During my days in the U.S. Submarine Force, we had a saying about the need to be flexible whenever things changed with little or no notice -- and that happened frequently. It was a takeoff on the Marines’ motto of Semper Fi, or “Always Faithful.” Our flippant motto was Semper Gumby; in other words, "Always Flexible." As many of you recall, Gumby was flexible in lots of ways, and not only because he was made of clay. He was also flexible in his career, going from "The Howdy Doody" show, to having his own television series, to being portrayed by Eddie Murphy in Saturday Night Live skits, to being spokesperson for the Library of Congress.
While the original use of the Semper Gumby motto was, shall we say, less than motivating, today’s IP-based Project 25 public safety communications environments can actually take a lesson from the Semper Gumby motto, especially in network and lifecycle management planning. The newer Project 25 IP-based networks demand an approach based on hardware and software flexibility, which is extremely important because it…
1. ensures manageable costs while maintaining critical services,
2. allows for innovative new apps and devices that are constantly being developed,
3. keeps everything current for continually changing user needs and preferences as well as criminals adapting their methods based on new technology, and it
4. addresses the ever-escalating safety concerns of the community.
Unlike circuit-based LMR systems of the past, the P25 IP environment is complex and continually evolving. A modern voice and data network consists of hundreds, even thousands of components that must work both independently and together. That means your lifecycle plan must be flexible to not only consider each individual component, but also any relationships and interdependencies.
Because P25 networks never stand still, the management and lifecycle plans you put in place cannot afford to be stagnant either. They need to be dynamic, living documents that can change as demands on public safety operations evolve and expand. Your plan must have the flexibility to adapt to the dynamic operational, regulatory, political and financial realities that influence networks and decision makers. In such a volatile, ever-changing environment, it is impossible to design a plan that will remain unchanged 5, 10 or 15 years down the road. So don’t try; the best P25 system plan is not cast in stone.
On the contrary, the ideal plan is designed to give you the flexibility to make intelligent, well-informed decisions when tough choices have to be made over the network lifecycle. You must ensure that your P25 system plan will help you adapt your network to inevitable change without unnecessary turmoil and unpredictable costs.
Building this kind of flexibility into complex P25 networks can be a challenge. That’s why many agencies are turning to comprehensive lifecycle planning and management programs. These plans cannot only help you create a sustainable and affordable lifecycle program, but can also give you the flexibility to change as the demands on your organization change over time.
Sadly, Gumby is still waiting for his Emmy Award, but you don’t have to wait to have an award-winning Lifecycle Planning and Management program for your communications network. The resources are available today.
Semper Gumby, my friends.
Kirk Miller has been in the communications industry for more than 20 years. With a background in consulting, engineering and account management, he is currently working in the Managed Services arm of Motorola's Global Solution Services. He focuses on strategic network and operational planning for communications networks.
For more information, read about Migration Assurance Planning.
Read more blogs by Kirk Miller here.
A customer recently shared a story with me about two of his new police officers who responded to a disorderly conduct call. When they arrived at the street corner of the incident, a witness told them the name of the person was “Timmy”*. The officers walked over and called the person Timmy, trying to calm him down. The suspect lost control, pulled out a gun, and shot both of the officers and three other witnesses. This devastating incident led to a tragic loss of lives, including the two officers on scene. It turned out the suspect was known to be mentally unstable, and police had repeatedly responded to disruption calls about him on this same street corner. Other police officers who had dealt with him in the past had filed reports indicating that he did not like to be called “Timmy” and should be referred to as “Timothy”. If officers had been alerted to this information while en route to the scene, they would have known not to call him Timmy, which might have prevented his rampage.
What if the right information had been sent to these officers at the right time, so they knew what they were walking into and how to appropriately respond? This is real-time operational intelligence, and it is absolutely vital for keeping law enforcement officers safe. They need this information to be more effective and to be safe, as the tragedy of the customer’s story shows.
The volume of information that our government can access is simply astounding. Public safety agencies have access to hundreds of databases, thousands of video feeds and countless social media sites. But this information is only beneficial if it can be accessed and used at the right time. The key for public safety agencies is to have a solution in place that brings together information from all the different sources: video, sensors, alarms and CAD to process and analyze information, thereby delivering one, real-time operational view. All this data – which resides in separate databases – can be integrated for law enforcement in seconds instead of hours or even days. A Real-Time Crime Center solution is what is needed.
David Thomas is Vice President of Global Solutions and Services at Motorola Solutions.
To experience Motorola’s Real-Time Crime Center Solution, please visit us in booth #120 at the 2013 International Association of Chiefs of Police annual conference, or see photos of the RTCC in action from the show on the Motorola Public Safety page on Facebook.
For more information on Motorola's Real-Time Crime Center solution.
* Names have been changed to protect the identity of the people involved.
For decades, government agencies have been focused on building robust, mission-critical, interoperable Land Mobile Radio (LMR) networks. There are statewide LMR systems in the United States, province-wide systems in Canada and nationwide systems in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Australia. Public safety events, be they planned or unplanned – a major flood, tsunami, sporting event or terrorist attack -- repeatedly demonstrate how important reliable interoperable networks are to public safety. For example, interoperability played a critical role during the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy last year in Monmouth County, NJ.
