The core is the central intelligence of your ASTRO 25 system which is a unique hybrid of IP networks and RF radio system that requires specialized skills to operate. 93% of organizations indicate an overall skills gap in their IT staff, from lack of training and resources or difficulty in attracting and retaining appropriate talent. When determining the best approach to manage your core, it’s important to consider these 3 questions:
A P25 core includes commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment, such as servers, routers, gateways and switches that require frequent updates to keep the core running efficiently. In mission-critical operations, it’s insufficient to only perform routine maintenance and upgrades. A proactive and predictive approach is needed that applies analytics to learn and track your system’s history and correct potential faults from ever occurring.
So how do you do all this?
First, it’s critical to have people with deep knowledge of both IP and RF technologies, who are expertly trained to understand ever-changing technological advancements. Without the proper training, your staff may not be prepared to handle unexpected network incidents or traffic that could compromise the ability of your end users to communicate. You also need dedicated staffing around the clock to ensure no issue goes undetected and adjustments can be made immediately to optimize core performance and availability.
Next, you need the proper set of tools and processes for network operators to efficiently manage the core. This includes systematically deploying new enhancements, system releases, bug fixes and more.
How does this compare to your plans for managing your ASTRO 25 core to peak performance?
In today’s increasingly challenging environment of growing demands, budget constraints and skill gaps, you have options to offload the management of the core to experts that can guarantee performance backed by Service Level Agreements.
Through managed services, you can leverage the expertise of a provider whose primary business is operating mission-critical networks. You maintain focus on managing RF sites and other network elements, while offloading the operation of the ever-evolving core to dedicated professionals. You also gain financial benefits in eliminating the need to make significant capital investments and predictability in knowing how much you are going to spend for core operations and maintenance every year. With a clear path forward for your network, you can redirect resources to where they are needed most and improve focus on your mission. Getting the most out of your core can be a challenge – it’s not a 9-to-5 job. Rely on experts who are dedicated to serving your mission-critical operations 24x7x365.
Download the Managed Core brochure for more information.
Joe Preissing is Sr. Portfolio Manager for Managed Services at Motorola Solutions.
Bernalillo County Dispatchers are playing a key role in emergency response.
The role of a call taker/dispatcher is unpredictable. Every time a call comes in, the telecommunicator answering the phone needs to be prepared for the unexpected. The next call could be a non-emergency humorous situation or it could be a horrific disaster. We never know. We just have to be ready, because our 9-1-1 call takers are the first voice a citizen hears. We need to be relaxed and prepared. We are the critical key in the emergency response; the first, first responders.
As the Director of Emergency and Information Service, it is my job to make sure the 40 call takers, dispatchers and support personnel are ready 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to get help quickly and calmly to the citizens of Bernalillo County, New Mexico. Every day I need to:
Prepare the Team
Readiness of the 9-1-1 dispatcher/call taker starts with training. We have a pretty extensive training curriculum that starts with basic customer service phone skills, department policies and procedures and technology use. We spend one day every month bringing all the teams together, across the different shifts, to talk about new policies, procedures and changes happening in the county like new laws, medical changes, and agency changes.
Provide Reliable Technology
It is critical our 9-1-1 dispatchers fully comprehend the technology and its capabilities. We have a Motorola PremierOne™ CAD system which we use to communicate with the Sheriff Department, Fire and Emergency Services personnel. This new system has made our job so much easier because the information is reliable. When a call comes in, the system automatically verifies the address. The mapping application allows us to pull up a visual of the location and available resources. As the 9-1-1 operator takes the information from the caller it is automatically entered into the CAD system and the information, including pre-fire plans for commercial businesses, can be streamed to the first responders in the field. Provisioning allows the dispatcher to communicate directly with the first responder on scene. Information can be targeted; there is no need to send all information to everyone, like with our older system. The PremierOne Mobile CAD application in an officer’s vehicle can stream additional information back to the dispatcher. Everyone is more informed and a situation can be addressed quickly.
Create a Positive Work Environment
Giving people the skills they need to do the job right and providing the latest technology such as those delivered by the PremierOne CAD system to get the right information to the right responder goes a long way to improving job satisfaction. In addition, building strong relationship and linkage between our dispatchers and sheriff’s deputies, firefighters, EMS personnel and emergency management teams is important so when a call comes in the various individuals including the dispatchers work like a team. When you have a team approach you can provide a better service for the citizens, improving community safety.
