Right now, you are sitting on a wealth of operationally relevant data. Crimes committed. Calls to 9-1-1 received. Incident reports filed. It's equally likely you might feel overwhelmed by it, maybe even paralyzed by it, because you can't easily access it, compile or share it. Supporting 55 public safety agencies and eight 9-1-1 PSAPs in Will County, Ill., we are the keepers of a wealth of "big data," so we understand firsthand both the challenges and opportunities that role brings.
The reality is that data in and of itself provides little value. It's the insights that you gain from data –when you can easily make sense of it and act on it – that matters. And robust data analytics are the key to unlocking that value. In Will County, we use data analytics to bring focus to the historical and real-time data points that matter most. This allows us to respond to the growing number of requests coming from every level of agency that we support. As an example, dispatch supervisors want complete 9-1-1 operation statistics, overall call volume, answering rate and number of calls on hold. Incident commanders want a real-time snapshot of crime patterns by zone so they can proactively adjust resource assignments.
With the increasing pace of technology evolution, and all the new data sources that are emerging, 9-1-1 PSAPs are likely to be quickly overrun with even more data. At the same time, agencies are challenged with shrinking budgets and staff, and looking for cost-effective ways to leverage the data that surrounds them.
What if you could create intuitive, visual dashboards of your data to allow your personnel to see new patterns and trends, and foster greater understanding of a situation, process or event? What if you could monitor employee performance and resource allocations in real time? What if you could compare real-time crime trends with historical information to proactively deploy resources to trouble hotspots? All of this is possible with data analytics. You'll be able to answer the "what if" questions, along with those you didn't even know to ask.
There's no doubt that the importance of using data analytics is growing every day. The right data analytics strategy and tools will help you connect and extract data faster, and establish short-term and long-term operational goals more easily. Agencies will share data more readily between departments and across jurisdictions, and be able to respond to a variety of requests for in-depth analysis faster. Not surprisingly, agencies can also track useful secondary information like vehicle usage and code enforcement to achieve even greater operational efficiencies. And, data analytics can even turn data into dollars by allowing agencies to identify information that could help them qualify for grants.
Big data will only get bigger and more complex. Investing in and leveraging tools that help your agency achieve a 360-degree actionable view of organizational data will not just be a nice to have, but a critical capability.
Dale Murray is Operations Manager of the Will County 9-1-1 System in Joliet, Illinois.
Learn more about the Will County 9-1-1 System here.
Last week in Las Vegas at the International Wireless Conference and Expo, I co-presented “The Future of Wireless in Medicine”, along with Kevin McGinnis, a communications technology adviser with the National Association of State EMS Officials and FirstNet Board Member representing the interests of the EMS community.
Narrowing the broad topic, the session focused on the application of mobile telemedicine for the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) segment of public safety and was certainly of high interest to those in attendance seeking to learn more about the ramifications of medical applications for wireless broadband.
Both Kevin and I are longtime proponents of EMS telemedicine, so we walked the audience through the evolutionary path from the past, to what is possible now, to our view of the future. The exciting part is that we are now seeing the convergence of technology: PC, mobile devices, broadband LTE and videoconferencing are being used to meet the challenges that healthcare faces to improve patient care while reducing healthcare costs, emergency room visits and hospital re-admits. EMS telemedicine is the tool that will help EMS cross into the next frontier.
“EMS Telemedicine has the promise of opening the door to many opportunities that will broaden the assessment, diagnostic and management capabilities of prehospital providers. Recruiting a distant physician specialist to enhance the medic’s ability to employ increasingly advanced diagnostic analyses – from complex electrocardiographic interpretation to parsing through difficult patient medical scenarios, can only result in a higher level of professionalism and improved patient care. I am looking forward to seeing EMS cross this new frontier.”
Dr. Raymond Fowler
Professor of Emergency Medicine and Surgery University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Chief of Operations University of Texas EMS System
With telemedicine capabilities, paramedics in the field and physicians at the hospital can work together to improve clinical decisions and patient care. For example, deciding on appropriate transport: Does the paramedic drive the extra distance to a trauma or burn center, or go to the local hospital? Is there a valid need to call for the helicopter at a cost of $5,000 to $20,000, or is the patient able to travel to the hospital by ground ambulance? As more community paramedics are trained, they’ll have the knowledge and confidence to refer a patient to his personal physician and cancel the trip to the emergency department, freeing up resources and reducing costs.