In addition, there have also been tremendous leaps in the capability and importance of data in the world. Only 15 years ago, email was just starting to be used and the World Wide Web was brand new. Now, we don’t know how to run organizations without these tools, which keep valuable flowing and at our fingertips. Public safety has seen the same phenomenon, where data is increasingly critical to operations, be it computer-aided dispatch, database access, in-field reporting, video surveillance, mapping or building plans. As data has become more critical, wireless data network speeds have increased, with 4G LTE networks being widely deployed today.
Agencies want to be able to leverage the capabilities of LMR and LTE networks together in one system and have them operate as one. For example, a dispatcher could select a single talkgroup on their console GUI, which could include P25 radios, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) public carrier smartphones, or Public Safety LTE devices. They can enable geo-fencing by drawing an area on a map and instantly create a collaborative group within which two-way voice dispatch, messages, or even video could be shared by users carrying a P25 radio, commercial/ BYOD smartphone or a purpose-built public safety LTE device.
Unified Push-to-Talk (PTT) capability can make it easier for a user to connect regardless of the device being used. Unified PTT is a two-way push-to-talk client that can be loaded on an Android BYOD smartphone or purpose-built public safety Android device to enable two-way voice interoperability between that device and the P25 LMR network, unifying those communications.
Now, the police chief, fire chief, or mayor – even though they may not carry a P25 radio – can participate in interoperable Push-To-Talk communications with other P25 LMR users. And having a client that can be easily loaded on a smartphone can prove valuable for P25 users that do not take their radios home, such as off-duty police officers, firefighters and EMS personnel. Volunteer firefighters, who rely on Motorola pagers to alert responders to incidents, can also leverage Unified PTT to communicate with radio users. Equipping users with a PTT client on their smartphone can enable many new users to participate in critical communications over an LMR system.
The convergence of voice and data is upon us and will soon bring extremely powerful capabilities to our first responders. Unified Push-to-Talk enables users to easily connect and bring teams together to solve problems, keeping communities safer.
John Kedzierski is Motorola Solutions Director of Government Product and Solutions Marketing and previously the Motorola Solutions Area Sales Manager for State of Illinois and Indiana.
Learn more about Motorola’s VALR™ Mission Critical Architecture, which allows public safety personnel to securely and seamlessly transition between radio and broadband networks, both private and public. It unifies data sources and services that enable next generation mobile applications, and dynamically prioritizes information to get it to those who need it most, when they need it. And it is built on a flexible, migratable open platform.
Philadelphia to Host the 2013 IACP Conference and Expo for Police and Law Enforcement Executives
Police chiefs from around the world will gather in Philadelphia next week for the 2013 International Association of Chiefs of Police annual conference to experience some of the latest in intelligence-led policing.
Motorola Solutions will demonstrate our latest solution offerings at IACP, and we invite you to stop by and see the newest innovations in law enforcement technology, from a Real-Time Crime Center in action to broadband applications that can gather location-based information from existing databases, organize it, and map it for use by officers in the field, to the latest in video technology including a future-looking Google Glass™ demonstration.
In addition, I’d like to invite you to attend this educational track, where I will be talking about how to take full advantage of your existing data and technology to drive proactive policing and how Real-Time Crime Centers are emerging as the focal point for enabling actionable, real-time intelligence and information sharing.
“The World is Changing – Data is Everywhere: Proactive Policing through the Real-Time Crime Center”
Room 119AB, Pennsylvania Convention Center
Monday, Oct. 21, 8-9:30 a.m. EST
The 2013 IACP Conference and Expo looks will provide police chiefs and law enforcement personnel a look at the latest innovations in policing. If you are attending, I hope that you will take time to stop by the Motorola Solutions booth (Booth 120) and experience some of latest innovations in police communications.
See you in Philadelphia!
Tom Miller is the Director of Government and Public Safety markets for the North America Customer Solutions division of Motorola Solutions.
Read additional blogs by Tom Miller here.
To capture the attention of your audience, get concepts heard and, most importantly, funded, takes creativity. Everyone can benefit by taking the same approaches used by innovation teams.
Innovators, as a rule, possess distinct traits and behaviors that make their individual and team contributions unique. Motorola Solutions does things a bit differently – radically at times. And yet, many of our approaches have influenced the building and marketing of new products, and continue to inspire new ways of thinking.
By leveraging some innovative approaches – strategies we use every day – you can stimulate excitement across your organization, create buzz, engage leaders and get your ideas adopted.
Innovators continually push their own and others’ limits, have open and curious minds, and like to break the rules. They are passionate, driven, and leave their egos at home. We work in an industry defined by increasingly complex and rapidly evolving technologies, systems and customer requirements. It’s our job to simplify the complex, using our design and multi-discipline expertise to look at customer challenges in new ways and create breakthrough ideas. For example, we regularly examine technology metashifts to determine what’s next from an enterprise or public safety standpoint. It challenges us to think differently and by thinking on the edge, we challenge the status quo. You can, too.
