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      • Architect a Plan for the New Realities of Public Safety Communications Author: Bob Schassler

        Published Dec 09 2016, 8:09 PM by Paul Jeffs

        Over the course of my career, I have had the unique opportunity to meet with public safety customers around the world. What’s interesting is that no matter the size of their organizations or their location, they face the same challenges. And I hear the same question again and again, "How will technology help keep my citizens safer?"

        To answer this question, we need to consider the rapidly changing operational landscape for public safety agencies. Two of the biggest new realities are the ever-increasing volume of data and the growing complexity of devices and networks available.

        Data Requirements
        Big data is changing how government and public safety works. It drives decisions and helps allocate resources. But almost daily, there are new kinds of big data to contend with. Police departments understand that fixed and mobile video are critical to the evidentiary process; however, an agency may have only one analyst watching 1,500 camera feeds and may struggle with effective ways to store and share all of the data. Social media has transformed citizen expectations, but emergency call centers are not prepared to handle the flood of new information, let alone process texts, photos and videos. Data is important – 89 percent of public safety decision makers (1) agree that mission critical data is as important as voice communications – but so is managing it.

        The Need for Mission Critical Networks
        Every agency should have a plan for public and private network communications. The weight given to each network depends on agency requirements. The disasters over the last few years have proven that public carrier networks are not designed to be mission critical. You need to find a balanced approach that will give you the reliable, always-on connectivity required to keep citizens and cities safe. A mission-critical architecture provides that, along with the security to keep networks, devices and data access secure.

        The Right Plan

        Today, you have all this data, volumes and volumes of it, much of it unstructured. You also have a wide range of network issues to deal with as a result. You may be thinking: "I need a plan, what’s my plan? What will my needs be five years from now? How will I connect the dots and get where I need to be?" It’s important to have a plan in place to figure out how to get there. That plan needs to answer a few key questions:

        • How do you get unstructured data into a structured format? How do you turn data into intelligence? What analytics are required?
        • How do you get only the most relevant information to responders so they can make better proactive decisions? How do you integrate applications?
        • How do you ensure the mission critical performance of your networks, applications and devices? What can you live without should a carrier network fail?


        Mission critical technology plays an important role in architecting that plan. It should be tailored to your agency needs, flexible enough to adapt and evolve with you as those needs change, easy and cost-effective to migrate over time, and intuitive to how public safety works – both in the command center and out in the field. At the end of the day, it really comes down to using the data you have to do your job better, be more proactive and work more efficiently.

        My development team at Motorola continues to look for ways to use technology to keep responders and citizens safe. With our VALR™ Mission Critical Architecture, we enable agencies to collect, correlate and share data between existing systems, responders in the field and other agencies – helping to improve response and keep cities safer.


        Bob Schassler is Motorola's senior vice president for Government Solutions


        Join the Motorola Solutions Community EMEA at




        (1) Motorola Public Safety Data Communications Technology Survey, January – February 2012

      • Transforming Information into Intelligence Author: Bob Schassler

        Published Dec 09 2016, 8:09 PM by Paul Jeffs

        Our communities are awash in a rising tide of information generated by the citizens themselves. Globally, 200,000 text messages are being sent this very second.(1) More than 30 million surveillance cameras are capturing video in the U.S alone. Smartphone users – almost half the U.S. and EU population – are uploading videos, photos and social media posts. The challenge for public safety is this: Hidden in this flood of raw data is intelligence that tells you how to deploy your resources… where to predict trouble… and potentially how to save a life.

        This is a rich and unprecedented resource, but most agencies today are barely skimming the surface. It’s not enough to simply monitor information as it flows through the community. The hard part is filtering out the noise and transforming what’s left into actionable intelligence. The meaning of "situational awareness" changes when half your citizens are equipped to share live video as events unfold; but one thing that won’t change is the limited human capacity to process information. This is especially true for first responders under stress on the front lines. They are in no position to go hunting for needles in haystacks.

        Technology – which created this resource – is our best hope for operationalizing it.

        Emerging solutions will enable agencies to catch up with the expectations of their constituents:

        • First responders are armed with relevant information sent to rugged devices on their bodies and in their vehicles, enabling them to proceed with intelligence and be ready for what’s next.
        • Agencies manage the complexity with solutions that consolidate data from multiple sources, then analyze it to recognize patterns, retrieve relevant facts, and make predictions… giving commanders guidance for mounting effective responses and preventing trouble before it starts.
        • The command center connects to the city and its people, collecting information by voice, messaging, photos and video.

        This is a radically new environment for public safety, but Motorola Solutions is working on developing the tools to master it. The opportunity before us is to transform the noise into information, the information into intelligence, and ultimately, the intelligence into a safer city.

        Bob Schassler is Motorola's senior vice president for Radio Solutions.

        Find out more about Transforming Information into Intelligence.

        This article was originally posted in ‘Fresh Ideas for Public Safety’

        Editors’s note – More key facts to help put this in perspective - nearly 50% of the EU population has a smartphone (2); 7.5 trillion text messages were sent globally in 2012 (3) and the UK alone has 1.85 million surveillance cameras(4).

        Join the Motorola Solutions Community EMEA at


        (1) International Telecommunication Union, 2010
        (3) The Mobile Economy 2013