Taking the time to say thanks is important too. The month of April was “9-1-1 Education Month” and during National Telecommunicators Appreciation Week (April 12 – 18) we partnered with Motorola to provide an entire day of celebration for the hard and often difficult role our call takers and dispatchers have in an emergency response. Having industry partnerships with companies like Motorola makes our job a bit easier. They have worked alongside us to get the PremierOne CAD and Mobile system up, running and configured to be the best tool that it can be for our emergency response teams so that we can help the citizens of Bernalillo County.
When asked, ‘what do you want people to understand about your role as a 9-1-1 Communications Director?’ I point them to my team of individuals who look beyond themselves, see the big picture and do what it takes to keep our first responders and community safe.
Tina Tomlin is Director of Emergency and Information Services for Bernalillo County, New Mexico
It seems like there’s a mobile app for everything. Exercise, recipes, photography… the list is endless. But as widespread reports about cell phone hacking continue to grow, it’s clear that it’s no longer a nicety to have secure devices and communications - it’s a necessity. With the proliferation of apps, you’d think that with a quick download of a security app, you're done. You’re safe! However, that certainly isn’t the case for those needing ultra-secure communications, including government officials and business representatives traveling to other countries. The fact of the matter is that there simply isn’t an app that can provide the security they need. Using an app alone is like locking your car door but leaving your windows down, because apps can be bypassed or the phone itself can be hacked and information compromised or destroyed. If you’ve ever lost your phone, you know the sinking feeling of some stranger having access to your information. (If you haven’t had this happen take precautions now, it’s probably only a matter of time). For true phone security, it takes a multi-layered approach where the operating system, apps, hardware, voice and data are specially hardened and working together to achieve a protected, secure and confidential environment. If the phone is lost or falls into the wrong hands, multiple layers of security and encryption ensure your information is protected and just to be sure, you can also remotely erase and kill the phone.
Long before hacked cell phones became front page news, ultra-secure communications have been our specialty. If you’re concerned about eavesdroppers listening in on your conversations, your cell phone being hacked, stolen or lost, check out our assured security for mobile devices. Protect your data with AES256 and Suite B, IPsec VPN, SRTP VoIP and PKCS#11 APIs, for certificate and encryption key management, real-time data applications such as GIS mapping, video, and remote medical monitoring, and a user-friendly interface to keep information readily at your fingertips. You’ll be glad you did.
Brian Mollett is a Global Product Marketing Manager at Motorola Solutions.
On February 22, 2012, President Obama signed into law the Middle Class Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. Among the Act’s provisions was the requirement that radio spectrum freed up by moving to digital television be made available to public safety agencies, rather than auctioned off to the highest bidder. Congress also established the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) to oversee the broadband network’s buildout and use. This accomplishment was made possible with years of unwavering advocacy by public safety organizations and industry representatives, all of them certain that access to dedicated broadband radio spectrum was critical to meeting emerging interoperability and data needs.
I know because I was there. As the Chief Technology Officer for Motorola Solutions, I had the honor of sitting on the Interoperability Board, authorized by the legislation and administered by the FCC. Working with top specialists from public safety, government, and industry, I worked to make sure that the new broadband network is built for the unique needs of public safety. Whether it’s prioritizing data from an officer who hits their emergency button or providing per-incident data management capabilities based on the Incident Command System (ICS), our goal was to make certain that the network always delivers just the right information to those who need it the most.
With over ten million residents, Los Angeles County is the most populous county in the United States. More people live in L.A. County than in 43 of the 50 states. Eighty public safety agencies serve and protect Los Angeles citizens over a vast 4,000 square miles of coastal, inland, desert, and dense urban terrain. For all its uniqueness, Los Angeles shares many of the same challenges that public safety agencies the world over face: the need for more interoperable communications and real-time access to data.
In 2010, the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS) was among the first to take advantage of National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) funding to build out a public safety LTE network for the greater Los Angeles area. NTIA funding requires that the LA-RICS network be completed by September 30, 2015. This date cannot be changed without an act of Congress.
LTE broadband transforms situational awareness and incident response
How will public safety use broadband capabilities? Just as consumers rely heavily on smartphones, social media, and easy access to data and video information, first responders have increasing real-time data requirements. Broadband data makes it more efficient and safer for public safety to cover more ground and maintain full situational awareness.
At the March 24 LA County Board of Supervisors meeting, Fire Chief Darryl Osby described how he plans to leverage the LTE network: “The LTE system will allow us improve our dispatching. Right now, we are developing an emergency system to talk to hospitals for our paramedics and firefighters as it relates to patient care for our paramedic calls. It’s imperative that we have a holistic system that allows us to communicate effectively.”