Building consensus and gaining buy-in from business leaders is a critical job requirement for any role. Innovation requires the ability to quickly and effectively communicate complex ideas to corporate leaders that could potentially disrupt the business and industry. Competition for their time, attention and budget is at a premium. To be heard, you must captivate them. Grab their attention by first innovating around your own corporate culture. Shift from familiar meeting settings by eliminating slides, going to a coffee shop, or adding a “soundtrack” to your message to set a mood.
To make an idea real, bring it to life in the mind’s eye of your audience. Create a compelling video, 3D diagram or animation and send it via email to key influencers in advance of a business decision or funding cycle. When we first introduced the concept of our connected patrol vehicle within the company, we created a video for key decision makers. This allowed us to share ideas without having to schedule multiple meetings or review long presentations. Before long, the video went viral within the company and we received overwhelming consensus to move forward with the project. Check out the connected patrol vehicle that Motorola Solutions created as a result. Multimedia messaging helps create an emotional connection and generate excitement in a way that slides alone simply can’t match. It will get people talking and put your idea on a fast track, making it more likely to be adopted and funded.
Create events designed to break through decision makers’ daily distractions and encourage their receptiveness to complex concepts. Host these events in unique venues designed to facilitate discussion and provide lasting impressions. For example, when we introduced a new, groundbreaking design to internal decision makers, we left the office and had them join us at a location we rented for the day in New York City. We setup the space to reflect the edginess of the proposed designs. Breaking with routines helps focus the audience on the impact of what is being presented – whether it’s a new product feature or the next multi-million dollar business. Given there is a decision-making cadence in every company, timing these events to strategically happen before major decisions are made will improve your chances of influencing a desired outcome.
When presenting ideas or concepts that fall within a new competitive space or one that runs outside of current business capabilities, there is a high likelihood that critical messaging may get lost. Create a clear, concise, unique message with a lot of wow factor. Use existing internal communication channels to generate buzz or build your own. This is also not the time for the budget “ask.” Let decision makers reflect and absorb the impact of the idea as buzz builds throughout the organization. Then it’s time to schedule targeted meetings with key leadership to go into the actual details -- preferably in advance of key budget, investment planning and annual operations discussions.
To influence and inspire, you need passion – a willingness to take measured risks and do things differently. The ability to quickly and effectively communicate ideas is important in every business and in every role. With technologies, businesses and decisions becoming more complex, spending time innovating around the way ideas are communicated is as important as the ongoing innovation that drives product development. Using these strategies at the start can lead to quicker success in the end.
Please share your stories of innovation with us in the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Curt Croley is Managing Director of Innovation & Design, Motorola Solutions, Inc.
Curt Croley is managing director of Innovation & Design at Motorola Solutions. He oversees a group of global designers, researchers and technologists who are responsible for indentifying future trends and bringing their visions to practice through highly-differentiated product designs for mission-critical communication solutions for enterprise and government customers. In his 15 years at Motorola, he has been issued 47 patents with 12 pending. Throughout his career, Curt has periodically captured his professional experience and leveraged these insights in educating hundreds of design students as an adjunct professor at several universities and design schools. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Design from Kent State University.
Data is streaming into government from virtually unlimited sources. Smartphones, social media, video cameras, sensors and alarms are giving public safety agencies the ability to see, hear and do more with less.
For example, here are just some of the sources an officer may have for information:
Yet this abundance of information comes with an enormous challenge: How do agencies use all the data that surrounds them? Police departments across the country are seeking smarter ways to capture, correlate and share all this information – and turn it into usable and actionable intelligence which provides your officers the right information at the right time and even helps you to proactively get in front of crime.
The future depends on predictive policing. Did you know that:
The key for public safety agencies is to have a solution in place that brings together information from all the different sources: video, sensors, alarms and CAD to process and analyze information, thereby delivering one, real-time operational view. All this data – which resides in separate databases – can be integrated for law enforcement in seconds instead of hours or even days.
The CATA First Responder Vendor Outreach Forum (VOF) will be occurring in Toronto, Ontario, from Oct. 8-9, bringing the top Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies together with Canada's First Responders and Public Safety and Security (PSS) community to help shape the future direction of industry R&D efforts and contribute to the development of a technology roadmap for first responders nationwide.
In my presentation on real-time crime solutions, I will be presenting on all the information sources available to first responders today – and the challenges they face getting the right information at the right time in order to make quick decisions when it counts. Without the right management and analysis of this data, it is very difficult to know who an officer is dealing with in any given situation.
I will also be discussing latest trends in predictive policing in my presentation. So join me in Toronto on October 8th – I'd be interested to hear your feedback on how you are using technology for the future of crime prevention. You can reach me at email@example.com or leave me a comment below.
Tony Sereda has been at Motorola for over 30 years and now focuses on Public Safety for Real-Time Crime Center solutions at Motorola Solutions.
For more information on Motorola's Real-Time Crime Center solution, please visit online at http://www.motorolasolutions.com/promo/publicsafety/real-time-crime-center.html