Care providers also can use the enhanced information that telemedicine provides to better prepare the receiving hospitals and specialty teams like trauma, burn, stroke and cardiac. Telemedicine is not just a tool for disasters; it can apply to everyday incidents. The need for EMS telemedicine is a time/space issue, not just a rural/urban distance issue. Transport time during rush hour or an emergency event in a city can also be long, and the most appropriate hospital may not necessarily be the closest.
While the public may expect that paramedics can video chat with physicians, just like we Skype with our sons and daughters at college, both technical and regulatory requirements make off-the-shelf solutions ineffective in the mobile wireless environment – or possibly even illegal when HIPAA and patient confidentiality are considered. Sending medical pictures and video clips from the scene illustrates that confidentiality challenge – we need to mitigate the risk of confidential information ending up on Facebook or the 6 o’clock news. In the session, I showed examples of how stroke and burn data can be transmitted using GD’s e-Bridge and e-Net Messenger systems to address the confidentiality challenge.
We also stressed that EMS telemedicine systems need not focus solely on live video as a knee- **** response; the application need and available bandwidth should drive the technology solution. In the case of a burn or trauma wound, secure pictures or a store-and-forward video clip may be all that is needed.
While other data sources such as vital signs and other medical device information are all valuable, the technology must enhance or improve patient care rather than detract.
Broadband is an enabler of telemedicine technology for EMS – commercial carrier LTE today, FirstNet Public Safety LTE tomorrow. Even though we have successfully demonstrated the capabilities of broadband technology for telemedicine with some of the leading-edge public safety LTE systems, additional awareness is needed about the benefits of leveraging the FirstNet network for Emergency Medical Services.
As a critical member of any emergency response team that includes fire and police, EMS must have a voice in the development of FirstNet nationwide broadband network for public safety. The EMS community needs to organize and reach out to their state governmental agencies to ensure a seat at the table in FirstNet planning to make sure their needs are met.
A recognized leader in public safety communications, Motorola partners with General Devices and provides mission critical EMS solutions for both front of the ambulance/routing and back of the ambulance communications with the incident management teams and hospital.
I invite you to browse the presentation slides and learn more about the next big step in EMS services in Telemedicine Today, as well as understand what’s happening with FirstNet broadband for public safety and Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) grants. Have a voice and share it within the EMS community so that the vision of telemedicine can become reality.
Curt Bashford's experience at General Devices spans over 26 years and includes the design of systems and solutions used by EMS and hospitals.
Undoubtedly, technology plays a large role in policing today. But technology for technology's sake is not the perfect answer. Police departments in the United States vary in size, geography, terrain, policies, and even technological maturity. It is important to deploy technology that makes the most sense for the individual agency and its needs that will have a measurable impact on the success of the department.
“Crooks are using technology,” says Chief Ken Corney of the City of Ventura, California, Police Department. “One of my officers just conducted a traffic stop where the driver had two police radios and a scanner. We need to be ahead of the curve with our technology.”
In Chief Corney’s 26-year police career he has seen a lot of technology come and go, but the department’s priorities remain the same: Crime-fighting, officer safety, transparency and accountability are always at the forefront.
Because the department is open to new ideas and new technologies in order to keep the residents safe, occasionally Ventura PD allows vendors to visit the station and talk to officers and dispatchers in order to learn more about the day-to-day operations. For Motorola, this conversation is crucial to ensure that we are solving our customers’ problems. Recently, a few lucky Motorolans met with Corney and his team, went on ride-alongs and participated in a SWAT exercise to get a closer look at the challenges they face in the field.
The most notable observation from the visit is the importance of technology – but also that medium- sized departments such as Ventura PD do not have ample IT resources. “Our job is crime-fighting, not running an IT shop,” says Corney. Ventura PD looks to companies like Motorola to assist. “We know that technology is the future, and we want Motorola to help us better connect the dots,” says Assistant Chief Dave Wilson.
Additionally, with resources and funding always an issue, the department is looking more and more to the community via social media to help solve crimes. In one case, a crime was caught on camera and the offender’s photo was posted on Facebook to help identify him. Almost immediately the community stepped up with valuable information that helped bring the bad guy to justice. In the past, this process could take several hours, perhaps even days, and several detectives to track the individual down. But a creative technology approach and proactive citizens brought a swift conclusion.