Data applications also aid in meeting rising expectations of effectiveness and transparency from the public. LA-RICS LTE will serve as the critical backbone for bandwidth-intensive technologies like body worn cameras and video management systems for law enforcement, which can help build greater community trust.
Dedicated broadband data will also drive future applications that will help public safety predict and respond to incidents - and maybe prevent them in the first place. Data from street cameras, personnel location, infrastructure sensor readings and more can be combined into a detailed operational view that will keep personnel safe and effective in the field.
When the moment matters, public safety entities must be able to communicate
LA-RICS’ LTE network will enable broadband speeds, data-intensive public safety applications and devices, but, just as importantly, it is designed to operate when other communication networks are unavailable or unreliable. During large-scale public events, natural disasters, or urban upheaval, consumer broadband networks can quickly become overloaded. Calls may not get through, and emails, texts and videos may not upload or download. Today, first responders use the same consumer network for their data needs, which means their communications are treated the same as consumer traffic and can quickly deteriorate when most needed.
Complementing the Land-Mobile Radio (LMR) networks public safety relies on today, the LA-RICS dedicated Public Safety LTE network is designed to be relied upon for day-to-day operations and in emergencies. It is constructed specifically to improve coverage, provide control and deliver prioritized information access to improve situational awareness, decision making and safety. As LA County Sheriff McDonnell noted in the same March 24th County Board meeting, “LA-RICS will be the model for the entire nation. LA-RICS will allow my department and all first responders in the region to communicate, coordinate and respond during disasters when communication lines are impacted.”
What’s next for LA-RICS?
When completed, Los Angeles’ public safety LTE network will showcase true interoperable communication among its 31 fire departments, 50 law enforcement agencies and numerous government agencies. All participating first responder agencies will not just have interoperable voice communication through an upgraded land-mobile radio network, but will also have dedicated broadband capabilities, as well. The network will dramatically improve the safety of the 34,000 who proudly serve the greater Los Angeles area and will enhance their ability to prevent more crimes, protect more citizens and property, and respond better to natural and man-made emergencies. But the support of all agencies in the Los Angeles area will be needed for the network to deliver these important benefits to public safety and Los Angeles citizens.
Paul Steinberg is Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Motorola Solutions, Inc. Read more blogs from Paul here.
"April showers bring May flowers." But those same showers can turn deadly in a matter of minutes. As our agencies enter the severe weather season, it is critical to be prepared for any response. There was a recent outbreak of tornadoes in my home state of Illinois that allowed advanced technology to provide high resolution radar, live video streaming, hyper local storm reports, and post-event, first-hand, visual assessments. All of these data points were combined into a single view that provided critical real time information to first responders giving them a complete situational picture prior to arriving on the scene. The product that was used to capture all of this information was Motorola Solutions’ Intelligent Data Portal.
Motorola Solutions, along with its ecosystem of partners, is on the forefront of planning, early warning, and situational awareness. These industry leading components provide first and second responders with key information and up-to-the-second updates to plan, respond and react to any weather event. No other offering on the market today has the robustness and depth of information provided within a single solution. Intelligent Data Portal (IDP) is the premier, on-demand mobile application that enables in-field communications and awareness, and brings together multiple data sources onto one pane of glass.
Building on those foundational components, Motorola Solutions Unified Network Services (UNS) and Automated Resource Location (ARL), track your resources and ensure safety with a complete field view. They track mission critical P25 and TETRA radios, vehicles, and smart devices all through one simple interface. IDP makes life saving decisions more impactful by visualizing critical location updates and response support operations within the portal.
Planning and awareness are key to any developing or escalating weather event. Motorola Solutions has partnered with AccuWeather to provide weather data from developing into life threatening situations. AccuWeather’s dedicated meteorologists are constantly monitoring and notifying agencies that are in the direct path of dangerous weather with detailed descriptions of the type of weather they can expect, as well as the direct actions to take. Integrated into IDP, it utilizes High Resolution Radar, Skyguard and Minutecast alerts to arm users with on-demand data.
IDP goes well beyond just the dots on the map application. Motorola Solutions has teamed with Meteorologist and Storm Chaser, Reed Timmer, and his company, TVNWeather.com, to provide the ultimate in severe weather awareness by utilizing live video streams coming from a network of storm chasers. These trained storm chasers get up close and personal with storms, and provide real time information to first responders that will then act on the outcomes of these storms. Sometimes these chasers become the first responders before the Public Safety officials get to the affected areas, as illustrated by the video below captured using IDP.
