In my business development role for Motorola, I often meet with customers who are challenged to keep their teams connected as their workers increasingly embrace smartphones and computers in their daily activities. Of particular interest to many Land Mobile Radio (LMR) customers is the option of using broadband push-to-talk (PTT) to drive additional value from their existing LMR networks while providing additional flexibility and mobility to workers. For most customers I know, adding the ability for smartphone and desktop users to communicate with their radio users is a no-brainer.
The ‘What’ is the easy part. ‘How’ is where many customers need guidance.
Which Option Is Right For me?
When it comes to LMR integration with broadband networks there are two key options to choose between: wireline and wireless integration. Choosing the correct radio integration method is important to ensure your communications capabilities align with your organization’s goals and needs. The following five questions will help guide your decision between using wireline or wireless radio integratio
1. Can your LMR network interface via an IP wireline connection?
It’s important to carry out an inventory of your radio systems and what networks you want to interface with. If you have an older radio network, e.g., an analog or conventional system, a wireline solution may not be available. In this instance you can still link your LMR core to broadband PTT networks but this will need to be done using a wireless interface via a donor radio. If you have a newer trunking system, typically released from 2013 onwards, then wirelineIP interfaces are likely to be available that will connect to your LMR network.
2. Do you need richer voice services?
If simple PTT is the main requirement for your users then a donor radio solution is worth considering. But in operational situations, it can be valuable to have richer services available; services offered via a wireline IP connection.
Wireline Solutions Enable: • Unified aliases and naming of users and talkgroups over LMR and broadband PTT networks• Private calls to other broadband or radio users• Call control messaging that communicates directly with the LMR network, receiving grant and deny tones to ensure the LMR network’s resources and sites are ready to take the call
Donor solutions work differently. They provide a “best effort” in sending audio to the LMR network with no feedback (audio or otherwise) to the initiator of the call that their audio was successfully transmitted across the radio network. If there is a lot of system traffic and resources are pushed, calls may be lost or users may experience partial messages.
3. How flexible do you need to be?
This question relates to your operations. Specifically, how many talkgroups do you require? And do you need them to be set up quickly? For instance, if you anticipate a need to respond to dynamic incidents, creating new talkgroups on the fly, wireline integration will better suit your needs. Using a programmable interface on your broadband PTT server, you are able to quickly and easily configure and turn on talkgroups.
With wireless interfaces, the process of setting up donor radios for each talkgroup can be time consuming: you will need to find a new radio, reconfigure it and connect it to the core and radio gateway unit. This said, with smaller networks or networks where talkgroup requirements are predictable and you just need simple PTT services, donor radios remain a strong solution.
4. How scalable do you need to be?
With wireless interfaces via a donor radio each additional talkgroup brings an associated increase in infrastructure. You will need a fixed antenna on the premises and you’ll potentially need a large number of donor radios in racks as well as monitoring and alarm equipment to oversee them. As each radio will also need its own channel you may have to carefully manage RF spectrum. It’s also important to bear in mind that each donor radio will physically need to be close to the LMR users, so you might have donor radios spread around a number of sites.
In smaller scale networks, or networks where users are not dispersed across wide areas, these considerations do not present a challenge to using donor radio integration. Even in larger networks, such challenges can be overcome with an experienced deployment team. However, if your network is more fluid and you need to add more talkgroups or connect people on LMR systems in many different areas with broadband networks then your equipment costs escalate.
With wireline integration the connection to the radio system is already made via the IP network so it’s easy to add new talkgroups between the two systems and is much more cost and time effective. In addition, there are broadband PTT servers available that can scale to support thousands of users.
5. Will Your Requirements Change?
As your organization evolves so will your service requirements. IP-based solutions provide a more versatile platform to support your changing needs. Services that include location and cross-network text messaging and notification are now being offered by some solutions. These capabilities allow you to enhance operational support and safety features while driving more value from your systems. If you have plans to invest in unified messaging or GPS tracking capabilities across LMR and broadband in the future wireline integration is a better fit for you.
Of course these are just a few of the many considerations that go into properly planning and executing a broadband PTT deployment. I’d love to talk with you in more detail about Motorola’s broadband PTT solution, WAVE, and your integration options if you’re interested.
Rob Mitchell, Director, Global WAVE Business Development
No matter what seat you are reading this from, it is an undeniable fact that Detroit has had a lot of bad press in past years. However, the city of Detroit is making a comeback in a strong way. In addition to a developing technology scene and momentous renovations across the city, the proud men and women who serve and protect this city are combating and reducing violent crime in unprecedented ways.
In assessing the state of the city two years ago, we discovered that at least 25% of our violent crime occurred in and around gas stations. That was the driving force for Project Green Light. Piloted in January 2016, this program equips high-crime gas stations around the city with security cameras that stream live video feeds directly to analyst positions equipped with Command Central Aware at our real-time crime center.
The innovative technology that CommandCentral Aware brings to the table, coupled with our real-time crime center has revolutionized how we respond to crime. We now can patrol virtually, viewing activities as they occur and simultaneously communicating with those in the field, enabling a safer, more informed response.
Analysts on “virtual patrol” have the ability to alert officers over the radio about crimes in progress, essentially communicating out specifics about the location and suspects involved and even sending out pictures and videos to help those in the field make better decisions about how to approach each situation.
In the last seven months alone violent crime has dropped 50% at the eight pilot gas station locations as a result of Project Green Light. Our citizens are feeling safer and have even taken refuge at these locations using them as safe havens until help arrives. Project Green Light Detroit is just another example of our commitment to making the city of Detroit among the safest in the country.
See how the future of Detroit is evolving and how Project Green Light is helping Detroit Police Department renew hope through a safer motor city at motorolasolutions.com/detroit.
Chief James Craig, is Chief of Police at Detroit Police Department
How are recent events involving attacks on police officers impacting our customers? While many communities are showing support to their local law enforcement officers, many others are showing mistrust and disappointment. Through immersive research and ride alongs with police agencies across North America, the CTO research team has gained insights into how technology can help our customers through these challenging times.
Increasing threat to officer safety
Uniforms and marked police cars are making officers easy targets. I’ve seen officers using safety tactics like parking in lots that are well-lit so that they can see someone coming from a distance or standing with their backs against a wall in public places, but the growing threat to their safety demands other approaches. This is an area where technology can make a big difference. For example, video analytics can help by alerting officers to approaching threats. Predictive analytics can help steer them away from potentially dangerous areas or direct them to relatively safer parking areas when they need to write reports.
Changing processes and dynamic workflows
Routine processes make it easy for potential attackers to plan attacks based on careful surveillance of officers’ jobs. For example, shift change is one of the most vulnerable times in their day - knowledge of when shift change occurs could be misused. In order to avoid these situations, we may see agencies changing their routines. There is also a growing element of unpredictability in every call they respond to. The nature of their workflows is becoming more and more dynamic and predetermined protocols may not be able to help less experienced officers react appropriately. Context and relevancy engines as well as virtual partners will play an important role going forward in enabling and assisting officers.
Increasing tensions resulting in officers on heightened alert
I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase “hours of boredom punctuated by moments of terror” that is often used to describe the nature of police work. That very nature is changing. These days officers are almost always in the state of heightened alert or heightened awareness which imposes considerable burdens on their cognitive abilities. This state of mind combined with the information overload that they’re already experiencing is going to require that solutions are designed to minimize distractions. Patrol car crashes due to distracted driving are almost always a top-of-mind concern in our conversations with command officers. This is why our purpose-built, interoperable apps ecosystem will play a key role in providing mission critical intelligence and situational awareness on appropriate interaction platforms based on the user’s context and environment. Our deep knowledge of High Velocity Human Factors principles will be key in creating intelligent solutions that are simple and intuitive enough to assist officers in their state of heightened alert.
Reduced proactive policing
All the negative coverage about police in the media has taken a toll on officer morale. It has manifested in officers retreating from fear of being attacked, reprimanded or indicted. In some areas it is causing them to be less proactive. But command officers recognize that they still have a job to do and are finding ways to encourage proactive policing. Through our research we’re learning about new processes and systems that agencies are establishing in order to encourage officers to stay proactive and we’re investigating ways in which technology can play a role.
Demand for accountability; need to rebuild trust and credibility
The recent events in our society, increasing mistrust in police and negative media coverage have eroded the credibility of officers in many areas. There is increasing demand by civilians for transparency and accountability. Technology that can help bridge police-community relations, help maintain accountability and rebuild trust and credibility is going to be valuable to our customers. Solutions like Si500 and CommandCentral Vault are great examples.