Ventura PD prides itself on being one of the most progressive departments in California utilizing the most advanced equipment available combined with specialized training for its employees. Ventura is located between Malibu and Santa Barbara on the Pacific coast. The mild weather and desirable location make it a hotspot, especially during the warm summer months. The police department has 172 employees, of which 127 are sworn and 42 are civilian. On average the department handles over 88,000 calls for service a year – no small feat for a department of their size.
To learn more about Ventura PD, please watch this video featuring Chief Ken Corney and Assistant Chief Dave Wilson.
Karen Bartuch has been in law enforcement since 2002 and still works part-time for a small county west of Chicago. She is the president and founder of the Women’s Tactical Association, a charity that brings tactical training to female law enforcement. She joined Motorola Solutions in November 2011.
Read additional blogs by Motorola’s Karen Bartuch here; and catch the video with the Ventura Police here.
For the past few months, the terms "cybersecurity" and "advanced persistent threat" have filled headlines around the world. However, as with many media stories, it’s often easy to assume that targeted hacking is something that happens to somebody else. Targeted, hacktivist, and insider compromise can happen to any company or organization, for as many reasons as there are human beings. No organization is too “uninteresting” to be a target.
Unfortunately, organizations who assume they are not targets often aren’t aware of the magnitude of compromise and infection in their networks. McAfee reported a 1.5 million increase in unique samples of malware in one quarter of 2012 alone. We have entered an era where traditional blind reliance on antivirus and firewalls to protect our networks is no longer adequate. Administrators and IT management must be actively aware of what is occurring in their networks in order to defend them.
For the past seven years, the Motorola Security Operations Center has been providing managed network security services for more than 170 customers of all sizes, in a broad variety of industries. One of the most striking things we have seen is a shift in perspective from customers that have previously been performing only limited log monitoring once they see the results of proper, real-time security monitoring on their networks.
This doesn’t hinge on the purchase of new devices. There have been many cases in which customers have had devices generating security logs for years that they simply have never had the manpower or adequate training to configure and utilize. After we properly configure and monitor these log sources, years worth of infections and vulnerabilities can be found. Sometimes, the infections have existed – and have even been transmitting data – for years. In terms of targeted attacks, where antivirus tools may provide little to no detection, undetected data transmission is quite common. An attacker with even minor interest in an organization can gain a foothold in their network, when the intrusion remains undetected for a very long period of time. The recent Mandiant APT1 report provides a great example of this; companies involved were compromised by this actor for “an average of 356 days”, prior to detection. A year may seem extreme, but this is actually a common observation [RSA].
Consider for a moment if your organization is using the following logs to their full capacity:
Organizations need to consider and safeguard all these sources of information to protect themselves from advanced persistent threats. Are you doing all that you can? Learn more in this white paper on Understanding Cybersecurity.
Lesley Carhart is an Incident Responder at the Security Operations Center for Motorola Solutions.
Learn more about managed security services here.
Now that the January 1st FCC narrowband deadline has passed, I am busier than ever answering process-related questions for our customers, sales teams and channel partners. Below are the most pressing questions being asked. I covered some of these in my last “At the Wire!” blog, but they are important to reiterate.
1. What if I am out of compliance and still operating at 25 kHz wideband efficiency on Part 90 150-174 MHz or 421-470 MHz channels mandated to be narrowbanded by now?
Immediately file a waiver request with the FCC to request authorization to operate beyond the deadline. This will at least get you on the record with the Commission that you missed the narrowbanding deadline but are looking to do the right thing in asking its permission to temporarily continue operating for a limited time. And don’t forget to check your current license. If you are still licensed at 25 kHz-only operation, immediately submit a license modification application to include a 12.5 kHz emission designator.
2. What if I need additional 25 kHz radios that operate on these channels?
FCC rules don’t prohibit manufacturers and equipment providers from marketing and selling 25 kHz capable equipment out of remaining inventory after the deadline, as long as that equipment is manufactured or imported prior to Jan. 1, 2013. However, if you need manufacturers to build additional 25 kHz-capable equipment for you this year, the FCC requires you, the licensee, to first file a manufacturing waiver request with the FCC. The FCC will not consider such manufacturing waiver requests unless you have already filed and been granted a waiver to continue operating in 25 kHz beyond the deadline (see above). Once the FCC grants that manufacturing waiver request, Motorola and others can manufacture or import such equipment specifically for you.