"Every season while chasing down potentially violent tornadoes, we encounter the dark side they leave behind way too often, which is the loss of life and property. The hundreds if not thousands of storm chasers in the field these days serving as "eyes under the storm" for National Weather Service forecasters and news media, serve a vital role in the severe weather warning process, as well as in disaster response. Many of these storm chasers stream live video and share valuable storm reports on the TVNweather Live Storm Chasing platform. Often the first on the scene, the TVNweather chasers provide valuable ground truth, aiding in the efforts of first responders and emergency coordinators." - Reed Timmer, Meteorologist - TVNWeather.com
Before, during, and after severe weather events are all critical times to be in contact with any team that will be part of the response. Motorola Solutions unified communications application WAVE5000 offers the ability to communicate with multiple response agencies for both first and second responders. Imagine having the ability to communicate and coordinate with mobile and handheld radios combined with the power of communicating to all users with an Android or iOS device as well. Force multiple your mission critical communications package by extending your reach to public works, park districts, CERT teams, Emergency Management volunteers, American Red Cross and other volunteer responders to allow for immediate focused efforts in the areas impacted most.
Motorola Solutions is partnering and acquiring the industry’s best companies to provide our customers with the latest, cutting edge solutions. We are doing all the hard work evaluating, field testing, and benchmarking efficiencies as an industry leader to provide the ultimate awareness and protection solutions to our customers. With our expanded portfolio and partner ecosystem, Motorola Solutions is your umbrella when severe weather strikes. Don’t let your agency be left out in the rain.
Ryan Seick is a 15-year Product Manager and Innovation Champion for Motorola Solutions. His diverse background includes software development for the Advanced Concepts Team on the Telematics Communications Group, product management of the Droid Franchise responsible for the Droid X and Droid RAZR at Motorola Mobility, and he is now responsible for new and innovative applications and solutions for the Intelligence-Led Policing Solution at Motorola Solutions.
Read more blogs by Ryan here.
Millennials are very comfortable using text to communicate and many of them believe Text to 9-1-1 is already available. The hard-of-hearing, speech-impaired and Deaf populations rely on non-voice methods like Text to 9-1-1 to reach out for emergency help, and are anxious to have access to this capability to replace antiquated TTY/TDD devices. Citizens want and expect this capability, but the reality is adoption has been slow. Every day there are new Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) activating Text to 9-1-1. For example in April 2015, twenty PSAPs went live. But, to date only about 300 out of 5,900 PSAPs across the country are able to receive text messages.
Check out the new adoption map with a list of text-activated 9-1-1 call centers on our Next Generation 9-1-1 site. Find out if Text to 9-1-1 is available in your area. Check back for updates as new PSAPs add the capability.
THE CARRIERS ARE READY TO DELIVER TEXT TO 9-1-1
Good progress has been made in the past year from a delivery perspective. The carriers are ready to deliver text messages to local PSAPs once the PSAPs have made a request of the local carriers. At the end of 2012 (December, 2012), the 4 major carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon) agreed to voluntarily deliver text messages to 9-1-1 centers in areas where the local 9-1-1 call center is prepared to receive the texts starting May 15, 2014. As of December 2014, the FCC required all US carriers and text messaging providers to make available text to 9-1-1 messages to requesting local PSAPs within 6 months of the request. In addition to sending text messages to 9-1-1 centers, all carriers must provide a bounce back notification to consumers who text 9-1-1 in areas where the capability does not exist, or when a call does not go through, so they know to call 9-1-1.
MORE PSAPS NEED A PLAN. HOW DO YOU GET STARTED?
Developing an interim Text to 9-1-1 plan is the first step in moving to a NG9-1-1 solution which will provide your first responder community with more information when responding to an emergency and interface with the community regardless of the type of device used. Motorola has been partnering with communities like Kershaw County, South Carolina to develop and implement NG9-1-1 including Text to 9-1-1. We would like to hear about your plans and help you to transition to Text to 9-1-1 and a NG9-1-1 fully integrated solution.
Dan Sawicki is the Director of Product Management, Motorola Solutions Inc., Government Solutions and Service (GSS) business. Dan has more than thirty years of telecommunications experience serving in various roles spanning strategy, product management, front-end requirements definition/planning, advanced manufacturing and quality management. Sawicki also represents Motorola Solutions on the Industry Council for Emergency Response Technologies (iCERT) Board of Directors.
For more information on this topic check out my blog from last year and additional industry resource links:
Check out the other blogs on this topic: