FRESH IDEAS IN PUBLIC SAFETY


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      • The 5th C of Land Mobile Radio: Capabilities

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:23 PM by Motorola Solutions

        Last month I posted a blog about the 4 Cs that drive the use of private land mobile radio systems. For a quick review of the 4 Cs, they are:

        • Coverage - designed to meet specific requirements, whether it is a single-site warehouse or a multi-site manufacturing operation
        • Capacity - engineered to address peak usage, using dedicated licensed spectrum and right-sized to each organization’s specific needs, so calls always get through
        • Cost - predictable costs, with no additional airtime fees like those associated with cell phones
        • Control - high degree of control over system requirements, design, priorities, features, and operation – allowing a system to be configured for a specific use case

        As a follow up to that blog, I wanted to spend some time on the 5th C: Capabilities. The 4 Cs are the basics of what makes Land Mobile Radio such a widely used tool, with more than 40 million analog radios in use globally.

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        Illustration Credit: DMR Association, August 2010

        The 5th C is the game changer. What are some of the capabilities that further drive the usage of Land Mobile Radio in the enterprise?

        • Purpose-built devices and networks
        • Data applications to increase efficiency and productivity
        • Secure communications
        • Safety and reliability features

        Purpose built devices and radio networks

        Organizations have different communications requirements based on the environments they work in. Employees may work in high noise environments, on extended shifts, outdoors in the hot and cold, or in dangerous environments that require intrinsically safe devices. Different use cases may require devices that can be used with gloves, include displays or operate hands free. Supervisors may not carry a radio but need to interoperate with radio users from a smartphone. Purpose- built radios designed for specific use cases can meet all of these needs from extra loud speakers, noise-canceling microphones, glove friendly ergonomics, extreme temperature ratings, purpose built accessories, s intrinsically safe models plus integrated smartphone PTT applications such as MOTOTRBO Anywhere.

        Data applications to drive efficiency and productivity

        Modern, IP-enabled digital radio systems offer data capabilities. Sure radio systems do not offer broadband data speeds, but with the power of the 4 Cs you can deliver your data within your custom designed coverage area, with the capacity you need, without facing additional data airtime cost and exactly the control you need. So with data capabilities, what more can you do?

        • Query databases, identify (price, inventory, licensing), stock codes, (price, inventory, licensing)
        • Monitor biometric data such as the heart rate of a firefighter
        • Send text messages (freeform and one-touch canned messaging)
        • Link to email gateways so you can send an email directly to the radio
        • Coordinate work order tickets for example sending room service or cleaning services in a hotel
        • Locate staff and assets (GPS -outdoor, Bluetooth -indoor)
        • Customize your system to your operation via Application Program Interfaces
        • Set up telemetry to let your machines talk to each other
        • Manage your fleet over-the-air

        Check out a utility company using Bluetooth™ barcode scanners to capture and send a work-order ticket using their MOTOTRBO radios.

        Secure Communications

        Security is a big topic these days, from consumer data breaches to cyberattacks. With Land Mobile Radio you control who can listen to your voice and data traffic. In addition there are many security features to secure your voice and data traffic, from business level secure voice encryption to government certified end-to-end encryption with features such as over-the-air encryption key management in P25 and Tetra systems. From communications on the battlefield to government agencies, land mobile radio secures the most sensitive data.

        Safety and Reliability Features

        In terms of safety, land mobile radio really shines with its heritage in public safety communications and features like: prioritization to clear communications channels during emergencies, dedicated emergency buttons on radios to call for help and man-down and lone-worker features to keep your workforce safe.

        To be safe, your communications must be reliable. Your calls need to always get through so there are features built in to make sure calls are prioritized and radio traffic is load balanced. Systems can be designed to be resilient from redundant backhaul links at remote radio sites to redundant system controllers and back-up power. Plus radio always has the fall-back of direct mode/simplex/talkaround operation so communications can occur directly between radios in a peer to peer fashion without the need for infrastructure.

        Capabilities – the 5th C is the game changer

        So when considering wireless communications remember Capabilities can be the real game changer providing a device that is built to your specific needs, with additional data functionality to augment your voice communications and a reliable system that provides always available communications at the push of a button. So let’s add capability to the other 4 C’s - coverage, capacity, cost, and control -to really differentiates land mobile radios as a one of a kind operational tool to make your enterprise operate as efficiently as possible and keep your employees safe.

        Which “C” do you think is most critical? I would like to hear from you how the 5Cs of radio communications make a difference in your organization – please leave your comments below.

        John Kedzierski is Motorola Solutions Director of Government Product and Solutions Marketing and previously the Motorola Solutions Area Sales Manager for the states of Illinois and Indiana.

        Read additional blogs by John Kedzierski:
        Crime Technology of the Future, Here Today
        The 4 C's and Why Two-way Radios are Everywhere
        How LMR and LTE Work Together for Public Safety
        How to Easily Connect Over LMR, LTE and Smartphones: Interoperability from Radio to Smartphone and Beyond

      • Are Your Communications Headed Toward an Inspector Gadget or a Minority Report Future?

