Precise 9-1-1 caller location from RapidSOS has been integrated with CommandCentral to help find and better respond to those in need.
In April, we announced a partnership with RapidSOS to deliver precise location information for U.S. 9-1-1 calls made from smartphones. The initial integration shared precise location across the emergency call, from citizens in need to call-takers using our CallWorks application. We are now pleased to announce the expansion of this valuable functionality, and more, into our CommandCentral platform, starting with CommandCentral Inform.
CommandCentral Inform, which provides a map-based, common operating picture of events and resource locations, will now include a 9-1-1 call data layer to display caller locations alongside other critical operational information. But even better, is the ability for CommandCentral Inform to also display additional data sent from the smartphone upon a call being made. This could include health information of the caller, demographic information and even telematics from connected cars, wearables and other IoT data sources - all to provide greater context to the call.
By expanding into the CommandCentral platform, this vital information is now not only accessible to Call Takers using CallWorks, but also Supervisors, Analysts, Command Staff and even First Responders who are in need of increased situational awareness for better decision making.
This integration also shows our increased commitment to providing the most seamlessly integrated public safety software suite, from call intake to incident resolution. “We are able to provide an uninterrupted flow of information. This creates more efficient and streamlined workflows” said Andrew Sinclair, the newly appointed head of Motorola Solutions’ Software Enterprise. “Because of integration across the portfolio, first responders are able to act more collaboratively and efficiently and ultimately be that much more successful.”
"The integration of data from the RapidSOS NG9-1-1 Clearinghouse into CommandCentral Inform creates an unprecedented flow of information around an emergency," said Michael Martin, CEO of RapidSOS. "The result is accelerated response, first responders with unparalleled situational awareness, and lives saved."
This new integration will be on display at the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) 2017 Annual Conference & Expo August 13th - 16th in Denver, Colorado at both the Motorola Solutions booth #801 and RapidSOS booth #747.
Bradley Janitz is Global Marketing Manager at Motorola Solutions.
At Prince George’s County Public Safety Communications, we know that trust is the most important factor. Public-safety personnel must trust each other and trust that their communications and information systems are state-of-the-art. Only then will citizens who rely on us be able to trust that we can help keep them safe.
Trust The People
Prince George’s County, VA, stretches from the Potomac River west and south for almost 500 square miles. It comprises 18 municipal jurisdictions and more than 900,000 people.
Keeping the county’s citizenry safe and well-informed is the mission of the Prince George’s County Public Safety Communications office. We handle some 1.8 million calls a year, supporting police, fire, EMS, the Sheriff’s Office and 18 municipal jurisdictions within the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metro area.
Our work must be based on trust. Each of these agencies must be confident that we've provided all the vital information they need to do their jobs when they get on the scene. We know that we must obtain critical information that will guide first responders.
At the same time, as the first point of contact for callers, we realize that callers often need support and comfort as they wait for help to arrive. In fact, sometimes it's our telecommunicators themselves who provide life-saving help, for example, instructing them in first aid techniques or CPR.
Trust The Technology
In order to provide this level of support to so many citizens and public agencies, we have to be sure that we can access accurate information as quickly as possible. In 2011, the county opened a new facility that is state-of-the-art and ready for next-generation 9-1-1. In 2015, we opened the Prince George’s County Emergency Operations Center. This one-of-a-kind facility was designed to provide the highest level of service to all of the public safety and public service agencies in the county. It also serves as Homeland Security headquarters and the 9-1-1 dispatch backup center.
Because we take calls for so many different entities in the county, integration is extremely important. While computer-aided dispatch is the core of all public safety, there are many other areas where our records management system must interoperate with those of other agencies.
We have a valuable technology partner to help ensure that all our communications, dispatch and records management connect seamlessly.
Trust Each Other
Technology is half of the equation. The other half is our staff that includes 34 positions in the primary PSAP. When citizens call the 9-1-1 center, they can be sure that the people they’re talking to have been trained to the highest standards – and, even more important – that they are committed to providing every kind of help they need.
We're proud that our Emergency Operations Center is one of only six in the world that have received a Triple Accredited Center of Excellence (Tri-ACE) rating from the National Academy of Emergency Dispatch. That means that we can be proud that we're providing our agencies and the public with the very highest level of service.
Any time I feel stressed, all I have to do is walk through the 9-1-1 center and the dispatch area, and I remember why we do this: because our community relies on us.
We are much more than just a voice behind the call. Learn more about us and our center.
Charlynn Flaherty is Associate Director of Public Safety Communications.
This blog is the second in the “Walk in Your Shoes” series. lt highlights our commitment to building experience focused software applications to support the important job of protecting citizens of this great nation. Read the first blog Walk in Your Shoes – The Foundation of Customer-Focused Software Applications.
Creating Police Mobility Applications
Getting out of a car and following a police officer through his daily routine. Asking probing questions about what would make their job easier. Spending time with an officer and doing side-by-side comparisons of different products and applications. That’s all part of my research role; requiring me to “Walk in Your Shoes” for an hour, an afternoon or an entire shift. The results of my field interviews are new applications and product enhancements that make an officer’s job easier.
One of the big pain points officers have identified is the desire to have more flexibility in choosing a smartphone device. They want to be able to run law enforcement applications on either an iOS or Android® handheld device. That input has been heard loud and clear by our design teams, so the latest release of the our handheld mobile application can now operate on either iOS or Android devices. This gives agencies, regardless of the device, real-time access to CAD incidents, location of responding officers, vehicle and person queries, unit status, geofence alerts, driving directions and more.
The other big request I hear is: “I want to do everything on my smartphone that I can do on a laptop. I want full mobility away from the vehicle.” In addition to getting information about an incident, or the location of responding officers I talk to want to be able to issue citations and do field reports when on the scene, while away from my vehicle. And they want to seamlessly share the information between smart phones, in-vehicle computers and the command center. To provide them that capability we are now offering Citations and Forms, a highly configurable, complement to the handheld platform. Now, it is easy to issue a ticket, document with photos, close out an incident, complete a field interview form, get signatures, and even print; all from a smartphone or tablet using the iOS or Android platform. And the information gathered on a handheld device, is available on in-vehicle solution as well, allowing reports to be started on the scene and completed in the vehicle where a full keyboard is available for additional annotations and narratives.
It is exciting to convert what I learn from riding and/or walking along side law enforcement into product offerings. Introducing applications and functionality into the marketplace that are the direct result of officer inputs is rewarding both for me and for our customers.
Receiving inputs from first responders never gets old. If you are going to be at APCO 2017, please stop by the Motorola Solutions Booth #801, try out our newest applications and share your thoughts. My colleagues and I would love to hear your opinion about our handheld products so we can continue to offer enhanced customer focused applications.
Julie Folden is Mobility Product Manager at Motorola Solutions. Her job is to understand and document the daily activities of police, fire, and EMS personnel to help design and create the best public safety mobile and handheld applications for both today and tomorrow. She takes her job seriously having completed over 500 public safety experiential visits over the past 15 years.
NG9-1-1 ALLOWS US TO PROVIDE HIGH-PERFORMANCE SERVICE
Gloucester County is big, diverse and thriving. We’re a tight-knit community that’s large enough to leverage national and state resources, and yet small enough so that residents never feel that our services are impersonal. They know they can rely on county personnel to provide individual help whenever they need it.
Emergency services, delivered through the Gloucester County Emergency Response Center, are a perfect example of this. By collaborating with all 24 of our municipalities on 9-1-1 dispatch and emergency management, we can deliver the necessary response quickly and effectively. We’ve reduced the time of response for emergencies and increased the quality of that response. People here feel safe because of that.
WE GAINED BETTER INTEROPERABILITY AND ACCURACY
More than 1,500 police officers and 300 civilians provide a full range of law enforcement services to nearly 900,000 residents and business owners, while our Emergency Response Center dispatches police, fire and emergency medical services for 24 towns in Gloucester County, as well as for five towns in the neighboring Atlantic County. The Gloucester County Fire/EMS Department alone responded to more than 145,000 calls in 2016.
With so many different emergency services, interoperability is crucial, so we had to upgrade to the latest next generation 9-1-1 technology regardless of how complicated we thought it would be. Once we started the process, it went quicker than we realized. We also recently upgraded to a push-to-talk solution that allows all our first responders, as well as supervisors and administrators, to communicate with each other in a device-agnostic manner.
WE ARE NOW ABLE TO RESPOND TO CITIZENS WHO CAN’T CALL 9-1-1, BUT CAN TEXT
As citizens, we use so many more communication channels than we used to. For many of us, texting is our first thought when we need to reach someone. As first responders, we know that we must be responsive to our customers, no matter how they try to reach us.
With a growing population and rapid changes in technology, we knew it was important to bring new capabilities in an effort to help citizens in times of need. That included upgrading our call center technology to one that was ready for text to 9-1-1.
We pride ourselves on being innovative, collaborative and doing things that make a difference for people who live here.
This is a place where people want to stay, where they want to invest in their future. Businesses want to stay here because they know our future is bright. And the same goes for our community’s first responders and emergency telecommunicators. All of us who work in emergency response do it for the reward of helping people with vital information, support or rescue. We’re a central part of the life of Gloucester County, and we love what we do.
Tom Butts is Director of 9-1-1, Gloucester County Emergency Response.
I recently attended IWCE, a conference focused on educating end-users and operators on the trends and evolving technologies taking place with Land Mobile Radio (LMR) systems. My mission at the show was to increase cybersecurity awareness. LMR systems are no longer entirely closed networks or immune from cyber threats. If anything, serving as a mission-critical, communication component for government and public safety agencies, they have a propensity of gaining the attention of hackers. Government entities are being attacked at twice the rate of other industries across the board.
My goal was to raise awareness about the importance of proactive cybersecurity measures for LMR systems with a live hacking demonstration. From my demos, here were the common insights I gleaned from the LMR end-users and system operators I met:
Cybersecurity education is still needed. Only a small subset of those I spoke to had a sound understanding of their LMR system’s level of risk. Others were aware that their systems are now vulnerable to cyber threats. However, they were not knowledgeable of how their system can be compromised; their risk posture; or how to protect their systems from and respond to cyber intrusions.
Hackers aren’t that sophisticated. Most of the individuals I spoke to weren’t aware that you don’t have to be a brilliant hacker to create something that can comprise a system. Without a great deal of knowledge, hackers can create an exploit that can work on a LMR system. Everything needed is available through a few clicks of the button. A conference attendee that person I spoke to said, “I had no idea it was that simple!”
Chaos and disruption is the end goal. During my demo, I reviewed various examples of the actions hackers can take once in their systems. I explained how a hacker can upload code to overwrite operating software files to disrupt the network, launch web browser that redirect system users to a malicious website, and execute commands that can remotely shutdown and reboot a system server. Most system assaults are directed at disrupting communication at some level.
Most successful attacks are based on known vulnerabilities. The “A Ha!!” moment came when I pointed out that most attacks are based on known system vulnerabilities – 75% according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. However, the good news is that these vulnerabilities have patches that can be applied to systems. Security patching is one of the first and important steps anyone can take to mitigate cybersecurity threats.
From my conversations at the show, the LMR end-users and operators I spoke to are more aware that their systems are vulnerable to cyber intrusions. However, it’s important that everyone understands their system’s risk posture and how to proactively address cyber threats. There isn’t room for complacency when safeguarding a mission-critical, LMR system. While there are many strategies and options available, there is one action everyone should take to mitigate cyber threats—regular security patching. For our customers, we offer this service with rigor by pre-testing and validating all required patches to ensure they don’t cause any disruption when installed. If you don’t patch, you’re at greater risk to get hacked. Why let that happen? Learn more at motorolasolutions.com/cybersecurity.
Wendell Robinson is Lead Cybersecurity Services Manager at Motorola Solutions.
April is 9-1-1 Education Month. Throughout the month this blog series will highlight different aspects of the emergency response process, including what happens when you text or call 9-1-1, and will pay tribute to the women and men behind the phones. This April, take some time to learn something new about America’s emergency response system.
In late December 2014, Shannell Anderson was delivering papers in Atlanta around 4 a.m when she accidentally drove into a lake. She did what anyone would do, she took out her cell phone and dialed 9-1-1. Unfortunately, her call was routed to a neighboring county’s 9-1-1 center and her location wasn’t showing up on the dispatcher’s maps. Shannell knew her exact cross streets, but unfortunately the dispatcher wasn’t familiar with the area and didn’t have access to good wireless caller location or map data.
It ultimately took responders over 20 minutes to get to her, and she tragically died a week later in the hospital. Unfortunately, and surprisingly to some, this story isn’t unique to Shannell. This story highlights some important facts to consider when you are calling 9-1-1 from a mobile phone.
RAPIDSOS + MOTOROLA SOLUTIONS: SOLVING THE MOBILE LOCATION CHALLENGE
The first thing dispatchers ask you when you call 9-1-1 is “What’s the location of your emergency?” That is because if you are calling from a mobile phone, the location information that dispatchers initially receive is based on the location of the cell-tower, not the caller, and can be of limited use in pinpointing a caller’s location, especially for calls made from indoor environments. The FCC estimates that over 10,000 lives could be saved annually with better location data. As people ditch landlines and rely solely on their mobile phones, the location technologies used by wireless carriers are just not quick enough to provide timely, accurate caller location.
INTRODUCING AN INTEGRATED SOLUTION FOR FASTER, MORE ACCURATE 9-1-1 LOCATION
Through the RapidSOS integration with Motorola Solutions Emergency CallWorks software, call takers are able to query the RapidSOS NG911 (Next Generation 9-1-1) Clearinghouse to get precise handset location for 9-1-1 calls through technology that is already installed on millions of smartphone devices (no app required!). Rather than relying on imprecise and often delayed Phase 2 location, dispatchers are now able to get more closer and faster location that automatically updates.
Location from RapidSOS does not rely on a singular source like GPS (which only works outdoors) or cell tower triangulation (which works everywhere, but is very imprecise). Instead, RapidSOS leverages all enabled sensors on the device, including WiFi access Points, Bluetooth beacons and more. For the first time in Public Safety, location accuracy will be similar to the capabilities of commercial hybrid location services like Google Maps that citizens are used to.
It doesn’t stop at location for wireless 9-1-1 calls. Motorola Solutions is working to integrate the full capabilities of the RapidSOS NG9-1-1 Clearinghouse into the entire emergency response workflow so first responders have unprecedented situational awareness.
Want to learn more? Attend the upcoming Motorola Solutions Smart Public Safety Webinar about how RapidSOS and Motorola are working together to provide precise location and enhanced data to 9-1-1 call takers, dispatchers and first responders through the newest version of Emergency CallWorks products.
Reinhard Ekl is RapidSOS Director of Product and 9-1-1.