A large part of what officers do today is respond to solve crimes that have already occurred. For them to rebuild trust with their communities, they need to be seen in a different light - as community partners. And the more they can do to help their communities “upstream” by collaborating with social services, mental health, education and other entities, the better off they will be in reducing and preventing crime “downstream.” Big data and predictive analytics, combined with interoperable apps will be key in achieving this. In order to solve crimes quickly, collaboration with the community is key. We’re designing our solutions to enable effective communication between law enforcement agencies and their communities.
Changes in police training
On one hand, the growing threat of terrorism and attacks on officers require them to be prepared for the worst. But on the other hand, broken police-community relations in many places require officers to be trained on how to empathize and engage with their communities. We’re starting to see changes in police training, in the way they approach their jobs and in the way they interact with their communities. As they adopt and embrace these new approaches, we’ll be looking at the impact on their workflows and technology needs.
Our users can’t always tell us what they need, but if we watch them closely they’ll show us. Through immersive and observational research with our customers we will continue to uncover unarticulated and unmet needs that will drive future innovation.
For more information on Smart Public Safety Solutions visit www.motorolasolutions.com/spss
Esha Bhargava, MSI, Director, User Experience Research and Human Factors
With 24 fireground deaths last year in the US, fighting fires continues to be a risky undertaking. Incident Commanders charged with the safety of personnel need to be constantly aware of who is on the fireground and their status, which is why personnel accountability is getting more attention.
Now expanded to support ASTRO 25 trunking systems, APX Personnel Accountability automates the accountability process. Using the existing ASTRO 25 two-way radio system, the solution monitors the P25 radio, and by extension the firefighter, to gain an understanding of each firefighter’s status without the need to wear additional equipment or deploy additional systems. Because the solution supports multiple clients, Fire Chiefs and dispatchers can maintain the same situational awareness anywhere with a broadband connection.
Monitoring Radio Traffic to Gain Intelligence
By monitoring the control channel for radio registrations, affiliations and PTT activity, the solution can know who is engaged in an incident, who is talking and who pressed the emergency button. The information is displayed in a single screen view on a laptop or tablet for Incident Commander. And if someone is on the wrong talkgroup, the Incident Commander can see that and has the option to remotely change the radio to the correct talkgroup to ensure they can communicate with the team.
Issuing Tactical Alerts
With APX Personnel Accountability, manual roll-calls can be a thing of the past. The Incident Commander can issue a roll-call alert to verify the status of each firefighter. For reliability, alerts are sent simultaneously over the control, data and voice channels and played at the radio at full volume. Firefighters can acknowledge an alert with a simple hit on their PTT button, which is then updated on the Incident Commander’s screen. The Incident Commander can take action for anyone who has not acknowledged the alert. Up to 16 customizable tactical alerts provide situational updates and evacuation commands in less than one second. The structured acknowledgements prevent RF congestion and ensure acknowledgements get through.
APX Personnel Accountability is supported on ASTRO 25 trunking and conventional configurations. Learn more about ASTRO 25 at www.motorolasolutions.com/ASTRO25.
Watch the video to see APX Personnel Accountability in action.
Mark Krizik, System Architect and Design Engineer at Motorola Solutions and a Lieutenant at Posen Fire Department in Illinois.
A man breaks into his ex-girlfriend’s home. Terrified, she hides in her bedroom closet. She needs help but, as the man rampages through the house, she knows that if she makes a call to 9-1-1, he may hear her and find her. She needs to stay very still and remain silent. Luckily, she recalled seeing local the news that her county is one of the few that now supports receiving texts to 9-1-1. Silently, she texts her call for help. Within minutes, police arrive and the intruder is caught in action.
This is just one of the scenarios in which the ability for citizens to text public-safety personnel could be critical. Others cases include:
· An injured person who cannot speak
· A person who is deaf or hard of hearing, or speech impared
· Someone in a very noisy environment
· Someone in an area with poor cellular reception
· During a disaster when cellular networks are overwhelmed
There’s still another, cultural impetus for the move to text-to-9-1-1: Texting is becoming the communication channel of choice for many, especially young people. Teens and young adults who are used to texting for almost any task assume that they can also text when they need help.