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:23 PM by Motorola Solutions

        By Kirk Miller

        As a kid, I loved the cartoon series Inspector Gadget. It was goofy, and I was just a kid, but the idea of instant access to advanced technology really spoke to me. More recently, the movie Minority Report has been heralded as a harbinger of future technology. While I don’t completely buy into all of the visions of that movie, it has served as an inspiration for a lot of development teams and new products. Both proved visionary in their own ways.

        Despite the generation gap between these two shows, they have one thing in common: technology enabling public safety. Minority Report is a movie about a dystopian future where advanced tech supports the public safety mission. This technology took many forms, discounting the psychics for a moment, from biometric identification to autonomous drones and many other technologies that are still years away.

        This is a far cry from Inspector Gadget which portrays a utopian, though somewhat dysfunctional view, of modern day through the lens of the 1980s. Regardless, it is still about using technology to address public safety issues.

        The primary difference between the technologies shown in these two future views is that the tech in Minority Report is interconnected, and more importantly works seamlessly in the background to support the mission of the public safety responders. This integration of various technologies enables them to perform more efficiently and effectively. Conversely, the technology in Inspector Gadget, which is voice activated by his signature tag line “go-go-gadget”, is laughably disconnected and requires the inspector to fumble through figuring out how to use the multitude of tools at his disposal. More often than not, his attempt to use his wide array of gadgets ends in disaster.

        You can easily draw parallels in each of these shows to the situation public safety communications managers and users find themselves in today. The dramatic technology changes facing public safety these days grow exponentially every year. Many of these changes likely feel more like an episode of Inspector Gadget rather than a scene from Minority Report. Most communications directors find themselves struggling to understand and manage the interfaces required to get all of the current and future technology to work together in a seamless fashion.

        Adding to this multifaceted environment is the fact that users and leaders are frequently calling for the addition of smart devices and other technologies that, while providing needed capabilities, can also add very significant security, privacy, or integration issues. As good managers, you must consider whether the challenges posed by the integration of these advanced technologies are worth the risk. If so, how do you minimize your exposure or possibly eliminate potential risks?

        To address these concerns, systems managers and owners need to take a proactive, strategic approach to planning, managing, and growing the technology with which they are entrusted. The changes required by our constantly evolving world, as well as the need to support and address lifecycle considerations of legacy systems or components, make this a truly complex undertaking. This is especially true considering you are likely required to justify the costs and are further challenged by the on-going training required to stay at the forefront of the technology.

        Given these complexities, many CIOs, CTOs, and system managers are turning to managed service providers to help support their networks in this fast-paced and ever changing environment. When done well, vendors offering managed services are in a unique position to help you maximize the return on investment and save you money. With the right solutions, this type of arrangement can allow you, as the owner or manager of the network, to retain control and optimize performance and tools available on the network. As with any technology offering, mechanisms for accountability need to be built into the arrangements. To address this, many agencies are requiring guaranteed Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to ensure that the mission-critical network is available and operating at peak efficiency at all times.

        These customized solutions can help you get the most out of your technology investment and make you and your users feel like they are part of a sophisticated, integrated, 21st century communication network. This allows you to focus on your primary mission instead of the structure of the technology and make your teams significantly more successful and efficient. Alternatively, failing to create and finance this type of long-term strategic plan, while engaging appropriate supporting resources, can leave your users feeling as if they are yelling “go-go-gadget” at their radios and hoping for the best.

        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.

      • Now Open: The 2014 Public Safety Survey

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:23 PM by Motorola Solutions

        Share Your Predictions for the Public Safety Industry

        By Tom Miller

        I recently drove past a car pulled over along the side of the highway by a state trooper. As I passed them, I thought, “Just a routine traffic stop.” But then I put myself into the shoes of the trooper who had just gotten out of his vehicle. Is there such a thing as a “routine traffic stop”? Does this trooper have access to the right technology to know everything he can about this vehicle, the driver and its passengers? Does he know what dangers he could be facing?

        In the public safety industry, we know that the lives of first responders and those of civilians are on the line each and every day. New technologies are emerging that are enabling the industry to communicate and respond like never before, increasing safety and effectiveness for us all.

        The annual 2014 Public Safety Industry Survey gives you an opportunity to share your opinions on where you stand with current and future voice and data technology for our industry. The survey results, which will be available this spring, will help you benchmark and compare your systems and plans with those of your peers. As a survey participant, you will be among the first recipients of the results, which will be emailed directly to you.

        I urge you to spend a few minutes to take the survey. Your opinion can make a difference.

        Start the 2014 Motorola Public Safety Industry study here.

        Please respond by March 31, 2014. Individual responses are confidential, subject to Motorola Solutions Privacy Policy and will not be shared.

        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.

