good practice to take some time and reflect how your organization is changing this year and ensure you have the right support in place.
Author: Robert D. Buethe is MSSSI Global Vice President for Managed and Support Services
The 2016 Law Enforcement Survey Results are in. What did we learn?
Better policing relies on technology innovation that improves community relations.
We learned that you are looking to connect with the community in new ways to better fight crime. And, you want to leverage existing data, new multi-media sources of information and smart devices to do so.
In helping to deter crime and protect the community, survey respondents acknowledged an understanding of the value of data collected from answering thousands of emergency calls and text messages, body-worn cameras, surveillance cameras and records systems. By equipping officers with the most necessary information from the start of an incident, better judgement can be applied when making decisions, citizen engagement improved and ultimately lives saved.
Respondents also acknowledged needing additional tools like 311 call-taking systems, social media feeds, citizen tip lines and community available crime reports to create a two-way dialogue with citizens about activities in their community and reduce the need to fulfill individual requests.
During an incident, the requirement to access data continues to rise, year-over year. In fact, Chiefs (78%), Captains (83%) and Patrol Officers (70%) exhibited a higher demand for always available data. Not unexpectedly, video in particular is still soaring in popularity with 90% of law enforcement agencies using video. Having extra “eyes”, or a virtual cop, on the street allows officers to react more quickly, identify perpetrators, gain valuable evidence, and close cases with more visual context making the community and officers safer.
These findings also led us to a new and telling conclusion. As law enforcement personnel exchange more and new information with peers, command staff, neighboring agencies and citizens, they need to do it effectively, but it is not a one size fits all approach. For peers it may mean a quick text, for citizens a phone call. It all comes down to building relationships and leveraging the right tools to quickly build situational awareness around an incident or assure citizens you are being transparent. This has translated in a booming desire for additional smart devices and mobile applications to supplement traditional means of communication.
The key to success in implementing these new technologies was also resoundingly apparent from the survey. To meet these new needs people must be able to work together seamlessly, across networks, devices and applications so agencies and citizens can benefit.
To learn more about how we’re helping agencies put it all together, join me as I kick off our 2017 Smart Public Safety Webinar Series where throughout the year we will explore the different facets of public safety operations and how new technologies can work together to help you improve community relations.
Author: Colonel James M. Wolfinbarger (Ret.) is Public Safety Industry Expert
The International Labour Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally. More than half are women. A quarter are children. The victims of trafficking, exploited for sex or labor, are the most vulnerable and desperate among us. But it’s not only in far off countries where people are victimized. In 2015, it’s estimated 25,000 people were trafficked in the US*. Mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, neighbors and laborers—they can all be victims.
Officer Lourdes Nieto, a thirteen-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, knows these statistics well. For her, these grim statistics are more than an unspeakable injustice. They’re a call to action. A single mom from one of Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods, Officer Nieto works tirelessly to raise awareness of human trafficking among citizens and the police. On her own time—on top of her daily responsibilities—she trains other officers to recognize the signs of trafficking. She conducts community information sessions to help people learn to spot and stop trafficking. And she spends time with survivors at a local safe house, cooking for them, talking with them, and helping them heal.
For showing what it means to go above and beyond the call of duty, Officer Nieto was named an American Red Cross 2016 Law Enforcement Hero.
Her compassion and dedication inspire others to keep innovating so first responders can be their best in the moments that matter.
We’re forever grateful to the men and women who fulfill their duty when we need them most. Learn about them and help us honor them by telling their stories with the hashtag #DutyRunsDeep.
Josie Slaughter is Senior Global Marketing Manager at Motorola Solutions
Wow! 2016, what a year! For 25 years, ASTRO has continually evolved to meet the changing needs of its users. Today’s ASTRO 25 is an all-IP platform with COTS hardware running highly secure and reliable software. For the past year, this 25th anniversary blog series highlighted some of the features requested by our customers, told by the insiders who helped make them a reality.
In our January blog, we predicted LTE and broadband would continue to have an influence on the industry. FirstNet, now on the verge of becoming a reality in the U.S., has changed the conversation of public safety communications. The need for interoperability between Land Mobile Radio and mobile broadband has become clear. We also predicted the continued growth of services throughout the year, and ASTRO 25 has met that with the introduction of the simplified services packages which include the new converged MyView portal.
Emphasizing how much our world has changed, the early 2016 blogs talked about interoperability and data, topics that were not top of mind 25 years ago. We discussed how to keep your system operating at peak performance and then moved into exciting new features that are now part of our 25th-anniversary software release.
Looking toward 2017, we expect to see data taking a larger role, particularly in public safety and ASTRO 25 will continue to evolve. FirstNet will provide more access to data which will then drive change for first responders as well as dispatch. We will see more software-enabled features which will allow ASTRO 25 to respond more rapidly to the changing market. We expect to see the continued growth of services as solutions become defined by outcome more than simply by the delivery of features.
I want to end 2016 with a big thank you to the MTUG (Motorola Trunked User Group) organization for their continued feedback. User feedback provides valuable input and helps set the direction of ASTRO 25. This has always been a big help to us in making sure that ASTRO 25 continues to be an effective mission-critical platform.
Happy 25th birthday ASTRO 25, and many more!
Learn more about ASTRO 25 at www.motorolasolutions.com/astro25
Geoff Hobar is ASTRO Business Operations Manager at Motorola Solutions.