The next generation 9-1-1, or NG9-1-1, is an IP-based system solution that supports the transmission of digital information from public mobile phones and browsers to the 9-1-1 network and on to emergency responders. The capability has been available since 2014; currently, only around 10 percent of county PSAPs (public safety answering points) are able to receive texts. But many more projects are underway.
In working with our customers that are planning or deploying NG9-1-1, we’ve identified some consistent challenges. There are key considerations concerning funding; deployment and operations; and PSAP workflow.
As you plan or prepare for deployment of text-to-9-1-1- solutions, here are some of the things you should consider:
Funding: If necessary, what funding may be required for your choice of text solution and how will you secure funding for the solution that you choose? Are there grants available?
Deployment and operations: What are the short- and long-term needs of your PSAP, and what trade-offs will be made based on the text solution you deploy? How important is a fully standardized solution versus a proprietary vendor solution that includes capabilities that were not addressed as part of the SMS standard? What will you to do train users and bring awareness of the capability to your constituents.
Workflow: How does the solution fit within your end-to-end vision and plan for your incident management workflow? Does it provide a complete solution from initiation of the request for assistance through delivery of the necessary incident information to those providing the required response?
Taking the first steps
We recently worked with Waukesha County, Wisconsin, to implement an NG9-1-1 system. The keys to success for this project were:
· Determining a champion for the project
· Identifying the stakeholders
· Defining the overall business process
· Defining and planning operational goals
· Training agents
· Obtaining feedback
· Understanding the data
· Modifying processes as required
The first step in implementing NG9-1-1 and text to 9-1-1 is gathering information. Learn more at 2016 APCO session:
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO IMPLEMENT TEXT-TO-9-1-1
August 16 | 2:40 PM | Room W202BC
Not attending APCO?
Visit our one stop resource site on on how to prepare for Next Generation at motorolasolutions.com/ng911
Dan Sawicki, MSI,Director of Product Manageme
Technology for 9-1-1 is advancing at lightning speed. IP-based systems that support texting and multimedia, as well as converged communications are closer than you think. As public-safety agencies respond to this evolution, they are taking the opportunity to streamline operations by consolidating Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) at the county, regional or state level.
Associations find the shift to Next-Generation 9-1-1 is a paradigm shift, requiring a vision of collaboration as they develop new models of 9-1-1 service delivery.
Consolidation has many advantages. Agencies can share facilities, networks and applications, staff and equipment. What is even more important, consolidation supports coordinated responses and greater interoperability among agencies and systems, ultimately leading to more effective and efficient service.
Internally, consolidation can lead to substantial improvements in responder safety and performance. Benefits that may be realized when consolidating or regionalizing PSAPs include service level improvements, reduction of 9-1-1 transfers, improved communication, more effective resource management during large-scale incidents, natural disasters, and multi-agency incidents, potential capital and long term cost savings, operational process improvements and standardization of training.
That is not to say that consolidation is simple. The consolidation process is often complex and difficult. Technology is one part of the consolidation process. Migration to the next generation calls for technology changes in the Emergency Services IP transport network, NG9-1-1 core services, PSAP terminating equipment/call-taking support subsystems, GeoDatabase and Management Information Systems, voice and data dispatching equipment and system staffing.
There are four models to approach PSAP consolidation. These four are Full, Partial, Co-Location and a Hybrid between Full and Co-Location. When evaluating these models, agencies must weigh operational advantages with short-terms costs and the opportunities for improving efficiency and reducing expenses over time. The two models that achieve the highest benefit for public safety are Full and Hybrid.
Meeting the challenges of PSAP consolidation
In our work with public-service agencies across the United States, Motorola Solutions has identified the challenges, best practices and keys to success. Making public-safety communications systems that aid in consolidating operations place the lives of first responders and the citizens they protect in the top spot.
Our focus is helping our customers in developing one operational vision across personnel, agencies and technology.
To see our applications at work, visit our private demo room at APCO, August 14-17, in Orlando FL.
Karen Carlson, MSI, Manager, Product Management, Motorola Solutions
Former FoxComm Operations Manager
Brown County Public Safety Communications/9-1-1
Telecommunications Supervisor – Ashwaubenon Public Safety