      • 6 Lessons Learned from the Holiday Data Breaches

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:23 PM by Lesley Carhart

        Have you been watching your credit card statements this month? The high-profile data breaches of several major retailers over the holiday shopping season caused inconvenience, disruptions and concern to millions of consumers in the U.S. and abroad. There will be speculation and debate for months about exactly how Target Corporation and Neiman Marcus’ point of sale systems were compromised, and what could have been done to prevent it. Instead, as we look to the security of our own business systems, there are a few basic lessons we should learn from these incidents:

        1. It can happen to anyone. In Q4 2013, we saw a broad spectrum of very public security incidents, from the massive breach of the retail powerhouse Target, to the successful ransom of many small organizations, including a police department, using the cutthroat Cryptolocker malware to hold their files hostage. The bottom line is that cybercriminals are smart, and they want to make money using the most effective means possible. That may be the meticulously planned breach of a large and well-secured organization, or a few hundred dollars stolen from many thousands of small businesses.
        2. PCI DSS standards should not be followed merely to pass audits. Payment system security should always be taken seriously, without exceptions, and planned thoroughly in advance of system implementation. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard controls constitute a minimum security baseline that exists for a reason, and too many organizations comply only with bare minimum requirements. A recent Fortinet study revealed that one in five small retailers is not even PCI compliant.
        3. Security budgeting and staffing should not be reactive. Hindsight is 20/20. After a security incident, if outside forensics or security consultants must be brought in to assist, it is not unlikely they will find evidence of further compromise or previous breaches. Security monitoring, policy, and auditing should occur routinely, with the support of upper management.
        4. Attackers will find the weakest link. You may have built top-notch security into your stores’ wired networks, but those measures may be irrelevant if you have failed to secure the link from each store to your payment processor, segregate your corporate network, or secure your wireless network. Security must be considered end-to-end. In the case of point-of-sale system breaches, we often see malware installed that can snag credit card numbers while they are briefly unencrypted in the devices’ memory. However, this requires an attacker gain adequate access to the terminals.
        5. Disaster Recovery Plans are critical. In the age of social media, the rumor of a security breach can rapidly spread and cause financial damage. Along with plans for natural disasters, fires, and equipment failures, every organization should be prepared for a major security incident with a data breach recovery plan. How will impacted customers and shareholders be notified in a timely manner? Can you have adequate resources available to deal with customer concerns? Who will perform forensic analysis of compromised systems in a manner which is admissible in court? If your critical business files are tampered with or deleted, do you have backups that can be promptly restored?
        6. Offer Payment Flexibility. This most recent string of data breaches has hurt consumer confidence in traditional credit card transactions. It’s courteous (and even advantageous) for retailers to offer customers the option to use third-party payment services which securely bypass their own payment processor.

        Read more about how Motorola Solutions offers several solutions for securing and monitoring in-store wireless networks.Lesley Carhart is the Incident Response Team Lead for the Motorola Solutions Security Operations Center. She has 13 years of experience in information technology, including computer networking and tactical communications. For the past five years, she has focused on security, specializing in digital forensics.Read past blogs by Lesley Carhart here:

      • Volunteer Firefighters: Ready to Answer the Call

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:23 PM by Motorola Solutions

        Today, nearly 70 percent of firefighters in the United States are volunteers. These men and women make daily sacrifices to protect and serve all of us every day. It takes a special type of person to be a volunteer firefighter. They do the things that most of us won’t. It’s an intentional decision to receive the middle-of the night calls and wake up to give everything they have.

        One of the differences between a volunteer and career firefighter is that volunteers aren’t always in the station when they get their calls. They can be anywhere when called to respond, and know that sometimes calls can come at 3 a.m. Getting those calls to go and help save lives is the first step to responding. As Mark Krizik, one of several Motorola Solutions employees who are volunteer firefighters said, “As soon as you sign up to be a volunteer firefighter, the first thing they do is hand you a pager.”

        This pager is something volunteers have to rely on to work 100 percent of the time. They need a simple, reliable paging device, and communications technology that was created for firefighters with input from firefighters. Motorola’s version of the pager has made quite a transformation since the Minitor I was introduced in 1975…

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        The new Minitor VI pager now offers features like two modes of vibrate to distinguish the type of call, small and light yet rugged enough to withstand the searing heat and smoke of a fireground, customizable voice playback and the ability to retain and play back messages, the Minitor VI will keep volunteer firefighters connected, and its dependable reception makes it ideal for rapid-response situations.

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        Our priorities at Motorola remain the same: to provide the volunteer firefighting community with the equipment they need in order to be their best in the moments that matter. In these moments, they’re protecting us and our loved ones - and we could not be more thankful.

        Dhiren Chauhan is Manager, Fire & EMS, Motorola Solutions

        See the new Minitor VI pager here. For more information on Motorola’s Fire & Emergency Services products and solutions, please visit http://www.motorolasolutions.com/fire.

        Learn more about the Minitor VI pager from the MSI Newsroom.