3. Can I continue to order 25 kHz radios if I am operating LMR radios on channels other than these?
The following are specifically excluded from the FCC narrowbanding mandate:
Note that radios operating on channels that include both the narrowband-mandated and exception channels must still narrowband on the mandated Part 90 channels. Contact your Motorola account manager or Motorola channel partner who can assist you in properly ordering radio equipment for these and all other frequencies.
4. Can radio service continue to repair my 25 kHz radios?
The FCC has not prohibited service shops from repairing 25 kHz-capable equipment after the deadline. Motorola and independent service shops can continue to repair such equipment and return the repaired radio to the licensee with 25 kHz capability. However, Motorola is advising customers that such equipment may not be operated in 25 kHz mode on Part 90 channels after Jan. 1, 2013 deadline, without an FCC-granted waiver or exception.
5. How will the FCC know whether I am narrowband compliant or not?
The Enforcement Bureau will use a number of means to determine non-compliance, including:
a. The Land Mobile Communications Council (LMCC), which represents all of the authorized frequency coordinators, notified the FCC that as of Feb. 1, 2013 all coordinators will consider any non-compliant 25 kHz systems as if they were operating at 12.5 kHz analog systems for purposes of identifying frequency assignments in the VHF and UHF bands. Coordinators will report such non-compliant 25 kHz systems to the Enforcement Bureau. In addition, these remaining 25 kHz systems will likely interfere with new systems operating on adjacent 12.5 kHz channels, resulting in notifications by the new system licensees to the Enforcement Bureau for resolution.
b. The Enforcement Bureau will conduct an audit of licensee that still report a 25 kHz-only emission designator to verify that you are (a) still in operation, and (b) operating in compliance with narrowbanding rules. Inactive licenses will be terminated and non-compliant licenses will be subject to enforcement actions, which have been detailed in several previous blogs.
c. At this time, the FCC does not require existing licensees to provide a certification to show that they are operating at least 12.5 kHz technology on 12.5 kHz channels, or 12.5 kHz equivalent technology on 25 kHz channels (such as four voice paths in a 25 kHz channel or data radios with minimum data rates of 19.2 kHz on a 25 kHz channel). It may do so in the near future, and at license renewals or modifications.
For more information about Narrowbanding, please visit www.motorolasolutions.com/narrowbanding.
Al Ittner is Senior Manager of Spectrum Strategy at Motorola Solutions, Inc.
Read all of Al Ittner’s blogs on narrowbanding here.
What is one of the greatest challenges in any disaster? Communications – communication between law enforcement agencies, government, affected businesses and citizens.
Many ports have no way for law enforcement, port administration or tenants to communicate in case of a major disaster. From weather-related crises to large-scale events, having an effective communication system implemented can be a lifeline.
When a disaster strikes such as an earthquake, land lines and cell phone networks often fail – and given the vagaries of port topology, the ability to move about the port may be difficult. Port of Long Beach wanted to minimize these challenges by implementing a trunked, encrypted radio network. We chose to work with Motorola Solutions to implement this solution. The encrypted aspect of the network adds the security element required in some emergency instances and gives first responders the confidentiality they may need for effective communications.
The Port of Long Beach’s network is open to tenants on a voluntary basis. It has encrypted general channels and designated private channels connecting each tenant to the Port Security Command and Control Center. Law enforcement and the fire department can access all channels. Tenants, the port and critical agencies can thereby communicate about life-safety and operational issues in private when there are no other means of communications. The handheld radios are easy to use and all vital equipment is based outside of the port.
Disaster communications are essential, and this is the one tool that allows our tenants, emergency responders and port administration to share vital status information after a disaster. It’s important for port tenants to establish radio communications not only for daily operations but also to interoperate with first responders in the event of a disaster. After all, communications between and within agencies as well as agencies and citizens is vital. Hopefully, other ports and similar organizations that are looking for an interoperable communication system will consider adding a trunked, encrypted radio network to their disaster response toolkit.
Edward Green is Manager of Emergency Management, Security Division (retired), Port of Long Beach, Long Beach, California.
Learn more about the Port of Long Beach here, and learn about Motorola’s solutions for Airports and Seaports here.